Orange, Date and Almond Whole-Wheat Biscotti

substituted whole-wheat for all-purpose flour

I was excited about my first ever attempt in making biscotti. What goes well with a lesisurely cup of coffee in the morning, afternoon or anytime of the day? Yes, you guessed it. I like the idea of baking a custom version to suit the taste and texture I prefer. My ideal biscotti should taste rich, and packed with nutrients; with a lighter crunch that you don’t feel compelled to dunk them in coffee to soften.  I’ve often found biscotti to be as hard as a rock. With one wrong bite, they may easily break your teeth or cut into the gum in your mouth. That exasperated crunch in my noisy brain biting into rock-hard biscotti can’t be ignored. In short, I’m not interested in making dunkable biscotti. I want something softer and more delicate. Here is a chance to put my spin on a “flour.ish.en biscotti” by tweaking the ingredients and the baking process.

The original recipe came from Christina Marsigliese Scientifically Sweet. She wrote: “In the North of Italy it is very common to make biscotti with butter, like how it is common to cook with butter in place of olive oil sometimes. In the south, biscotti recipes tend to leave out any fat other than that provided by egg yolks, but these ones definitely need a good cup of Joe to soften them up.” This convinced me that I should leave butter alone in the recipe since I like my biscotti with a softer bite.

Other remaining issues I have to resolve are the refined all-purpose flour and the amount of sugar in the recipe. I’ve been able to find ways to replace all-purpose flour in most of my recipes found in this blog without compromising texture and structure of bread or pastries. Since these cookies do not need much leavening, there shouldn’t be any problem in replacing all-purpose flour with something more wholesome and softer. The list below shows the changes I’ve made to the original recipe. Please click here to see biscotti other creative bakers at ABC served up for the month of February.

  • I used 200 gram of whole-wheat pastry flour and 70 gram of almond meal, or roughly 75% and 25%, respectively, of total 270 gram of all-purpose flour required in the recipe. Pastry flour has lower protein content and almond flour interferes with gluten development. Both flours contributed to the desirable tender structure I preferred. It was also an opportunity for me to use up the remaining stock of almond meal/flour from baking almond tarts and macarons during the holidays.
  • I left out the whole almonds inadvertently but almond was in the dough in the form of meal/flour. It might not have been a bad idea to leave out the whole almond entirely; I don’t miss the additional crunch in the crunchy biscotti.
  • Reduced the amount of sugar, using 125 gram of turbinado raw cane sugar instead of 150 gram of granulated sugar.

The word biscotti is derived from the Latin biscoctus, meaning twice baked or cooked. Patience will be rewarded in baking biscotti two times. Be sure to let the logs cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting them. But I don’t see why you can’t delay the second bake at a later time, if you so choose. One caveat:  you need to cut the logs into final biscotti shape soon after the first bake before the cookies get hardened. It worked out better for me to err on the side of under-baking rather than over-baking to achieve the tender bite I was after. Days-old biscotti can be easily refreshed by reheating them in a 300°F oven.

I like what came out from the test kitchen: fantastic tasting, crunchy biscotti which was soft to the bite. Better yet, you don’t feel too guilty eating a bunch of them at a time. I would be more aggressive next time in reducing the amount of sugar to below 100 gram since I found the biscotti way too sweet. I would add one more egg (especially when you substitute whole wheat for all-purpose flour) which would bind all the ingredients together better and produce the firmer and less crumbly biscotti.

I couldn’t wait to kick back and relax – a hot cup of latte in hand with some freshly baked biscotti – and watch the Super Bowl!

 by using a combination of pastry and almond flour
Non-dunkable biscotti with a soft tender bite

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  • Reply
    February 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Enjoyed reading your experience with the recipe. You did such a great job modifying it to be more healthy. Although I liked the level of sweetness (I might be the only one?), I will use your recommendation to reduce the sugar next time I make them and see how it goes. I also like your use of almond flour. I do that a lot as well to at least partially substitute flour in a lot of my own baking experiments. Great job. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 2, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for your encouraging words and welcome in joining us in our monthly baking challenge.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Love your twist to the recipe. Will definitely try adding more WW flour next time. Good tip about subbing almond meal for some of the flour. What did you end up replacing the butter with? I made mine with half butter and half oil.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2015 at 4:55 am

    I used butter as outlined in the recipe. Didn't make any change there. How did the change to half butter half oil affect your biscotti? I'm curious.

  • Reply
    sunita rohira
    February 3, 2015 at 10:52 am

    They look wonderful and they sound healthy. Will try out your variation the next time. I too did not find them overly sweet but then indian sweets are cloyingly sweet 😃

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Oil makes them a little less hard and more brittle when you bite into it. They dissolve more nicely in your mouth, I think.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 5:41 am

    I like my sweets and eat them too. If I succeed in making them healthy, I could eat more. That's my motivation which might have affected my judgement when it comes to sugar, I guess!

  • Reply
    Dos Gatos Baking
    February 7, 2015 at 3:34 am

    I contemplated adding WW flour, but decided not to. The almond flour would have been nice, though, as I think they could have used some texture. And definitely less sugar. Nice job!

  • Reply
    David T. Macknet
    February 15, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Yours have such beautiful cracks in the tops! Mine turned out smooth, for some reason. Hmm.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    The almond flour did the trick in this recipe, for sure!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    I like to know more why there are more cracks in mine and not in others. Amount of moisture, perhaps?

  • Reply
    February 17, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Oh, fun – glad to see someone else modifying. I was surprised, too, by how sweet these were – definitely will tone that down in the next go-round. I tried this with almond flour as well – made it a bit more crumbly, with the added chopped nuts, but very tasty.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Part of the fun was in the modification and the discovery!

  • Reply
    Judy's Bakery & Test Kitchen
    March 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Looks great! Love the idea of whole wheat flour

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