Thursday, December 30, 2010

dark chocolate dipped walnut biscotti & a cup o joe

Little bites of perfection
I might hate brunch, but I love sweets for breakfast. A small plate with a crisp little pastry and, on the side, a hot cup of good, strong, black coffee. Over the years, we've combed NYC for the perfect chocolate and/or almond croissant (Colson's, Park Slope). The best bagel (H&H Bagels, followed closely by an Absolute Bagel or Nussbaum & Wu (Upper West Side) sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese). Still working on finding a commercial cinnamon bun that even comes close to my mother's sticky bun recipe. Only problem with these little slices of heaven is that they're chock full of dairy, eggs, wheat, refined sugar, and - everyone's friend - artificial preservatives. What's a high maintenance eater to do? Enter these tiny biscotti gems adapted from Meredith McCarty's recipe for chocolate dipped almond biscotti in her Sweet and Natural cookbook. These are not too sweet, not too rich, and almost (almost) good for you due to sprouted whole wheat flour (fiber!), toasted walnuts (omega 3s!), no refined sugar (agave!), and a nice thick coating of dark chocolate (endorphin rush!).  Note, currently these are NOT gluten-free.

**A great variation on this recipe is lemon, almond, olive oil biscotti. Replace the canola oil with an equal amount of olive oil, toasted almonds for the walnuts, and the lemon zest of one whole organic lemon. An amazingly delicious treat especially on a warm summer evening.

Ingredients (adapted from Meredith McCarty's Biscotti recipe)
3 cups sprouted whole wheat flour (alternatively, use whole grain pastry flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup walnuts toasted
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate sauce for dipping
1 cup good quality dark chocolate chips
1 tblsp canola oil
1/4 cup agave (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and combine. The mixture will be crumbly so you will likely have to use your hands to combine. Form into a log about 2 - 2 1/2 inches wide in diameter. Bake on baking sheet for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. About 30 minutes. With a very sharp knife, slice into 3/4 inch slices and place back on baking sheet. Don't worry if some slices crumble and/or fall apart. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
To make chocolate sauce: Place oil, sweetener (if using), and chips in a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl. Turn heat on until double boiler begins to boil. Then cover and allow the chips to melt completely and stir. If microwaving, place bowl in microwave for 1 minute increments until chocolate begins to melt. Chocolate should be more liquidy than spreadable. Dip one-side of cooled biscotti into mixture and allow chocolate to harden. These keep for approximately 1 week.

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