Gluten free not so junk food

One of my jobs as a parent is to make sure that my children do not subsist on a diet of junk foods — as many American children tend toward. It’s the same job that I do in my other life as a nutritionist. We all know what defines junk food. To keep it simple, think about all that is white — white flour, white sugar, white shortening — and artificial such as flavoring and coloring. You get the idea. On top of reducing the nation’s white food and artificial ingredient consumption, I also am known to bring down the axe on gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. That pretty much eliminates all baked goods. About now, people’s eyes begin to glaze over as they mutter under their collective  breathe about the food police. I, too, desire a fabulous carbohydrate every now and then. I’ll still take mine without gluten, however.

I have an answer. Or, rather the Italians have the answer. (Those Italians!) It’s biscotti — that wonderful hard, not too sweet cookie. The “bis” in b two, referring to baking this cookie twice. Biscotti goes well with just about any beverage including Prosecco (the Italian version of Champagne). For the children, I suggest unsweetened coconut or almond milk. Here’s a gluten-free recipe that’s sure to please. Try to use organic.

Chocolate Chunk Gluten-Free Biscotti

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup almond meal/flour*

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

1/4 cup sweet rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups (about 7 ounces) coarsely chopped dark chocolate^

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add almond meal and vanilla.
  4. Mix together all dry ingredients in separate bowl; add to butter mixture.
  5. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  6. Divide dough into four sections and form into logs. About 2 logs fit on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.
  8. Remove from oven and cut into pieces of desired size.
  9. Return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on desired crispness.

NB: The dough is quite sticky because of the xanthan gum. To deal with this (and also for nicely browned biscotti), you can store dough in refrigerator for about an hour before forming logs.

* You can use “prepared” almond meal. I like Bob’s Red Mill. Or, you can make almond meal by pulverizing slivered almonds in a food processor.

^ It’s best to use dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) or semisweet. Green & Black works well.