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 when they are done by the strong smell of toasted almonds when you open the oven door. Set asid e to 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 about 1 cup of the flour mixture to the chocolate. Process for about 30 seconds, or until the chocolate is fine and powdery.
In a large bowl, 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. You may think there is
Now 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 should be 13 to 14 inches long. Flatten the tops. Lift the two long sides of the plastic wrap (hold them together as close as hands, 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 (no thicker), with squared ends. If the strips of dough are t hicker than they should be, the baked strips will not slice neatly.
Transfer to a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 2 hours (or as much longer as you wish), until firm enough to retain the log shape when the plastic wrap is removed.
To bake, adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 300F. 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 sides 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 preheated oven for 1 hour, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking to ensure even baking. During baking the strips will spread out (7 to 8 inches wide).
After 1 hour of baking, reduce the oven temperature to 275F and remove the sheets from the oven. Immediately, with a wide metal spatula, release a strip from the parchment or foil and place it on a board. Repeat with the second strip.
Use a pot holder or a folded towel to hold one of the hot strips in place, and use a serrated French bread knife to cut the strip crosswise into slices 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide.
Repeat with the second strip. Place the slices, standing upright, on unlined cookie sheets with a little space between them.
Return to oven to bake at 275F for 40 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking.
Let cool and store in an airtight container.
After mixing and being shaped, the dough has to spend about 2 hours in the freezer before it is baked (it can stay longer). There are two bakings, which will total about 1 hour and 40 minutes.