A few days ago I had a soy milk cappuccino at ITIT cafe in Florence. This excellent nondairy cappuccino was begging for my Chocolate Chip Almond Biscotti, although here they are also called cantucci. I have found this cookie in every shop during my Vegano Italiano trip but all of them have been made with eggs. My recipe is vegan. Enjoy!
Bravissimo for better biscotti made with all whole wheat pastry flour and no oil at all! Alessandra, my Italian-born culinary school intern, insists that any biscotti fan will enjoy eating these crunchy, lightly anise-scented biscotti. Twice baked like all biscotti, the chocolate-chip-studded slices beg to be dipped in a caffè latte. So steam up your favorite nondairy milk and dunk away anytime of the day, even at breakfast. But you will need to plan ahead to have the biscotti ready for that latte: The dough is refrigerated for an hour before the logs are shaped, and the logs are refrigerated for an hour before they are baked. After baking, the logs are sliced while warm and baked a second time. Since the logs can be frozen unbaked or baked, I almost always make a double recipe and divide the dough into four portions, guaranteeing future biscotti without fuss!
Chocolate Chip Almond Biscotti
Makes About 28 Biscotti
- 2 tablespoons / 12 grams anise seeds
- 1/2 cup / 59 grams ground roasted unpeeled almonds
- 1 cup / 128 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 57 grams organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
- 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
- 3 tablespoons / 45 ml water, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons / 10 ml pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml almond extract
- Scant 1 ⁄2 cup / 85 grams vegan chocolate chips
- Toast the anise seeds over low heat in a small dry skillet, stirring con- stantly until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let the seeds cool and then finely grind them in a coffee or spice grinder.
- Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture.) Stir in the almonds and anise seed with a whisk to combine and aerate the mixture.
- In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, water, and vanilla and almond extracts until well blended. Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a silicone spatula until the dough holds together. The dough will be firm and a little sticky, but not wet. Stir the chocolate chips into the dough with a large silicone spatula. Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Shape each into a short, fat log. Wrap each separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours, before shaping into thinner logs to bake: the dough needs time to absorb the liquid.
- Shape the logs: Unwrap one piece of dough and place it on a piece of parchment paper or onto a silicone baking mat. (The dough rolls more easily on a baking mat.) Roll the dough into a skinny log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide / 30.5 cm long x 4 cm wide. You may have to push and roll at the same time. Clean your hands if they get too sticky. Smooth any tears or gaps in the log and push in any wayward chocolate chips if necessary. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
- Rewrap the logs in plastic or roll them up in parchment paper and place them on a cookie sheet, taking care not to distort the shape. Refrigerate again for an hour, or up to 24 hours, before baking. (This allows for the dough to firm up.)
- When you are ready to bake the biscotti, position one oven rack in the middle of the oven, and the other just below it. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Do not use silicone mats. The mats can get hotter in the oven than parchment, and the bottoms of the logs will be in danger of burning.)
- Remove the logs from the refrigerator and unwrap. Place them on the lined baking sheet, spacing them 4 inches / 10 cm apart. Set the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35 to 38 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden-brown and feel firm when lightly tapped with your fingertip.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes, and then carefully slide the logs off the baking sheet and directly onto the rack. Cool for 5 minutes longer before slicing. Leave the parchment paper on the baking sheet for the second baking.
- Place a warm log on a cutting board. Cut 1/2-inch / 12-mm slices, using a long serrated knife to saw diagonally through the log, almost to the bottom, then pressing the knife straight down to make the cut. You may have to experiment to see what creates the neatest slices. Place the slices cut-side down, 1/4 inch / 6 mm apart, on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the crumbs off the cutting board and repeat with the second log.
- Bake the slices on the lower oven rack for 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Carefully turn 1 or 2 slices over to check the color. They should be very lightly browned. If they are not, bake for another 2 to 3 minutes. When finished, remove from the oven and turn each slice over using tongs. Let cool on the sheet for 10 minutes. Move the slices to the wire rack and cool completely.
The biscotti will stay fresh for up to one week in an airtight tin and can be frozen in an airtight container for up to two months. Unbaked logs can be frozen and baked at another time. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. The foil will protect the shape of the logs, which are rather soft at this point. Defrost the logs unwrapped at room temperature. Bake them while they are still chilled starting from step 7.
Chocolate-Dipped Biscotti: Melt 3 to 4 ounces / 85 to 113 grams of dark chocolate (66 to 70%). Use an offset spatula to spread some of the melted chocolate over one side of each slice. Alternatively, dip the biscotti halfway into the melted chocolate. Put the biscotti on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, by Fran Costigan, (Running Press 2013). Photo credit: © Kate Lewis