Pistachio, Cranberry & Chocolate Biscotti [Vegan & Gluten Free!]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 12
Prep: 30 mins
Cooking: 40-45 mins
Tools: Chopping board, food processor, spatula, mixing bowl, baking tray, parchment paper, rolling pin and a sharp knife.

Notes:

Delicious biscotti! Generally we cannot have coffee shop or store bought varieties because they contain egg and/or milk powder, but these types of trivialities have never stopped us before. Baking without eggs, milk and/or gluten has never been easier!

We’re not in the habit of making these delicious, crispy Italian biscuits very often, but we happened to make our first batch five Christmases ago and fancied some again. We found that they were relativity easy to make, although you do need quite a few ‘tools’ and they will take just over an hour of your time, but it cannot be helped as they are ‘twice baked’. Under baking creates a chewy biscuit, which will occur if you try to cook the dough ‘faster’ at a higher temperature (it won’t work!) or for a shorter time at the recommended temperature; there are no short-cuts! 

Nuts and dried fruits are our favourite combination of biscotti ingredients. We’ve never used chocolate before, but added a delicious ginger-based one this time; it’s a messy business! After baking, the chocolate smears and although delicious, it looks rather unsightly! If we ever fancied using chocolate again, we’d omit it from the dough and then dip one of the baked (and cooled) biscotti ends into some melted chocolate instead; it could then cool and set in the fridge and not all over our hands!

We think that combination of xanthan gum and the aquafaba worked a treat. The biscotti (when sliced) slightly crumbled on the ends, but we think that this was possibly down to the fact that there were a few too many added ingredients and/or our GF was predominately rice-based! As these biscotti do not rise as much as ‘standard’ ones, perhaps there is less room for added ingredients?! Don’t get us wrong, the combination was delicious, just maybe a little congested- but that is also down to your own personal preferences! As gluten free products go, they do not turn into saw dust and have a good crunch, but maybe they need one to two minutes less in the oven? 

You’ll notice that although nicely baked they look a bit anaemic; typically the added ‘egg’ in biscotti would provide a nice golden hue as it bakes. As these are vegan, you could try baking them with a darker sugar and/or spices to help give yours more colour!

None the less, they are lovely baked goodies that go perfectly with a nice cup of tea or strong coffee (we wouldn’t want you breaking a tooth after all!), and with Christmas and festive parties around the corner, they would also make a great, edible gift!

So although we wouldn’t recommend eating then daily (there’s about 3 tsp of sugar per biscuit and slightly more with the chocolate!), they’ll definitely be great for keeping your Christmas momentum going; enjoy one mid-morning on Christmas when you are hard at work preparing your delicious festive feast!  

Have a good weekend everyone and happy baking! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++50-60g   Deshelled Pistachios
+++++++++++++++40g          DF Dark Ginger Chocolate, about 4 squares (*optional)
+++++++++++++++125ml       Aquafaba (chickpea brine!)
+++++++++++++++120g         Unrefined Golden Cane Sugar
+++++++++++++++1 tsp         Vanilla paste
+++++++++++++++340g        Self raising Gluten Free Flour*
+++++++++++++++1/8 tsp     Salt
+++++++++++++++1 tsp         Baking Powder (or 2 tsp if you’re using a plain GF flour!)
+++++++++++++++1/2 tsp     Xanthan Gum
+++++++++++++++50g          Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
+++++++++++++++NB: *If using standard baking flour, you may need less of it.

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Place the nuts onto a chopping board and roughly chop them. If using, place the chocolate onto the chopping board and chop it into small pieces. Tip: We’d recommend that you chop these ingredients smaller than we have shown here!

 

 

2. Open and drain the chickpeas into a colander over a large bowl, reserving the brine. Tip: You can use the chickpeas in a tasty recipe! Remove ½ cup of the brine (the aquafaba!) and transfer it into a food processor. Add the sugar. Process until it’s uniform in colour and ‘frothy’. Add the vanilla paste. Pulse to combine.

 

 

3. Place the flour, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum into a large mixing bowl. Stir to thoroughly combine.

