Biscotti are classic Italian biscuits. Also known as Cantucci, these almond biscuits originated in the Tuscan city of Prato. Biscotti is the plural of biscotto which means twice baked.
Traditionally oblong shaped these biscuits are twice baked to make them dry and crunchy, so they could be stored for long periods of time. Given they were non perishable this type of food made them useful for long journeys and during wars. Twice baked breads, for example were the staple food of the Roman legion.
A nineteenth century recipe for biscotti is composed exclusively of flour, eggs, pine nuts and almonds. This traditional recipe does not use any yeast or fats and the drier dough is baked once as an along slab and then again after cutting into slices.
Modern variations include additions of different nuts, dried fruits, chocolate and spices. Once baked they can also be dipped into chocolate. Recipes for egg free and gluten free versions are also now available.
As the biscuits are so dry they are traditionally served with a drink into which they are dunked. In Italy they are often served after dinner with a glass of Vin Santo, a Tuscan fortified wine.
In regions other than Italy they are often served with hot drinks particularly coffee.
We thought we would try our hand at making a biscotti that could be enjoyed by everyone including those who follow vegan and gluten free diets. We have adapted a recipe from Lovingitvegan (https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-biscotti/#recipe).
50g vegan butter
260g Palmyra Blossom Nectar or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
400g gluten free all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
120ml non dairy milk
65g roasted almonds chopped
2 bars of Meraki Cacao Ole or Turkish Nights chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Measure out all the ingredients
3. In one bowl mix butter and sugar until well combined.
4. Add vanilla extract and mix in.
5. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix in until crumbly.
7. Add milk and mix it in. Use your hands if necessary to form the dough into a ball.
8. Add the toasted chopped almonds and chopped Meraki Cacao bars and mix them in.
9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
10. Place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet and shape into two separate log shapes, placed apart.
11. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
12. Cool completely. Only when completely cold, slice into thick slices (around 1 to 1 ½ inches thick) – use a serrated knife to do this or they will fall apart.
13. Place the slices evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and return to the oven to bake at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.
14. Carefully turn the slices over and then bake for a final 10 minutes. They should be golden brown on both sides
15. Cool completely and store in an air tight container