Honey Roasted Sunflower Seed Biscotti with Orange Cranberries

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While I was watching a recent episode of The Cupcake Wars, ironically peddling away on the elliptical nonetheless, while one of the bakers was frantically wondering why her cupcakes weren’t rising in the oven. You’ve seen it before. You could have heard the ding, as the light went off in her head when she realized in all the pandemonium and confusion she forgot to add the baking powder. She starts preparing another batch, all the while bemoaning the fact that one ingredient, baking powder, may have just cost her $10,000. Boy I am glad I don’t bake under pressure like that. (She wins by the way.)

While I’m no Alton Brown, we do talk in the kitchen about why we add this ingredient or that when we bake. Just the other day, our daughter asked, “what would happen if we left out the baking powder?” We talked about the fact that the biscotti wouldn’t rise and the little air holes that we see in the biscotti after we slice them wouldn’t be there. The biscotti would be more dense. I promised her an experiment and that we’d make our next batch without it. Afterall, as Emerson once said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” We couldn’t agree more. And that is exactly what we did with these Honey Roasted Sunflower Seed Biscotti with Orange Cranberries.

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You can see the difference in size and density without the baking powder.

 

We may have left the bowl of Halloween candy on the table a little too long. So yesterday we finally tucked all the sweet treats away to be slowly doled out throughout the year. We need something a little healthier around here to snack on. So with plenty of homemade honey and cinnamon roasted sunflower seeds to satisfy our sweet tooth (the recipe is below), we decided to incorporate these tasty treasures into a biscotti. We used some barley flour to keep the biscotti from getting too crunchy, made three logs to keep them small for little hands, and of course left out the baking powder. I think we are finally coming down from the sugar rush.

 

Honey Roasted Sunflower Seed Biscotti with Orange Cranberries

YIELD: approximately two dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup barley flour

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons wheat germ

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed

2 tablespoons chai seeds (black or white)

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs and 2 egg whites

1 teaspoon orange extract

zest of one orange

¼ cup agave

½ cup orange flavored dried cranberries

1 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds (recipe below)

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, wheat germ, flaxseed, chai seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, orange extract, orange zest, and agave.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the cranberries and sunflower seeds. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough into thirds.  Form three logs, approximately 2 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread slightly as it bakes.

7. Drizzle the top of each log with agave and sprinkle with brown sugar. Use your fingers to rub the mixture over the top and sides of each log.

8.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

9.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Honey Roasted Sunflower Seeds

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¼ cup honey

½ tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups shelled raw sunflower seeds

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1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Heat the honey agave, oil, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat for about 1 minute.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sunflower seeds until the seeds are completely coated.

4. Spread the sunflower seeds in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. The seeds will harden like a brittle.

7. Break off chucks to snack on. Store in an airtight container.

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What to do with the ends #46: Use the ends as mustaches in your next family photo.

 

Mango and Almond Biscotti with Chai Seeds

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Mangoes are like books. You don’t really know how good they are until you open them.

At the bookstore, you pick a book off the shelf if you are intrigued by the cover or title. You check out the photos, read a page or two, and flip through it. You take it to the register and hope it’s a good read.

At the grocery store, you pick a mango off the shelf if you think it looks ripe or flavorful. You turn it over in your hands, squeeze it, and smell it. You take it to the register and hope it’s a juicy treat.

But it’s not until you crack open that new book or cut into that mango that you realize whether you made a mistake or picked the right one. With dried mangoes, there is no guesswork and you are a winner every time.

Our son loves dried mangoes. He would eat them until he made himself sick if we let him. More times than not, when the two of us go to the store we end up with dried mangoes in the cart and he’s eating them before we are out the door. So one very rainy afternoon, we decided to experiment and create an energizer biscotti, which included not only mango, but almonds, chai seeds, flaxseed, and wheat germ. Good for you and delicious!

 

Mango and Almond Biscotti with Chai Seeds

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ cup almond meal

½ cup cornmeal

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chai seeds

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons wheat germ

3 eggs

¼ cup agave nectar, plus more for drizzling on top

2 teaspoons mango flavored oil

1 cup chopped dried mango

½ cup whole almonds

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, chai seeds, flaxseed, and wheat germ.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, and mango flavored oil.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.

5.  Add the mango and almonds and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough in half.  Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.

7. Drizzle the tops with agave and spread to coat with your fingers.

8.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split.  Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

9.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends #38: Cover the ends with peanut butter, roll in bird seed, and hang in a tree. Instant bird feeder!

 

Whole Wheat Goji Berry, Walnut, and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

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Kindergarten starts in only 30 days!  My daughter is excited.  I am excited because she is excited.  Just a few months ago we were attending her preschool graduation.  All the parents were talking about how quickly their kids are growing up, how much they are going to miss having them at home, and how in a few short months they are starting kindergarten.  Maybe I’m a bad mom, but I was standing on the sidelines having a panic attack because I’d been racking my brain thinking about what I was going to do with my two kids all summer.  Kindergarten was the furthest thing from my mind.  But now, it is right around the corner.

I am a person who likes to be prepared.  Some may say I take it to the extreme, but I would disagree.  The other day I pulled out the school supply list provided by our public school system, which was somewhat lengthy and very specific.  Pencil boxes need to be a particular size, folders need to be laminated and without brads (I don’t even know what or who that is), and pencils need to be yellow.  My daughter is convinced she can take her favorite owl pencils to school.  We will have to deal with that situation when it arises.  As much as I loved to buy new school supplies as a kid, I was geeky like that, I don’t remember ever being required to do so.  But we are ready and checked school supplies off the list.

Then we were having lunch the today and it hit me.  I will need to pack her lunch.  Now granted I have some experience packing lunches… my lunch, my husband’s lunch.  When I used to pack his lunch, before he told me that he didn’t like the way I did it. I would write secret messages in mustard on his sandwich.  I’m still a little bitter about that.  But packing lunches for a kid is different.

We talked today about what she might like to take in her lunch and biscotti made the list.  Yeah!  In fact, biscotti are great lunchbox treats, especially when made with nutrient rich foods.  So, today we made one of our favorite energizer biscotti.  Our biscotti, because we use no butter or oil, are already a very healthy treat.  So describing them as healthy seems redundant. Energizers can be packed with whole wheat flour, flaxseed, oat bran, walnuts, cocoa nibs, chai seeds, and a variety of foods that nourish the body and mind.  I’m not sure how we came up with the word energizers, but it stuck.  And I am warning you, they are very addictive!

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Whole Wheat Goji Berry, Walnut, and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

YIELD: approximately two dozen

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons ground flaxseed

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup agave nectar

4 tablespoons cocoa nibs

3 tablespoons goji berries

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

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1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

2.  In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, cornmeal, light brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and flaxseed.

3.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract, and agave nectar.

4.  With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is slightly tacky.

5.  Add the cocoa nibs, goji berries, and walnuts and knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 to 20 times.

6.  Separate the dough in half.  Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.  Firmly press the top of each log with light brown sugar.

7.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

8.  Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board.  Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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What to do with the ends #3: Eat them of course!