Hazelnut, Cherry, Orange & Dark Chocolate Vegan Biscotti

After last week's experimentation with aquafaba macarons, I was in the mood for something more rustic, so decided to try using aquafaba (aka: the water drained from a can of chickpeas) as an egg replacer in some chunky Biscotti, the twice-baked biscuit perfect with a cup of coffee.

Studded with cherries and hazelnuts and drizzled with rich dark chocolate, these biscotti are really easy to make, and stay good for ages (some insist that their flavour even develops after a few days). You can also easily replace the added ingredients with any dried fruit, nuts, zest or seeds that you like, to find your own favourite flavour combinations.


Hazelnut, Cherry, Orange & Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Yield: approx 18 large biscotti biscuits
 

Ingredients:

  • 480g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 60g vegan sunflower spread
  • 220g sugar
  • 135ml aquafaba (you should get enough from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla
     
  • 80g dried cherries
  • 80g hazelnuts
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 100g dark chocolate
     

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper
 

Method:

  • Before beginning to make the dough, put your dried cherries in a small bowl, and pour over enough boiling water to just cover them, then leave to sit for 10 minutes - since the biscotti will be baked twice, adding some moisture back into the dried fruit will stop them from drying out too much as the biscuits bake. Roughly chop your hazelnuts and put them in the oven to toast for around 10 minutes, until golden brown.
     
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
     
  • Cream the vegan spread and sugar together in a stand mixer (or using a hand whisk), until light and fluffy.
     
  • Mix together your aquafaba and cornstarch in a small bowl or cup, and, with the mixer on it's lowest speed, add this liquid in a slow stream to the margarine and sugar mixture. It might look a bit curdled at this stage, but don't worry! Everything will come together in the next step.
     
  • Tip the bowl of dry ingredients into the mixer, and mix on a slow-medium speed until your dough starts to come together. Add your vanilla, cherries, and toasted nuts, and grate in the zest of your oranges, then continue to mix until well incorporated.
     
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface. It may feel a little soft and sticky at this stage, but a quick coating of flour should make it easy enough to work with. Roll your dough into a long sausage shape, and lift onto your lined baking sheet. Press out the sausage of dough into a rectangular shape, around 2cm tall (mine ended up measuring around 12cmx34cmx2cm). (For smaller biscotti, you can shape 2 seperate logs out of your dough instead, and place them side by side on the baking sheet.) Brush the dough with a little soy milk to glaze, and sprinkle with some sugar for a crunchy topping, if you like.
  • Bake the log of dough in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until firm on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little, around 20 minutes.
     
  • Now it's time to cut your biscotti! With a serrated knife, carefully cut slices of around 1/2 inch width, working on a slight angle. Little bits of the crumbly biscotti might break off at this point, but don't worry! A rustic look is fine with these, and you get to eat any little broken bits anyway. Transfer the slices onto a wire baking rack on top of your baking tray - this will help them to cook evenly on each side during the second bake.
  • Turn your oven down to 150°C (300°F) and place your cut biscotti inside for their second bake. They'll take around 25 minutes, and should be lightly golden and dry on each side when done. Leave to cool.
     
  • When your biscotti are cool, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle on top using a spoon or piping bag. Sprinkle some extra dried cherries and hazelnuts over the top if you like. Leave the chocolate to set then pack in an airtight container, where they'll stay fresh for at least couple of weeks.
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