In the years that I have come to embrace a healthy lifestyle, I’ve become pickier with the things I eat: Nothing too oily, nothing too sugar-coated, nothing too salty; basically everything in moderation. Luckily I don’t have much problems resisting sweets and pastries since I haven’t much of a sweet tooth. I prefer breads, noodle soups, dumplings and sushi, but that is not to say I do not eat sweets entirely.
Given that I am an avid baker, tasting my creations comes with the territory. I must admit though, sometimes I overreact about the things that I eat. Somehow knowing the ingredients that go into the things I bake often makes me feel guilty about eating them, even though all I eat is a really tiny piece! Which is why when a recipe like this one comes along, I am grateful for it.
Enter these butterless chocolate biscotti. It’s very rare to see a cookie that does not contain butter in it. All of the fat for this biscotti is taken from the eggs, as well as the chocolate. To be clear, it’s not no-fat, neither is it no-sugar, because cutting away either completely can be a big deal when it comes to baked goods.
In some recipes, even a little adjustment sometimes sacrifices the texture, or a little of the taste; maybe its appearance turns out another way. I am glad to report that this biscotti is nothing like that. They are made to be less fattening, but look scrumptious and pack great flavour still.
This recipe was developed by none other than Alice Medrich in her book Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies. It’s a wonderful book full of interesting cookie varieties. I love how she made the necessary adjustments on this recipe in particular to allow people who are watching their weight enjoy a chocolatey cookie or two here and there.
Even people with the highest control over food-urges can crumble in the face of chocolate, and at least eating this doesn’t feel overly indulgent. This is just one of her less-fat recipes, and though I am yet to try the others, I have no doubt they will turn out as wonderfully as this.
The biscotti are gorgeously brown; crisp; with a very nice chocolate flavour, and just the right amount of sweetness. The chocolate flavour becomes even more intense as the days go by. If you are planning to serve these to guests (or if you have enough self-control to wait), Ms. Medrich suggests that you make the biscotti up to two days ahead. The flavours really get to settle into each other when you let it rest for a period of time.
It may pose a challenge, but in truth, I can taste and smell the chocolate all the more on Day 3. It’s really nice dipped in coffee, and fantastic as accompaniment to this Avocado Ice Cream. What’s funniest about making these is that when you know what you’re eating is low in some harmful thing or another, you tend to go, “Since it’s low-_____ anyway, it’s okay if I have another one… Or three.”
Oh well, you’ve got to learn to live a little, right? Anyway, I made a recipe card version just for the heck of it which you can click to enlarge and print, but the text version can be found below. Enjoy! 🙂
Makes about 50 small biscotti
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder*
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup toasted whole almonds or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line one of the cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease it.
- 2. In a food processor, or using a pastry cutter, combine the chocolate with the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Blend until the chocolate is reduced to the size of coarse bread crumbs. Set aside.
- 3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and egg whites with the sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Stir in the flour mixture and the nuts. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- 4. Scrape the batter onto the lined or greased pans in 2 skinny strips, 16 to 17 inches long, and at least 1/2 inches apart. Use a spatula to even up the strips.
- 5. Put the pan on the lower rack and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the loaves are firm but springy to the touch. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes, leaving the oven on.
- 6. Transfer the loaves carefully to a cutting board. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut the loaves on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices.
- 7. Stand the slices on unlined baking sheets at least 1/2 inch apart. Toast them for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool the biscotti completely before stacking or storing.
- Storage: Biscotti may be kept in an airtight container for several weeks.
- *You can also use Natural Cocoa Powder in place of Dutch-processed. Simply omit the baking powder and use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in its place.