Biscotti

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Viji

Brown paper packages tied up with strings…have always been one of my favorite things, and a few warm, crisp biscotti make such a package even sweeter! Who can resist a crunchy biscotto dipped in a hot cup of coffee in the morning?

Originating in Italy, biscotti, (biscotto-singular; biscotti – plural) also known as cantuccini, are nothing but twice baked cookies or biscuits. The traditional recipe uses no form of yeast or fat (butter, oil, or milk). The mixture is composed exclusively of  flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts, and almonds that are not roasted or skinned. The barely wet dough is then baked twice – once in slab form and then in the sliced form, with the second baking defining how dry the biscotti are. Modern recipes though uses baking powder, spices and sometimes butter too. 

We have been experimenting with various ingredients; though a bit different from the traditional recipe, we love the way these biscotti taste. We use chia seeds or flax seeds in place of eggs.

Flax seed gel

(thanks to chickpea magazine – spring 2014):

(makes 1/2 cup – equivalent of about 4 egg whites)

Add 1/3 cup flax seeds and 3 cups water to a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Once the water has started to boil cook the mixture for 20-30 minutes or until the water has turned into a liquid gel and the liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup. Strain and discard the seeds. Cool the gel before using. The gel whips best when fridge cold.  The gel can be stored in the fridge in a closed container for about 1 week.

To test whether the liquid had reduced sufficiently, pass the contents of the saucepan through a sieve and measure the liquid – if this measures more than 1/2 cup return both the liquid and the seeds to the saucepan and continue simmering, testing every 2-3 minutes until left with 1/2 cup of gel after straining out the seeds.

If using Chia seeds, simply soak 1 Tbsp chia seeds in 3 Tbsp water for about 20 minutes.

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Biscotti

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 10 raw almonds sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 3 Tbsp flax seed gel prepared as above (or 1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp water for 20 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 300F. Butter a baking tray.

In a bowl, mix wholewheat flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder, and anise seeds.

In a big bowl, beat the flax seed gel, butter, and sugar until fluffy. Split and scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the mixture. Add the flour mix and the almond milk and mix well.

Transfer this thick dough to the baking tray and shape it to a rectangle of size about 7 inches by 4 inches. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 20-30 minutes.  Sprinkling with brown sugar on the dough before baking was kids’ idea. It’s completely optional.

Cut it diagonally into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Bake about 15 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 15 minutes. The longer you bake the biscotti the more crisp and crunchy they will be. Remove from oven and let cool. 

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