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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscotti

IMG_0677Spring and Summer for me and my family means getting back to eating healthy, exercising, and getting outside, especially here in Seattle.  The eating healthy part is easy with natural produce from local farm stands and amazing fresh seafood and meats, but cutting back on sweet treats can seem like torture! For someone who is a baking fiend, getting rid of sugar and gluten in my diet was a tough one, but it forced me to come up with some inventive alternatives.  Once I got serious and started testing out recipes, I realized how easy it was to make some delicious baked good without too much guilt attached to eating them.  This biscotti recipe has saved me many a time when I had that late night sweet tooth.  This version was born out of and inspired by Carolyn’s “Cinnamon Roll Biscotti” recipe on her blog All Day I Dream About Food, one of my favorite recipe sources at the moment. Once I tried it out, I knew I wanted to make a delicious chocolate version that would go especially well with my morning coffee.

IMG_0680l Ingredients:

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Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Melt down your butter and stir it into the flour mixture with the egg and vanilla until the dough comes together.  I usually use a spatula to scrape the sides and then get all the ingredients well incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and gently fold into the dough.
  • Turn your dough onto the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper.  Use your hands or a flat spatula to flatten the dough into a long rectangle about 10 by 4 inches. Smooth the edges on all side and don’t worry if it is not completely even throughout.
  • Bake 25 minutes or until just firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 250F.
  • After it is cool, place the rectangle of biscotti on a flat cutting board and using a sharp knife, gently cut the rectangle into about 14-16 slices (I cut at a slight angle to give the biscotti a nice shape- this also gives you more slices). Place the slices back on the baking sheet cut-side down and bake for an additional 15 minutes at the lowered oven temperature.  Flip the biscotti and bake for 15 more minutes on the opposite side.  Turn off the oven and let the biscotti sit inside until cool.

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It is very important that you leave the biscotti in the oven to finish cooling.  In a sense, you are drying and dehydrating the cookie so that it will be nice and crunchy with your tea or coffee.  If you like a softer style biscotti, you can take the pan out of the oven to cool, but i think the best biscotti is all about the firm crunchy texture, a defining characteristic of the early Italian treat.

Remember, the history of biscotti can be traced back to the rock hard biscuit-like ration of the early Romans and Italians who made the snack as a “long-shelf-life food” to be traveled with, packed away, and taken on long journeys because it would not spoil or fall apart.  Originally made in the classic almond variety, due to the abundance of almond groves in the region, it now has endless flavor variations. It was definitely a food created out of necessity, not for the luxury of enjoying with a good cup of espresso or an after dinner wine that it grew to be associated with.  From humble beginnings came this excellent sweet treat, great for any time of day. Enjoy!

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A note about specialty ingredients:  I use Honeyville almond flour because its definitely the most finely ground version out there, but you can use the Bob’s Red Mill variety or Trader Joe’s version (whatever you can find in your area). If you can’t find the Zero sweetener, you’ll have to test the recipe with other versions of Erythritol for baking.  I use Zero because it is an all natural, non-gmo, naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is available here in Seattle at some regular grocery chains and Whole Foods. I couldn’t get my hands on any Swerve Sweetener, the variety used in most of the low sugar-low carb recipes right now.  The Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips are sweetened with stevia so they have a relatively low impact for people on a low-carb regimen.

Nutritional Information:  Serves about 14-16 (serving size is 1 piece) ≈149 Calories; 3.12g Net Carbohydrates per serving (depending on how many slices you cut) These are also chock full of healthy fiber, already subtracted from the net carb count calculated here.

 

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