Preparation / Directions:
Toast the almonds in a shallow pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly colored, shaking the pan once or twice. You can tell they are done by the strong smell of toasted almonds when you open the oven door. Set aside and cool.
Cut or break the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Let stand.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and sugar. Add one cup of the flour mixture to the chocolate. Process for about 30 seconds or until the chocolate is fine and powdery.
In a large bow, mix together the processed ingredients with the remaining sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the almonds.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla just to mix. With a large rubber or wooden spatula stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Place two 20 inch lengths of plastic wrap on the work surface.
To shape two loaves, spoon a strip of the dough down the middle of each piece of plastic wrap. Each strip whould be 13 to 14 inches long. Flatten the tops. Lift the two long sides of the plastic wrap. Press on the plastic wrap to smooth the dough and shape it into an even strip 14 to 15 inches long, 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick, with squared ends. If the strips of dough are thicker than they should be, the baked strips will not slice neatly.
Transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about two hours (or longer if you wish) until firm enough to retain the log shape when the plastic is removed.
To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil, shiny side up. To transfer the frozen dough to the sheets (the dough may still be a bit sticky. If so, it is okay), open the two long sided of plastic wrap on top of one strip of dough and turn the dough upside down on the lined sheet, placing it diagonally on the sheet. Slowly peel off the plastic wrap. Repeat with the second strip and the second sheet. Bake the strips in the oven for one hour, reversing the shet stop to bottom and front to back once during baking to ensure even baking. During the baking, the strips will spread out to about 7 or 8 inches wide.
After one hour of baking, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the sheets from the oven. With a wide metal spatula, release a strip from the parchment immediately and place it on a board. Repeat with the second strip. Use a pot holder or a folded towel to hold one of the host strips in place. Use a serrated French bread knife to cut the strip crosswise into slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. Repeat with second strip. Place the srtips, standing upright, on unlined cookie sheet with a little space between them. Return to oven to bake at 275 degrees for 40 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking.
Let cool and store in an airtight container.