Caffe’ Ahh…Roma

Ciao!  I’m glad you’ve stopped by the Cafe’ today.  We’re discussing Italy.  Have you been?  Hmm…how about a quick culture lesson?

A very nice man, Bruno Bozzetto,  produced a video on Italian culture.  It won’t take too much of your time to view…just a few minutes…let’s watch the video together, shall we?

Oh, by the way, be sure to take notes when you see the “Coffee” section of the movie.  It’s really important.

So, what do you think?  Isn’t it just the berries that you can have sooo many coffee choices?  That’s why I like Italy, and Rome in particular.  In fact, my name is “happy-happy” when I’m around the ahh…Roma of coffee.

My view of Italy, and particularly Rome is probably different than most.  I think it has something to do with the caffe’ (pron. kahf-Feh with an accent at the end:o).

Oh don’t get me wrong.  I love Italy.  I love Rome.  I truly do.  It’s just that once you’ve tried the caffe’ in Rome, something happens to you.

It certainly happened to me.  When “R” and I were in Italy last year, we walked and wandered the streets of Rome.

It was our second trip.  We had seen many of the sights before, and it was oh so nice to see them again…

Somehow though, Rome was different on that trip.  In fact, “R” agrees too.  Rome had taken on an ahh…Roma-like personality.  You know, sort of intense and aromatic.

Ahh…Roma is everywhere in Rome.  Doesn’t seem to matter where you are…it’s just there.  After all, there is a caffe’ bar on every street and street corner.

You can just walk-in (the doors are always wide open), order your caffe’ from the barista, and sip away while standing.  It’s like a quick “happy-happy“, and then you’re off to see more of ahh-Roma!

Oh wait.  Here are some more pictures.  You’ll see what I mean about the ahh…Roma-like personality.

Oh look, there’s a Latte Macchiato.  Isn’t it lovely? sigh

Oh yes, I remember this sight.  This is Caffe’ Ristretto.

Oh Joy!  Aren’t Italian baristas just the best!  Look at the perfect swirls of milk foam on the Cappuccino!

I think there’s just one more photo…yes, here it is…a favorite of mine, the Mocacchino.  You know, the one with chocolate!

Oh my, you’re right.  There is something  missing in all these photos….Hmm…what do you think it is?

Oh, I know!  It’s that wonderful little cookie that is served with the caffe’.

No problem!  We’ll just make some.  Let’s see…let’s celebrate “happy-happy .  So, how about baking some Chocolate Caffe’ Ahh…Roma Biscotti?

To start, let’s assemble the ingredients.


1 3/4 cups unbleached flour (will need some extra to dust your pastry board or work surface)

1 cup natural cane sugar

1/2 cup cacao powder (Valrhona is best for this recipe)

1 1/2 Tablespoons allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 Tablespoons fresh brewed espresso

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Gourmet 72% Cacao chips are wonderful in this recipe)

8 ounces pistachios

parchment paper, wax paper or silpat liners (enough for 2 large baking sheets)

*organic ingredients are preferred

Now that the ingredients are assembled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Begin by adding all of your dry ingredients (flour, cane sugar, cacao powder, allspice, baking soda, and salt) into a large mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.

Next, add your liquid ingredients (eggs, vanilla, and espresso) into a small bowl and lightly beat together to combine.

Let’s now pour the combined liquid ingredients into your large mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Next, fold in the pistachios.

Transfer your dough onto your floured work surface and begin to knead.  Note that the dough will be sticky and stiff.  Add additional flour to your work surface, as necessary while kneading, to prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface.

Divide the dough into 2 balls.  Shape each ball into 2 loaves approximately 12-inches long.  Place 1 loaf onto your prepared baking sheet.

Bake the loaf until it appears cracked (about 35 minutes).  Set the loaf aside to cool.  Meanwhile, bake your 2nd loaf until it appears cracked.

After you remove your 2nd loaf from the oven, reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees.

While you’re waiting for the 2nd loaf to cool, place your 1st loaf on a cutting board.  Using a sharp serrated bread knife, cut your loaf into 1/2 inch diagonal slices.  You will have approximately 25 biscotti slices.

Place your biscotti slices onto your baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Once toasted, turn over the slices and bake again for 7 minutes or until toasted.

It is important at this stage, to do the following:  walk out of your kitchen for approximately 1 minute;  breathe in some fresh air; next, walk back into your kitchen; and, breathe in a Big breath of Chocolate Caffe’ Ahh…Roma Biscotti air.  Isn’t it wonderful?  Aren’t you “happy-happy“?

