When my husband was in high school, his father owned a grocery store with a bakery that made many traditional Cuban desserts. Among those was bizcocho, a cookie very similar to Italian biscotti, but lighter in texture. Cuban bizcocho is essentially a sponge cake baked twice until it dries out and becomes crunchy. Typically, a sponge cake doesn't use any leavening, but in this recipe I added baking powder to give some lift without the trouble of whipping the eggs or egg whites for volume.
For my own version of bizcocho, I incorporated layers of chocolate flavor with a smoked alderwood sea salt. One of our favorite ways to eat dark chocolate is to take a small square of a chocolate candy bar and sprinkle it with a little smoked alderwood sea salt, and so I topped the bizcocho with a chocolate ganache and a generous sprinkle of the smoked sea salt. For this recipe's inspiration I consulted The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and used the "Anise Biscotti" recipe by fellow Food52 cook Bread and Betta as a template. I also liked the shape and height I got with the bizcocho using smaller 8-1/2" X 4-1/2" bread loaf pans instead of one larger 9" X 13" sheet pan. Taking a cue from the anise biscotti recipe, I made the batter with a thinner consistency than is typical for biscotti in order to give the final bizcocho a lighter texture. This also requires a longer baking time the second time around to dry the bizcocho out appropriately. The final bizcocho is as chocolate as I could make it while still keeping it light and also maintaining a comfortable crunch. As a result, the bizcocho is great on its own or dipped in coffee. —the musician who cooks