Sunday, May 25, 2008

Almond Biscotti

Among the great things about having a baking blog is the opportunity to try out a variety of different recipes and then sample the results. Which leads to the worst thing - putting on the pounds from all of the tasting!

That's why I like to throw in a lower-fat recipe now and again to counter all the high-fat stuff I usually make. While I do generally adhere to the theory that if you're going to indulge, you should go all out, I do like offering lower-fat versions of favourite recipes that taste great and are easy to make.

The most reliable low-fat baking cookbook I've come across is One Smart Cookie, which is where this biscotti recipe comes from. The author, Julie Van Rosendaal, offers a basic biscotti recipe as well as over 10 variations ranging from Cinnamon Raisin Biscotti to Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti. I chose the Almond or Cantuccini Biscotti because I love almonds, and because each biscotti is only 105 calories and 2.9 grams of fat!

While biscotti are easy to make, they do take some time because they need to be baked twice. But, as Julie points out, it's easier to create a lower fat biscotti because their hard and dry texture means that you don't need to worry about losing tenderness like a regular cookie. With a cup of tea, this is the perfect, light-tasting (and easy on the waistline) after-dinner dessert!

The ingredients:

After the first baking:

Cut and ready to be baked again:

Finished product!:

Cantuccini Biscotti

2 tbsps. margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
1 cup slivered or chopped almonds
2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper or spraying with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat margarine, sugar, eggs and almond extract until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, almonds, baking powder and salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. If it seems dry, use your hands to complete the mixing as the dough comes together.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide in half and shape each piece into an 8" long log.
6. Place the logs 2" - 3" apart on the cookie sheet, and flatten each log into a rectangle that is about 3" wide.
7. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until firm and starting to crack on top. Transfer the logs to a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 275F.
9. Place the logs on a cutting board, trim the ends and cut each log diagonally into 1/2" - 3/4" slices with a serrated knife. Place the slices cut side down on the cookie sheet.
10. Return the slices to the oven for 15 minutes, then flip the cookies over and bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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