I do not think you can ever have too many cookies for the holidays. Adding a variety to your cookie platter is one of the best things you can do. When I was little, I used to help my mom bake at least 5 different cookies each year just in time for the holidays. Anything from the classic Italian pizzelles to a chocolate chip recipe from my Aunt. The one type of cookie that was usually missing from our platter were biscotti. Biscotti, which literally means "cookies" in Italian, are a long shaped cookie that is made to be dry and crunchy--perfect treat with a warm beverage. If you aren't a fan of the hard texture a simple dunk will soften and release more flavours in each bite. These cookies are baked two separate times to give it that crunchy taste without feeling over baked. The word "biscotti" originates from the Latin word biscoctus, meaning "twice-cooked/baked."
For this recipe, I really wanted to have a french vanilla flavour that would compliment any black tea. You will notice that I used Vega One French Vanilla planted-based protein powder which was a great option for a flavour boost and made it a guilt free treat. Also, with the protein powder, the biscotti turned out to be a lovely green colour which is perfect for Christmas! The new Vega One will be available the beginning of next year and trust me--it is worth the short wait. It is similar to the current Vega One as it is still gluten free and no added sugar but it has been improved for the better. It now has 33% more protein, 2x more greens and still made from real whole food ingredients. Their all-in-one nutritional shake packets are perfect for on the go shakes and smoothie, however, I am finding that I love using them as an easy health add in for delicious recipes like this biscotti one. Plus, the french vanilla one smells incredible!
If you are not wanting to use Vega or any protein powder for that matter, you can simply substitute it in the recipe by using 3 cups of flour instead of 2 1/2 cups and add a bit more pure vanilla extract to your liking as the french vanilla taste won't be as evident without Vega One. One other difference is that your biscotti will not be green like you'll notice from my photos as that was due to the protein powder.
French Vanilla Biscotti (or Biscottea)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon slivered almonds
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 small egg
1 cup brewed black tea, room temperature (I used this organic one from Teatulia)
2 tablespoons pure honey
1. Stir together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. To prepare the black tea, steep 2-3 teaspoons of the tea leaves in one cup of water for 5 minutes. In order to make the tea powerful in this biscotti recipe, you use more tea leaves, not a longer steep time as that can create a bitter taste.
3. After the tea has steeped to the desired strength, strain the leaves, add in the honey and begin to mix it well allowing it to dissolve evenly into the tea.
4. Leaving the tea and honey mixture for last, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients' bowl.
5. Once all is combined, you will want to have the mixture in a dough consistency and set aside in the refrigerator in a ball to chill covered for 30 minutes. If you're finding that the dough is too wet, simply add more flour slowly. If the dough is too dry, add more of your black tea until the desired consistency is reached.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit making sure the rack is in the middle.
7. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and cut it in halve. With the halves, form two 16 by 2 inch loaves on a greased baking sheet.
8. Bake until slightly golden, approximately 25 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow the 2 loaves to cool for 15 minutes.
10. Place your cooled loaves on a cutting board and begin to cut 3/4 inch slices. For a true biscotti shape, cut with your knife on an angle. Depending on the width, this recipe can make about 2 dozen biscotti.
11. Once sliced, lay your pieces back on the baking sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
12. Allow them to cool, enjoy the smell of your kitchen, and don't be afraid to dunk them in your tea to enjoy!