Gluten Free Almond Biscotti
Classic almond biscotti, or cantucci, made natural and gluten-free thanks to almond flour. Gluten-free biscotti are wonderful dunked in coffee or given as a holiday gift.
Biscotti, aka cantucci, is one of those foods that always transports me back to Tuscany. We ate them at all hours there. Crunchy and lightly sweet, biscotti are perfect with a morning cappuccino, but are traditionally served after dinner. A small glass of vin santo, a sweet Tuscan dessert wine, is often served with biscotti for dunking. It’s the most wonderful combination of nutty sweetness.
I had been wanting to make classic Italian almond biscotti lately and finally did. These little cookies are easy to make. I love using alternative, less refined, more nutritious flours and realized that almond flour would be perfect in almond biscotti.
What are Biscotti?
The key to biscotti is that they are twice baked. Twice cooked is the actual translation from it’s Latin roots. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the word biscotti is plural. Please don’t say biscottis, or raviolis for that matter. My Italian is pretty poor for having studied the language for several years, but I can tell you that “i” is plural.
The double-baking dries out the cookies and gives them their trademark crumbly dry crispness. Rumor has it that biscotti has been enjoyed since ancient Roman times. Since they are so dry they last much longer than other baked foods and were taken on long trips.
How to Make Biscotti
Biscotti are traditionally made with just a few simple ingredients: flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and almonds. Sometimes orange zest or anise are added. Making biscotti gluten-free is such a natural thing. Almond is the classic biscotti flavor, so why not swap almond flour for the bleached refined wheat flour? There is NO reason. Literally none. Unlike some gluten-free foods (I’m looking at you, pizza), I couldn’t tell the difference between these and the traditional biscotti I’ve picked up in Italy so many times.
To start, I whisked together almond flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder, and salt.
How to Make Vegan Biscotti
I also wanted to make these biscotti vegan friendly (can’t tell, promise). I tested them with both coconut oil and Earth Balance vegan butter. Taste-wise, I would go with the Earth Balance, however, I think the coconut oil is the most natural. Choose what you will. To replace the eggs, many vegan biscotti recipes use applesauce. I tested this recipe twice with applesauce and didn’t think it was as good. My favorite alternative is Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, or you can use eggs if you eat them.
The biggest challenge I had with this recipe was getting the dough just moist enough to hold together. The first try ended up too wet and spread out way too much. When first mixing the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture, it will seem much too dry. Mix with your hands or a rubber spatula and it will eventually come together.
When I first learned to make traditional biscotti in Italy, we used whole almonds, so that’s what I continue to do. Try to cover any exposed almonds with some dough so that they don’t fall out.
Why? WHY can I not make my logs the same size? I’ll work on it, friends. Remember the word biscotti comes from Latin roots meaning twice baked. The logs go in the oven for the first baking.
Next we slice the logs into the biscotti shape we are used to seeing. They may crumble a little during this step, but that’s okay, most should hold up. You can experiment with using a large sharp knife and a serrated knife to see what works best for you.
For the second baking we mostly want to dry the biscotti out. I reduce the temperature to 275 and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let them cool completely before eating or storing.
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti
Traditional almond biscotti are good. Chocolate dipped almond biscotti are AMAZING! I highly recommend this extra step. I simply melted about a cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips in the microwave and dipped right in.
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour
- 5 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup organic sugar
- 2 egg replacer eggs (I used Bob’s Red Mill)*
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (firm, or Earth Balance)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup whole almonds, toasted
- 1 cup gluten-free, dairy-free dark or semisweet chocolate chunks (I used Enjoy Life)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lin a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicon liner.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add the egg/egg replacer, coconut oil/Earth Balance, and vanilla to the almond flour mixture. Combine using a rubber spatula or your hands, which seem to work best. This mixture will seem very dry at first but should come together after working for a couple of minutes. If it doesn't, you can add a few drops of water until it does. Be very careful not to let this dough get too moist or it will spread too much. Work in the almonds.
- Form the dough into two logs about 3-inches wide and place on the cookie sheet. They will spread, so leave a few inches between logs. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs on the bias into 1/2-inch slices. Place on the cookie sheet and bake again for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
- If dipping in chocolate, melt the chocolate chunks over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently. Dip one side of the biscotti into the melted chocolate and set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Cool in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is approximate and calculated by a third party. It does not include chocolate for this recipe. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again.
*If you eat eggs, you can use 2 instead of the egg replacer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 25 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65 Total Fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 7g Sugar: 4g Protein: 2g