Friday, December 23, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Cookies: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free &

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Biscotti: Dairy and Nut free

December 23rd, my official baking day! Christmas Eve also happens to be my birthday. I know, crazy, right? It is. We spend it over at my parent's house eating home made ravioli. As Alton Brown would say, "but that's another show". We host Christmas at our house every year so I'm working away, getting my desserts together. I always make biscotti, and usually some peppermint cookies. This year I decided to combine the two into Peppermint Chocolate Chip Biscotti. My favorite recipe is by Giada De Laurentiis so I started with her recipe and made my alterations from there. These are dairy free (I used Earth Balance instead of butter) and nut free. They are not gluten free since I used regular wheat flour for these. You can try them with your favorite gluten free flour mix, such as Bob's Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, and let me know how you like them.
For my next cookies, I decided to go with something chocolate. I am a little obsessive about my chocolate, and I found a recipe in a great cook book that I have (available through, "Baking Made Easy", that with a minor adjustment of using gluten free flour, made it gluten and dairy free. They are crispy on the outside, chewy and gooey on the inside and down right chocolate heaven.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free
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Makes 18 cookies
4 egg whites
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp Bob's Redmill All Purpous Gluten Free Flour (or other gluten free flour)
1 tsp coffee
1 tbsp water
chocolate chips (if desired)
Pretead oven to 350 and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy.
Sift cocoa, flour, and baking powder into a bowl and add into mixer along with coffee and the water. Continue mixing on
low speed until well combined.
Fold in chocolate chips, if desired, by hand.
Scoop spoonfulls of batter onto parchment paper on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until firm and cracked on top but soft inside.
You will need a metal spatula to scrap them off the parchment paper to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Biscotti: Dairy and Nut free
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Makes about 24 cookies
2 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice from Costco)
1/2 cup, or 1 stick of Earth Balance dairy free (I get this at QFC)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest from a Meyers lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (I use free range, hormone free)
3/4 cup ground candy canes (doesn't have to be exact amount)
2/3 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or other dairy free brand)
powdered sugar for flouring the baking sheet (to ease forming log)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop a little spoon full of extra flour and some extra powdered
sugar for flouring your dough. This makes it easier to work with as the dough will be sticky. Using a combo of flour and
powdered sugar helps the dough to not get to dry.
Whisk or sift the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, Earth
Balance, lemon zest, and salt until combined. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended.
I used my Vitamix to chop the candy canes into a powder. You can also fill the unwrapped candy canes in a zip bag and
hit with a mallet until well pulverised. Stir in the candy canes and chocolate chips by hand.
Place dough on top of baking sheet, pre lined with parchment paper and a little pile of flour and powdered sugar. Form
the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. The dough will be sticky. I often spray my
hands with cooking spray. Work the dough into your little pile of flour/powdered sugar, using the parchment paper to
help you fold the dough into the flour. The dough will become easier to handle so you can form it into a log.
Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick
slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15
minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in
resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Have a very Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

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