Now repeat the twice-baked procedure with your 2nd loaf.  You may, at this point, repeat the Big breathe-in procedure too.

Allow your biscotti to cool thoroughly so that the chocolate chunks harden.  Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Or, freeze the extra (if there are any).

Oh…think of the possibilities…perhaps if we crushed the biscotti, we could use biscotti crumbles for a cheesecake crust…yum…

There now.  What a relief…  The photos are complete.  There is “happy-happy” biscotti with the caffe’.  Sigh

Cooks Note:  This recipe was developed after testing (and tasting) many, many chocolate biscotti recipes.  Thanks to Martha Stewart for her “Martha Stewart Living Cookbook” Double-Chocolate Biscotti recipe and to Todd English and Sally Sampson for their “Figs Table” Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti recipe.  Their brilliance led me to adapt those recipes and ultimately develop the  “happy-happy” Chocolate Caffe’ Ahh…Roma Biscotti.

Traveler’s Notes:  Don’t miss the beautiful sites in ahh-Roma:  the Coliseum; Campo di Fiori; the Trevi Fountain; the Arch of Constantine; the Vatican Museums (and the spiraling staircase); the Pantheon; and, of course, the Spanish Steps.




Filed under February 2010

13 responses to “Caffe’ Ahh…Roma

  1. Antje Goldflam

    These biscotti make my mouth water (says Antje who just came back from the best Thai food she had in years outside Thailand).
    I will definitely try them.

    • Hello Aloha, Oh, I just love Thai food! So glad you had a yummy meal. As for the Chocolate Caffe’ Ahh…Roma biscotti, this one is guaranteed to satisfy a chocolate fix. Stay tuned for some Thai food travel and cooking sometime soon. Ciao!

  2. Rome was one of our favorite stops during our long visit to Italy. And the food–can we say–delicious, delicious, delicious!!

    • Ewe!!! Sounds like you had a nice trip. Would love to hear more details sometime soon. Yes, Italian food is sooo delicious. Will be sure to do more Italian-influenced cooking in the future. Thanks for stopping by the Cafe’! Ciao!

  3. inky'smommy

    i think this one is for me!!! you know me tooo welll!!! i love being a taste tester and there is nothing better than chocolate! as soon as i get the time i will try this for my friends!!! 🙂 thank you!!

    p.s i hope i get to see you in a couple weeks when i come home for spring break!


  4. Hello Inky’s “Mum”, So glad you stopped by the Cafe’! Yes, this one is, indeed, for you my sweet chocolate friend. Just in time for Spring too! I plan for more chocolate bits in the future, so stay tuned. Please say hello to Inky for me :o) Cheers, Susitna Cafe’

  5. grace

    i am going to love making the Chocolate Caffe’ Ahh…Roma Biscotti! Just one question, i don’t drink coffee . . . and have never made espresso . . . what do i do? Can i get by without including it? Will that change the ahh…Roma taste?
    i love these pictures – not only are you a chef, and a writer of great adventures, but a photographer too! The flowers especially are sooo beautiful.
    i love visiting the Susitna Cafe!

    • Well, the espresso is a key ingredient in this recipe. Why? Espresso intensifies the chocolate flavor in the biscotti. So, if we were to omit the espresso, we would diminish the chocolate flavor. NOW WE DON’T WANT THAT, DO WE ? So, there are some good substitutes. You may use instant espresso such as Medaglia D’Oro. Just follow the directions on the jar to make enough espresso for the recipe (you’ll need 5 tablespoons plus some extra just in case you need more liquid). Or, another substitute is Starbucks Italian Roast instant coffee. One packet makes about 1 cup of very strong coffee. You’ll have enough for your biscotti, and some extra for sipping (just in case I’m visiting…ha!ha!). Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your encouragement. Enjoy!

  6. grace

    where does the Susitna Cafe recommend buying Valrhona cocoa powder here in Houston? i want my Biscotti to be PERFECT!

  7. grace

    i made the Biscotti and it is ahh-mazing! Sooo good – and the ahh-Roma of baking Biscotti is WOW!
    i did not have any allspice so i just used cinnamon. And, i left out the pistachios (i’m serving it to my friends who are nutty enough). i love the taste – veeerrry chocolatey. One friend said it tasted like a Biscotti Brownie.
    Who knew that a novice cook could make Biscotti so easily? Susitna Cafe’ knew, that’s who!
    Making and eating biscotti makes me happy-happy!

  8. grace

    i gave this ahh-mazing, Ahh…Roma Biscotti to my favorite chocoholic friend and the response was, “Best Biscotti Ever.” i feel sooo happy – happy! Thank you Susitna Cafe!

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