Vegan's Chronicles + [Veganomicon]

Twice-Baked

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful sunny weather today? I had plans to paint at home this afternoon, but such glorious sunshine is not to be wasted cooped up indoors, so as soon as I post this, I'm going for a walk! Now without further ado, I present my new favorite thing to bake these days: biscotti!

Almond Biscotti

In the past, I was never interested in eating biscotti because the idea of dry, hard, log-like cookies just didn't appeal to me. I guess in my head, biscotti just looked and sounded like snobby, elitist cookies, compared to the humble, common-man's chewy chocolate chip cookies that I'm used to. However, I think these have definitely become my new favorite treat. The characteristic dryness that originally turned me off from these twice-baked cookies is actually now what I love most about them. Their brittle porousness is just perrrfect for dunking in coffee or tea and soaking up new flavors. Ahhh~ They're simply the best tea time snack.

Almond Biscotti

For the biscotti you see here, I modified the 'Almond Anise Biscotti' from Veganomicon. Some of the changes I made were that I omitted the anise seeds (not a common ingredient in Korea), only used half the oil, slightly reduced the sugar, and I used cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder. I also chopped up the almonds before mixing them into the batter, rather than leaving them whole like the recipe suggests. I found that having large whole almonds made the biscotti fall apart more easily. Here is the adapted recipe:

{ What you'll need }

  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
{ Method }

1. Pre-heat oven to 175C (350F).
2. Whisk ground flax seeds with the soymilk until it thickens. Then add sugar, oil, salt, and extracts. Mix well.
3. Sift in flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Mix until it is almost all combined.
4. Add chopped almonds and then briefly knead the dough until it all comes together. It's probably easiest to just use your hands here.

Almond Biscotti

5. Transfer the dough onto the baking sheet and shape into a long, flat log. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until top is lightly brown (baking #1).

Almond Biscotti

6. Take it out of the oven and let it cool (about 30 minutes).

Almond Biscotti

7. Once it has cooled, chop it up into long strips, approximately 2cm thick. Many people say that you should use a sharp chopping knife to cut the individual pieces in one quick downward motion, but I find that I get much cleaner cuts using my very sharp serrated knife. I guess everyone just has to discover what works best for them.

Almond Biscotti

The hardest part of baking biscotti is patiently waiting for the big cookie slab to cool down before slicing it up for the second baking step. However, this is important as this will result in cleanly-cut pieces, rather than crumbly, snaggle-edged biscotti.

8. Line the sliced pieces on the cookie tray and return to the oven for about 7-10 minutes (baking #2). Keep checking the oven to make sure they don't burn! No need to flip mid-way.

Almond Biscotti

9. After the second-bake, remove from the oven and let cool.

Almond Biscotti

10. Pour yourself a cuppa tea and dunk away! (I enjoyed mine with some soy chai latte.)

Almond Biscotti

Next time, to take these biscotti to the next fancypants-level, I plan on decorating them with some squiggles of melted dark chocolate. The recipe is actually really versatile, and I'm now thinking of all sorts of variations, with different nuts, maybe some dried fruits, chocolate chips...

IMG_7489

The best thing is that they make very elegant-looking birthday gifts! Simply the fact that they're biscotti, makes people think I'm an expert baker. Little do they know how deceptively easy it is. Infact, in the course of one week, I baked 3 batches of biscotti and gave them away as birthday presents to 4 different omni friends (yea, I tend to recycle birthday present ideas... )! And everyone said they loved them. It was really difficult resisting eating them all before I could package them up, but I made sure to save all the end pieces for myself, as well as the rejected ones that "accidentally" got broken.

So what you waiting for? Go bake (twice)!