29 September 2010

Overcoming the Crumble

I recently shared my less-than-pleasing experience attempting to bake a batch of would-be biscotti.  Upon reader suggestion, I've since chosen to refer to the cookies as "biscotti crumbles," which aptly describes the results.  The flavor was there, but the structural soundness was not.

Fast-forward to this afternoon: day who-knows-what into a California heatwave that has decided to hush what were apparently premature celebrations of autumn's arrival.  (Nothing quiets my harvest time joy like stepping outside to go for an early morning jog, only to find that the usual crispness in the air has been replaced by the muggy beginnings of what would become easily the hotness day of the summer.)  The heat must be affecting the functioning of my neocortex, because despite the high temperatures--yes, it has cooled down noticeably since that first insufferable day, but not enough to fully dismiss summer--I illogically risked further torture by baking biscotti today.  I simply wanted to take a last shot at the biscotti recipe I'd been tweaking since that initial fail.  Fortunately, I think today's bit of suffering paid off.  The results weren't perfect, but I quite enjoyed the resulting flavor combination and the fact that the cookies remained largely intact.  
Almond Cardamom Biscotti (printable recipe)
Yields 16 cookies

1/3 c freshly-squeezed orange juice
3 T milled flaxseed
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 1/3 c spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/3 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c raw almonds, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lightly oil.

Mix the orange juice and flaxseed until viscous, then whisk in oil, extracts, and zest.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.  Add cornmeal and mix to combine.  Add the wet mixture, and mix just until combined.  Stir in almonds until distributed throughout the dough.

On the prepared baking sheet, form dough into roughly a 3" to 4"x12" log, and flatten slightly.  Bake for 28-30 min, until the dough just begins to turn golden brown.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and carefully transfer dough to a cutting board (I simply slid the parchment onto the board).  Starting at one end and using a sharp, heavy knife, make roughly 1/2" cuts on the diagonal; press downward in a single, swift motion to slice the dough, rather than a lateral, sawing motion.  You should get approximately 16 slices .  Return cookies cut side-down to the baking sheet.  Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
These cookies are just mildly sweet, with a pleasant blend of citrus, almond, and spice.  The nuts and cornmeal add wonderful texture.  Admittedly, they aren't the sturdiest nor most dunk-worthy of biscotti, but in my humble opinion, their somewhat delicate crispness is nonetheless suitable for a crunchy accompaniment to coffee or tea.  In any case, this is where I'm leaving the formula for now, although any recipe under my surveillance may be prone to further adjustment, no matter how reliable.  But I'll leave the baking for a cooler day.


  1. OK...I LOVE Biscotti and the flavors you used for it sound awesome!

  2. Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog :) I love finding new vegan blogs to follow!

    And yummmo, I think your biscotti looks perfect and the flavours sound delicious. And the photo with the cup of tea/coffee looks great!

  3. They look amazing, Tiffany. I'm always inspired and impressed by your well-written posts.
    I've never made biscotti, but then again I've only ever tasted it once. I usually see it at coffee shops where I can bet it's not vegan, but making your own sounds delicious! :)

  4. Tiffany,
    Grazie tanto for sharing your recipe! I LOVE biscotti, but have never made them. Yours look great. I will remember to follow your recipe when I am ready for some delicious Italian dipping goodness!

  5. These look amazing! It looks like the quantities of orange juice and flaxseed may be missing though?

  6. Ahh good eye, Tara! Thanks for pointing out the omission. I'll have to fix that once I find my notes...

  7. Ahh good eye, Tara! Thanks for pointing out the omission. I'll have to fix that once I find my notes...

  8. OK...I LOVE Biscotti and the flavors you used for it sound awesome!

  9. These look amazing!!  I've been looking everywhere for a vegan biscotti recipe.  I seriously miss my italian cookies, I tell you!  I will have to try them soon!


Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)