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Shameless Self Promotion 101 (and Vegan Spicy Biscotti)

Posted Jan 06 2010 6:00am

From January 2010 photos

Early last year, I was approached by Dave Grotto for some healthy recipes to include in his newly published book 101 Optimal Life Foods. Because I think what Dave is doing is great, I told him that I'd be happy to contribute a few recipes.

So, it was a very pleasant surprise when a few weeks before Christmas, I received a copy of the new book in the mail. I opened it to discover that it was divided into sections. Each section discussed common ailments and which foods could be used to address them and why. At the end of each section was a diet plan based on the recipes in the back of the book. The five recipes I provided were included in many of the plans. One in particular is this recipe for Spicy Biscotti.


From January 2010 photos

These crunchy, dipping cookies are spiced with loads (I'm not kidding when I say "loads") of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. In short, they are Chi-warming, to say the least. Their nutty flavor is enhanced by almond meal as well as crunchy almonds. I really enjoy them with hot tea because they stay crunchy. You also could serve them with frozen desserts (especially some rich and decadent homemade non-dairy vanilla cream).


From January 2010 photos

Just a baking note: when I made the batch I photographed above, I forgot to pat down the loaves prior to baking. As a result, I got some cracked tops. If you follow the directions, your cookies will look better than mine. Otherwise, the only thing I didn't do according to the directions was preheat the oven at the beginning. I never do this because my new oven only takes 7 minutes to heat to temperature, so I begin preheating when the dough is on the baking sheets. Also, I turned the oven off between the bakings for the same reason. Your oven may be different, so heat as you see fit.

Also, the baking time is very, very long because you want these cookies to be crunchy. The thinner you slice them, the shorter the baking time (and the more fragile the cookies). But thinner makes them delightfully crispy.

Here is the recipe straight from 101 Optimal Life Foods by David Grotto, RD, LDN Copyright © 2009 by David Grotto. This recipe is excerpted from the original book by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

(By the way, this recipe does not follow my traditional Altered Plates format, however, I think it's important to observe the integrity of the original published in Dave's book. Therefore, if you notice a difference, that's why. Also, I used coconut flour for the barley flour, but either one is fine.)

Spicy Biscotti
Servings: 18 (2 cookies per serving -- 1 cookie just isn't fair!)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
1/4 cup water
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup barley flour (the original recipe called for coconut flour -- go for it if you can find it!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 cup almond meal
2/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
     In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseeds and the water, mixing well. Set aside.
     In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and spices. Mix in the almond meal until well incorporated.
     In a medium bowl, beat together the agave syrup, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients (including the flaxseed mixture) to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Fold in the almonds. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
     Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured surface, shape each half into a log. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet. There should be at least 3 inches between the logs. Lightly wet your hands with water and pat down the top of each log so that it is flattened a little.
     Bake the logs for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Take the pan out of the oven and let the logs cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. (Tip: Slide the entire thing, logs and parchment paper, onto the rack to cool.)
     Transfer the logs one at a time to a cutting board and slice the logs into 1/4-inch slices. Transfer the slices back to the baking sheet, relined with the same parchment paper, and bake them for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. You want these to be crunchy, so don't be afraid if they darken a little. Just don't burn them.
     Transfer the cookies and the parchment paper to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely before serving.

Nutritional Profile
130 calories, 5 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 19 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein

From January 2010 photos
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