When a fellow vegan, Justine from England, requested that I create a gluten-free vegan biscotti recipe, I asked if she had any preferences or wanted anything specific in the recipe. Justine proceeded to tell me that she desired chocolate chips. So in developing this recipe, I knew I had to somehow incorporate chocolate chips. Since I already have chocolate chips in so many of my dessert recipes I decided to change it up a bit.
I searched my pantry for inspiration. The first thing I discovered is that I did not have anise extract, which the dominant flavor traditionally found in biscotti. I did, however, have almond and vanilla extract. I decided to make my own version of biscotti with a dominant almond flavor. To make things more exciting, I added a zing with lemon zest and a deep, sweet flavor of dried cherries. Once twice-baked and cooled, I decided to give them a little dip in chocolate and they turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself.
I made two batches—one with coconut sugar and one with Stevia. The coconut sugar turned the biscotti brown and the biscotti with Stevia retained a nice creamy, golden color. Although I do like the creamy color of the Stevia version, the coconut sugar biscotti in my humble opinion tasted better. The quality of the cookie dough was much easier to work with as well. Please note, since there are nuts and cranberries in the dough, some of pieces that are cut prior to baking the biscotti the second time may crumble a little. No worries though. Just pop those broken pieces in your mouth, chew and savor the flavor.
Since I am no longer a coffee drinker, I honestly did not think enjoying a biscotti was still possible. Boy, was I wrong. They simply are crispy cookies dipped in a bit of chocolate. Now, who doesn’t like that?
Feel free to try this recipe and make an ice “cream” biscotti sandwich, enjoy it with coffee or tea, or eat it all by its lonesome. Biscotti can also be a perfect edible gift for your family and friends.
Almond, Cherry and Chocolate Biscotti
Makes 14 – 15 cookies
Time: 50 minutes
Diet: V, GF, DF, SF, SRF
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
4 ½ tbsp filtered water
½ cup coconut palm sugar
zest from half a lemon
1 tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 oat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 heaping cup dried cherries
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together ¼ cup coconut oil, flax meal, filtered water, coconut sugar, lemon zest, almond and vanilla extracts until well-blended.
4. In a small bowl, combine and mix together flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum.
5. Stir into wet mixture to form a heavy dough.
6. Add almonds and cherries and combine well.
7. On the lined baking sheet, form into a log as long as the cookie sheet. Press down to ½ inch thickness. Bake for 25-27 minutes.
8. Remove from the baking sheet and cook on a rack. When cookies are cool enough to handle, slice crosswise with a serrated knife into ½ inch slices. Since there are almonds and cranberries, they may crumble a bit.
9. Place slices cut side up on backing sheet. Bake for additional 7 minutes on each side. Cookie slices should be lightly toasted.
10. Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
11. Make sure the cookies are fully cooled before dipping them in chocolate. When the cookies are cooled, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
12. Melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler by bringing a pot with 2 cups of water to a simmer and placing the bowl of coconut oil and chocolate on top of the pot, stirring constantly until it melts. Turn off the heat once it is almost fully melted. Wipe off any water from the bottom of the bowl and do not put any water in the melted chocolate or it will seize.
13. Dust off crumbs from the biscotti and either dip the biscotti and/or use a spoon to coat the bottom of the biscotti. Place the dipped biscotti on the lined baking sheet, and place it in the refrigerator to set. Remove from the refrigerator once the chocolate is set and store in an airtight container.
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