Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
I have always shied away from making biscotti, which are twice baked cookies. I guess it was that “twice baked” part that made me think they were too complicated. Well, I can tell you, they’re not! As a matter-of-fact, because I don’t need to scoop or shape them into individual cookies prior to the first bake, I find them easier! This recipe is quickly becoming a favorite. Crunchy peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate...what more could I ask for? When dunked in coffee, cacao tea or low carb hot chocolate, these cookies make the best afternoon snack or dessert.

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
Makes 15 cookies

Biscotti Ingredients:
1-2/3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup granulated erythritol (I used LaKanto Classic)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but makes a crisper cookie)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (only ingredients should be peanuts and salt)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dark Chocolate Dip Ingredients:
2-1/2 ounces sugar free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s)
1-1/2 teaspoon refined coconut oil (or unrefined, but will impart a slight coconut flavor)

1. Before you begin, make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature (this will make the dough more flexible later). Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, erythritol, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until no lumps remain. Whisk the egg and vanilla extract together and add to the dry ingredients, along with the crunchy peanut butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until a firm dough forms.

3. Turn the dough out onto the lined cookie sheet and pat or roll the dough into a long and low 4” x 10” rectangle. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 250F.

4. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 15 equal slices. (Cut straight down, do not use a sawing motion which may cause the cookies to crumble.) Place the cookies, cut side down, onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at the reduced temperature. Remove from oven and gently turn the cookies over to the opposite cut side and bake again for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cookies to remain in the oven until completely cooled. (They will crisp up as they cool.)

5. Once the cookies are cooled, make the chocolate dip by melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler over hot or gently simmering water (be sure no water gets into the chips while melting or they will seize). Another method of melting the chocolate is to heat in a microwave safe bowl at 15 second intervals, being sure not to overheat or boil, until just melted. Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth.

6. Dip each biscotti into the chocolate mixture to coat one cut side and carefully place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, chocolate side up. Allow to cool until the chocolate is set. To hasten the process, you may refrigerate the biscotti for about 15-20 minutes. The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
Nutritional Information per cookie: 124 calories, 6.7 g carbohydrate (2.6 g dietary fiber, 0.6 g sugars, 2.7 g sugar alcohols), 10.3 g total fat (1.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium, 92 mg potassium, 50 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 4.4 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.1 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2019
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea
I love hot chocolate especially in the winter but, because I’m consuming a very strict low carbohydrate diet, even “low carb” recipes that depend on unsweetened cocoa powder for their chocolate flavor are too high in carbs for me. During my last visit to Williamsburg, I discovered Cacao Tea, a favorite of Martha Washington! Roasted cacao shells are the only ingredient (some brands add cacao nibs too), it is caffeine free and when brewed like ordinary tea, the resulting light chocolate-flavored tea has zero carbs! It’s good on its own with a little sweetener and cream but, when I use it as a base and doctor it up, it turns into a delicious milk chocolate hot cocoa! A huge 2-cup (16 oz.) serving is only 2 carbs, which fits perfectly into my daily meal plan...everyday!

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea
Makes 1 generous serving

2 teaspoons of cacao tea (can be purchased online, Oliver Pluff is the brand I used)
12 ounces of hot water (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons (1 oz) Mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
5-8 drops of monkfruit extract, to taste (chocolate or regular, I used LaKanto brand)
A pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional but adds more chocolate flavor (or vanilla can be substituted)

1. Brew the cacao tea in the 12 ounces of hot water for 10 minutes.

2. Into a blender, add the remaining ingredients. Strain the cacao shells out of the tea and discard the solids. Add the tea to the blender and blend until smooth. If needed, reheat the “hot chocolate” in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove until desired temperature is reached. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information per entire recipe (1 pint): 234 calories, 2.3 g carbohydrates (0.7 g dietary fiber, 0.1 g sugars), 26.5 g total fat (17 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 76 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 44.3 mg calcium, 13 mg potassium, 2.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 1.6 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2019
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.