Biscotti are the Italian version of sweet biscuits-rusks. Biscotti means twice baked. Italians used to bake them this way so they can be maintained for a long time in order to be eaten during long journeys or wars. Similar baking breads had the Roman Legions. So, biscotti are oblong, slightly sweet almond biscuits, accompanying the Italian coffee. They are also served as a dessert, along with sweet wine Vinsanto. The traditional recipe uses flour, eggs, sugar and almonds or pine nuts, without any fat, such as butter, oil or milk. Today you will find many different versions. The one I suggest contains, inter alia, whole meal flour (for extra fiber) and loved cranberries.
According to scientific studies, cranberries, strawberries and blackberries are good source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant substance which has antitumor activity and prevents the deterioration of DNA, i.e. our genetic material, “disarming” the activity of cancer cells and preventing the development of tumors. Cranberries have another impressive property, as well. They fight cancer cells before and after the onset of the disease, and prevent metastases. Their antioxidant, when isolated in the laboratory is not absorbed from the blood, as well as when taken through the foods we eat. So make sure to include cranberries in your diet.
Furthermore, cranberries are a rich source of flavonoids (prevent damage caused by free radicals, i.e. harmful oxygen molecules that can cause cancer, heart disease and other serious problems), vitamins C, D, potassium and iron, while it is very poor in calories. Another important action is the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Experts recommend 1-2 glasses of cranberry juice in conjunction with medication, as concomitant therapy.
Almonds, as we have said before, are the most nutrient-dense kind of nuts. Once 1/4 cup almonds, has almost as much calcium, as 1/4 cup milk; almonds are so important to fight osteoporosis. Also, a handful of almonds contain 35% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and prevents the formation of plaque. Finally, almonds have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. They are an excellent source of magnesium, a good source of protein and fiber and provide potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and polyunsaturated fats.
As for chocolate, although I know I do not need to convince you, you can read here.
Preparation time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 70 g. almonds
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 65 g. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 115 g. dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 150o C / 300o Lay a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Spread almonds on baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly roasted. Leave to cool and the chop coarsely.
- In a bowl mix the flour, the baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of your food processor, add sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat for about 1 minute, at medium speed. Add the mixture of the solid materials and mix on low speed until homogeneous. Add cranberries, chocolate and almonds and mix with a spatula. Your dough will be sticky.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough into two parts and create two 30cm / 12’’ logs. Transfer the logs to a baking tray that you have previously paved with greaseproof paper, leaving space between them. Bake for 30 minutes. At this point, the dough will begin to harden. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Using a spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting surface. With a knife that cuts well, cut diagonally into thin slices of 1.2 – 1.4 cm. Place the slices upright on baking sheet, leaving space between them. Bake for 20 minutes until dry.
- Leave to cool and keep in an airtight container.
Biscotti with dried cranberries, almonds and chocolate are ideal to satisfy your sweet tooth without loading you with useless calories, and are perfect to accompany your coffee.
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