A Song for Biscotti

My last blog on Apple Crisp Bars prompted ChyAnn to write asking if I had any more high protein, low sugar/fat cookie or bar suggestions. Thank you, ChyAnn for the perfect segues – and another opportunity to sing the praises of Biscotti.

I highly recommend biscotti as a healthful all-purpose dessert option. Their signature crunchiness makes them suitable for storage and will thus rank high among the handy dandy pantry players. They are an easy snack on the run, a great solution for drop in guests served with coffee or tea, and are beautiful as part of a dessert plate with fresh fruit, or as a stand alone with ice cream.

Biscotti’s name is derived from their biscuit-like quality as well as their unique twice baked cooking process. This second baking makes biscotti ideal for dunking in coffee, tea, milk, and most especially into the Italian’s beloved vin santo. This superb dessert wine is a classic ending to a heavy meal, and a crisp biscotti is the perfect vehicle for maximum dunking capacity.

If you purchase biscotti commercially, as with all convenience and specialty foods, it’s important to read the label carefully since they can be loaded with empty calories, high in fat, sugars and preservatives.

Here, our Breakfast Biscotti is a welcome change from packaged Granola Bars. There’s plenty of protein and fiber, fat and sugar content is minimized, dried fruit offers additional sweetness and texture, and the small amount of orange zest adds a perky dash of brightness. No surprise, cornmeal is included for crunch and color, and any nut may be substituted or omitted altogether. If counting calories based on 36 cookies these are slightly over 90 calories each.

Since there’s shaping and hand work involved, with the exception of cutting into portions, these would make a great kid project.

Breakfast BiscottiFrom Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe
3 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup wheat germ or soy protein powder
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almonds, chopped
6 dates or other dried fruit, pitted, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet, or for easy clean-up, line it with parchment.

Into large mixing bowl, break eggs, add sugars, thru extracts and beat until smooth.

Combine dry ingredients separately. Using spoon, add dry to wet, mixing thoroughly; it may be necessary to use hands as it thickens and becomes dough-like.

Moisten hands slightly and divide batter in half; form 2 logs @ 2″ in diameter. Place on sheet with space between them.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden and slightly brown on edges. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Transfer logs one at a time to a cutting board. Using serrated knife, at a good angle, cut into 1/2″ thick slices. Return to baking sheet, laying the cookies cut side down. Bake 8 more minutes. Turn them over and bake for another 8 minutes. For extra crunchy, turn off heat and leave in oven for an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool on racks. Store room temperature airtight or freeze. Yield: 36 cookies

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