[Hazelnut Biscotti with Cinnamon Glaze are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
Okay, a mini-survey. Please answer the following:
Q. When was the last time you were able to sit and relax with nothing to do except daydream and ponder?
a) In your 30s.
b) In your 20s.
c) When you were 14.
d) When you were eight. Months.
I know; these days, seems we’re all pressed for time all the time, too busy to really breathe, totally stressed out, working 24/7, sleep deprived and basically feeling overwhelmed. (Okay, so maybe I’m projecting a wee bit.) Especially for those of us who run our own businesses, it can often feel as if there’s no “off” switch.
What can be done?
Well, personally, I think we all need some biscotti.
I’m not sure why, but to me, biscotti is the quintessential “relaxation” treat. Perhaps because it’s baked twice, requiring that extra time in the oven; or perhaps because it’s so hard and crunchy that you simply can’t eat it too quickly (dip; wait; soften; chew; repeat); or perhaps because biscotti were originally created precisely to have a very long shelf life; but for whatever reason, I always associate biscotti with protracted, languid afternoons spent in front of a fireplace with nothing particular planned except perhaps leafing through the collected works of Emily Dickinson while the dogs recline at my feet, a steaming cup of matcha on the table beside me. (“Sounds good to us, Mum. And keep in mind that we don’t have to wait for the biscotti to soften up–canine incisors, and all.”).
Like driving (I started at age 33), smoking (began at age 22) and boyfriends (ditto), I came to biscotti late in life. It wasn’t until I was well entrenched in the Toronto social scene after moving here to start my PhD that I first encountered our fine Italian confection via a fellow doctoral student. As was our wont in those days, we’d gone for coffee after a long day’s studying (and really, those last two sentences alone demonstrate how much my life has changed since then–studying? Coffee?! Smoking??!!!).
Anyway, that day, we rewarded ourselves at a “regular” restaurant instead of the usual Coffee Time donut shop. Because it was a quiet night, and because it was an Italian joint, they served up the caffès with a little biscuit on the side. I’d never seen one like that before, but hey–it was a cookie!–so I bit right into it. (Don’t worry, it was just a little chip, and the dentist was able to fix it). My friend practically fell off his chair laughing as I nursed my sore jaw. Then, suddenly very solemn, he proceeded to instruct me on the “proper way to consume a biscotti”.** It all seemed like too much work at the time–I mean, really? A cookie that you had to soften up in your coffee first, then wait to eat? I could practically go home and bake a whole batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies and eat half the dough before the biscotti would even be edible.
Over the years, I’ve warmed up to the concept, however. Just as the French have their relaxing three-hour lunches, I figure the Italians have their caffè and biscotti. With time (and many more post-study biscotti sessions) I came to appreciate more what the biscuits represent (time with friends, chatting and unwinding in a social environment) rather than theor texture or flavor.
With this recipe, however–both grain-free and safe for a candida diet–I think I’ve melded the concept of “biscotti” with my own desire for enticing cookies. These are crisp on the outside with just a hint of softness in the interior. Subtle hazelnut flavors the biscuit, complemented perfectly by a sweet cinnamon frosting. When dipped into your coffee or tea, the cinnamon will infuse your beverage with a whisper of fragrant spice.
These are the perfect treat for that next time you decide to take a break from the frenetic daily routine. In fact, they might even prompt you to find some extra time in your jam-packed schedule, just so you can relax and enjoy a bite (or two).
** Dunk. Wait 10 seconds. Dunk again, ten more seconds, then bite. In case you were wondering.
Grain-Free Hazelnut Biscotti with Cinnamon Glaze
These biscotti are prepared in a slightly unconventional manner, but the result is a delicious cookie that’s firm and crisp on the outside with just a hint of softness in the middle. If you don’t have time or inclination to make the glaze, these are lovely plain, too, or with added chocolate or cacao nibs.
1/3 cup (40 g) coconut flour
heaping 1/3 cup (45 g) lightly toasted hazelnuts (with skin is fine)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) potato starch
1 Tbsp (15 ml) whole psyllium husks
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) pure stevia powder or 1/4 tsp (1 ml) pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, soy, hemp or other alternative milk (except rice milk)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) smooth natural almond butter, sunflower seed butter or tahini
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract
1 tsp (5 ml) pure lemon extract
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
In a food processor, blend together the coconut flour, hazelnuts, potato starch, psyllium, baking powder, salt and stevia powder (if using liquid, add it to the liquid ingredients) until the mixture is powdered and no pieces of hazelnut are visible.
Add remaining ingredients and process just until blended and uniformly moist (do not overmix). It may not form a ball; this is fine. Gently turn the mixture onto the cookie sheet. Wet your palms and then shape the dough into a flat log, roughly 8 inches (20 cm) long and 3 to 3-1/2 inches (7.5-9 cm) wide and 1/2-3/4 inch (1-2 cm) high (make it higher if you prefer thicker biscotti). Using a sharp knife, cut across the log on a diagonal to create about a dozen pieces, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick.
Gently move the biscotti apart so they are positioned with maximum space between pieces on the parchment. Bake for 20 minutes, until edges just begin to brown. Remove the biscotti from the oven and turn each piece over.
Reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for another 25 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the biscotti in the oven until completely cool, about an hour. They should be lightly browned and very crisp at this point.
If desired, drizzle the glaze over the cooled biscotti and allow to harden. Makes about one dozen. Will keep, covered at room temperature, up to four days. May be frozen.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
3 Tbsp (45 ml) coconut butter
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
10-15 drops plain or vanilla pure liquid stevia, or to taste
In a small pot over lowest possible heat, melt the coconut oil and coconut butter. Add the cinnamon and stevia and whisk to blend well. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the biscotti (or transfer to a small bowl and dip the tops of the biscotti directly into the glaze).
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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