 

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.

 

5. With the food processor running, add the flour mixture a little at a time until all of it has been added and the mixture comes together, forming a slightly tacky dough.

 

 

6. Using a spatula, transfer the dough into the mixing bowl. Add the nuts, chocolate (if using) and the dried cranberries. Use your spatula and fold the ingredients evenly throughout the dough.

 

 

7. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it out into a long and narrowish log about 12″ X 3½”.

 

Transfer it onto the baking sheet. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 25 mins.

 

 

8. After 25 mins, reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC/325ºF and then remove the baking tray. Place it onto a cooling rack and allow the dough to cool for 10 mins.

 

 

9. Transfer the ‘cooled’ dough onto a chopping board. Using a sharp or segregated knife (we used a bread knife!), gently cut it into about ½” thick slices (diagonally). NB: We got about twelve pieces.

 

 

Place the slices back onto the baking tray (cut-side down).

 

 

10. Place the tray back into the oven and bake for 8-10 mins. Remove the tray and turn the pieces over. Place the tray back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-10 mins or until lightly tanned and crispy. Remove. Transfer onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before eating. Tip: You may have to adjust the baking times; we baked ours for 10 mins on each side, but would definitely aim for 7-8 mins next time (as least with our gluten free bakes!). All of our ‘standard flour’ bakes have cooked perfectly at the recommended times!

 

Enjoy!

 

Store your spare biscotti in an air-tight and resealable container; it’s best consumed within seven days. Alternatively you can individually wrap the biscotti in kitchen film and then store them in an air-tight container or freezer ‘baggie’; freeze for up until 2-3 months and defrost thoroughly before eating.

 

Have you ever made biscotti before? What’s your go-to flavour(s) and tips??

Mince Pies [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16 -26 (*Dependant on the pastry.)
Prep & Chilling Time: 40-45 mins
Cooking:15-16 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Manual juicer, grater, food processor, kitchen scale, measuring jug, silicone spatula, kitchen film, pot w/lid, wooden spoon, rolling pin, muffin tins, cooling rack

Notes

Here’s another great Christmas recipe that you can make in advance- mince pies! Tick them off your holiday check-list early this year; bake, freeze, defrost and reheat them over the xmas holidays! In fact, they might even last a tad bit longer; they take about thirty minutes to defrost, so that may help to defer all the ‘little elves’ from munching through them so quickly!

When we make ours, we always create our own shortcrust pastry, especially with ground almonds and almond extract (so delicious!), but we’ve never taken the time to make the filling, silly eh? We always succumb to the convenience of prefabricated jars of mincemeat which are just far too sweet and always make you regret eating it! So this year we stopped being silly and made our own; if we only knew how easy it was we would have started this tradition ages ago! 

With the aim of reducing the overall ‘added sugar’ content in these beauties, we opted to omit the sugar from the pastry completely…and keeping with the Christmas theme, substituted it with an orange juice mixture. However, we have added sugar to the list of ingredients, so the choice is yours. Our pastry uses standard vegan margarine; if you are after a flakier/gluten free pastry, try using come vegetable shortening/fat (as you’ll need about twenty percent less than margarine), a mixture of both or even some odourless coconut oil, but just be mindful of the saturated fat!

Our filling, well it’s quite red, but that because there is a lot of cranberries! You can use less and/or substitute for another fruit(s) (cherries and red currents would be nice), or more dried fruit instead. The great thing about using cranberries is that they are relatively cheap and help to offset some of the sweetness of the dried fruit and sugars!

We have tried to mimic our favourite Christmas-y/brand name mince pie flavours; the wine was added on a whim as we were originally going to add juice (you can thank the supermarket sales for that gem!). If you don’t fancy wine, try substituting it for some fresh orange, apple  or pomegranate juice, plain water, or dietary preferences depending, mulled wine, brandy and/or port- just adjust the quantities to your own personal taste and potency! 

*One top thing to note is that our filling makes enough for about twenty-six pies (the cooked weight yields 700g!), but our pastry only stretches into sixteen! So you can: increase the pastry mixture, slightly reduce the filling mixture or save and bottle the remaining mince pie filling in a sterilised bottle. 

