If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen that I officially declared hot pink a holiday color. