Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gingerbread Biscotti

I found a great blog for baking that I love. It's the Joy of Baking. They do a wonderful job with the recipes and the photos are beautiful. There are so many recipes that I am going to try. The first one I tried was the Gingerbread Biscotti. Read more

What better cookie for the holiday, right? It just screams Christmas and being that is it a biscotti, it packs well, freezes well and will last for several weeks. Every year I send my brother biscotti for Christmas and this year he got these and Banana Pecan Biscotti.

Gingerbread Biscotti Adapted from Joy of Baking

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (can also use pecans or hazelnuts)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cups all unbleached purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (such as Grandma's Molasses)
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil (or canola oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure orange extract
3/4 cup raisins

White Chocolate Glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup quality white chocolate chips (such as Ghiardelli)

Preheat oven to 350º F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake walnuts for about 8 minutes or until brown and fragrant.

In a blender or food processor, process 1/2 cup of the rolled oats until finely ground. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the 1/2 cup of finely ground oats, the remaining 1/2 cup of rolled oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses, oil, vanilla extract and orange extract. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the chopped nuts and raisins and beat just until incorporated.

With a dough scraper or spatula divide the dough in half. Take each half of dough and divide in half again. form each half into a log, about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart.

Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and dough springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 4-5 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 4-5 minutes or until dry and firm. Remove from oven and let cool.

Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

White Chocolate Glaze (optional): Place white chocolate in a small bowl and microwave on 50% power for about 30 seconds. Stir and heat again for another 30 seconds until melted. Continue to stir until the bowl is no longer hot.

Spoon the melted chocolate into a small plastic zip lock bag and cut a small slit in the corner. Drizzle several thin lines of the chocolate over each biscotti. Let the biscotti sit at room temperature until the chocolate has completely dried.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Egg Biscuits

An Italian Tradition...
The egg biscuit. It is a very simple cookie which has it's roots in the Italian-American culture. It's a favorite with afternoon tea, especially among the older generation of Italian Rhode Islanders. My version is a lactose-free version using lite coconut milk. I actually prefer this recipe to the original.

Egg Biscuits
Recipe by Mixed Salad Annie
lactose free recipe

3 eggs
¾ cup corn oil
4 cups flour, plus more if needed
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup lite coconut milk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Confectioners sugar
Lite coconut milk
A few drops of pure vanilla extract
Colored sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs and extracts with beater. Gradually add the dry ingredients alternately with milk. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Set on a floured board. Take about a tablespoon of dough and roll into 6 or 7 inch ropes, twisting into ball-shaped knots. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet; bake for 5 minutes and turn pan. Bake for another 4-5 minutes or until light brown on the bottom (approximately 9 to 10 minutes total).

Frost with Confectioners Sugar Icing:
Add coconut milk and a few drops of vanilla extract to confectioners sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Frost each cookie with about a tablespoon of icing. Add colored sprinkles while the icing is wet.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

A great variation on the chocolate chip cookie. For something a little different and a bit more special, try this cookie made in a mini muffin pan. It is delicious and it will look a little more sophisticated on your holiday cookie tray.

My inspiration for this recipe came from research on using almond flour in baking. I found an awesome website called Elana wrote a cookbook on cooking with almond flour. Elana uses ONLY blanched almond flour in all her recipes and clearly states that her recipes will not work with natural almond meal (ground almonds with skins).

I do want to try some of her recipes because they sound amazing. I just ordered some blanched almond flour online and I can't wait to get it and start baking! But in the meantime, I had recently bought a bag of Trader Joe's almond meal. I figured I would experiment with it and see if I could come up with something tasty. I think I did. The cookies were soft and chewy and had lots of chocolate flavor. And even though there is not a lot of sugar or fat in the recipe, you are not left disappointed after eating these cookies. They are definitely satisfying and best of all, they are low carb. Yay!! We can eat more :)
They are also much better for you than regular flour based chocolate chip cookies since almonds contain tons of nutrients, vitamin E and protein. They are also perfect for anyone on a gluten free diet. Just make sure you use gluten free oats!

I plan an experimenting more with almond flour. I want to try making brownies, muffins and maybe even a cake. If anyone has a great recipe using almond flour, I'd love to hear about it.

Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
adapted from Elana's Pantry

2 ½ cups Trader Joe's almond meal
3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal, ground fine in blender or food processor
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Ghiardelli 60% Cocao)
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, ground oatmeal, salt and baking soda
  2. In a medium bowl combine grapeseed oil, maple syrup and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into the almond/oatmeal flour mixture until thoroughly combined
  4. Fold in chocolate chips
  5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, press down to flatten
  6. Bake at 350º for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then serve

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Banana Pecan Biscotti

This is a great recipe for the holidays. It reminds me of banana bread when it is baking in the oven, which always makes me feel like I am home with mom. I added a little maple flavoring to the recipe because whenever my mom made banana bread when I was living at home, she would always make a maple glaze to put over the top. It was the best part of the bread. In this case though, I opted for a dark chocolate drizzle for the top. Who wouldn't love that?

I adapted a cooking light recipe to create a delicious holiday biscotti perfect for gift giving. I just sent these and gingerbread biscotti to my brother who lives out of state. I will post the gingerbread recipe soon.

Banana Pecan Biscotti
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or canola)
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Cooking spray
  • Dark chocolate chips, melted (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350°.

    Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine banana, oil, vanilla, maple, molasses and egg in a medium bowl; stir in flour mixture and pecans (dough will be sticky).

    With a dough scraper or spatula divide dough into 4 parts. Scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets; shaping dough into 4 (8-inch-long) rolls with wet hands. Flatten to 1/2-inch thickness.

    Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 12 (1/2-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 250°; bake 12 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 12 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks.

    Drizzle with dark chocolate if desired.