Overall these little pies were lovely and nothing quite beats making your homemade shortcrust pastry and filling! If you’re a fan of these delicious morsels, you should really try giving it a whirl! It’s time consuming (well a little), but not too difficult. Just crank up the festive tunes and imagine how good your house will smell with the aroma of fresh, buttery, hot out of the oven shortcrust pastry and wafts of spiced and boozy fruit! Delicious!

Make sure to keep watching this space for more delicious/festive recipes next week! 

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here 🙂

 

Directions

Wash the orange, grate the zest and then juice it (reserve the zest for the filling later on). Place the juice, almond extract, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of unrefined cane sugar (if desired) into a large measuring jug. Mix together, dissolving the salt and sugar.

Place the margarine, flour, ground almonds and xanthan gum into a food processor (or large mixing bowl if you do not own one). Pulse until the texture is similar to fine breadcrumbs and comes together. Tip: Alternatively mix the mixture with your hands or a large fork until the same texture is produced. Pour the orange juice mixture into the food processor. Process until combined; the mixture will be quite chunky, but not dry (if yours is dry add 1-2 tsp of cold water). Tip: You will have to use a spatula to help remove some of the mixture from the sides of the container as you process it, back down into the centre as it has a tendency to ‘bunch up’.

 

 

Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide it into three portions. Roll into balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of kitchen film; wrap and seal. Flatten each ball into a disc. Transfer into the fridge and refrigerate for 30 mins. Tip: Refrigerating the dough will help make it ‘firmer’ and easier to work with. 

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Wash the cranberries in a colander. Wash, peel, remove the core and then dice the apple. Juice the satsuma.

 

Next, place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the wine and sugar. Stir together. It will start to simmer quite quickly, when this happens add the cranberries, apple, satsuma juice, dried fruit, orange zest, spices, sweetener, vanilla paste and almond (or lemon) extract into the pot. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 20 mins, allowing the flavours to meld, the cranberries to burst and soften and the mixture to slightly thicken. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Leave the lid ajar and allow it to cool.

 

 

Meanwhile, grease or line a mince pie or standard muffin tin with a little oil or margarine or a liner. On a clean, floured surface place one disc of pastry (leave the remaining pastry in the fridge until you are ready to use it). Gently knead and soften it with your hands for a minute. Roll it out to a ¼ cm thickness. Use a small tumbler or something suitable for the size of your tin to stamp out 16 discs. Tip: Measure the top of your tin with a small glass to make sure it is not too big or too small; it should be roughly the same size as the tin.

Gently press each pastry disc between your fingers (slightly stretching it) before placing it into the base of the tin. Gently press and shape it into the base. Tip: Use a little pastry to patch up any tears of holes that might appear (this is OK!). Repeat until all sixteen discs have been placed.

 

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the remaining dough to a 1/8cm thickness and then cut out the shapes to top your pies- we opted for modern stars!

 

Fill ease pie case with  about 1 heaped dessert teaspoon of pie filling. Place the top shape over the filling. Gently press and seal the edges. Tip: If you are completely covering the top of your pies, pierce it with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape whilst it’s baking!

Some of these are overfilled! We had to scoop a little out to make sure the lids attached!

 

 

We baked the remainder in this silicone muffin case; we wouldn’t recommend it as they do not bake as well!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 12-16 mins or until lightly browned around the edges and firm. Remove and transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before eating. NB: We cooked ours for 18 mins- but this was too long (the pastry was a little hard… but it’s nothing that a little oat cream won’t fix)! We’ll try 13-15 mins next time and then leave the pies in the tins for 3-5 mins once they’re removed from the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Store in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within one week. Alternatively, wrap and store them in an air-tight and resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

Nutritional Info (approx. per pie w/o sugar added to the pastry):
175kcal, 1.7g protein, 24.5g CHO, 8g Sugar, 7.2g Fat, 1.3g S/fat, 1.2g Fibre, 0.3g Salt
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16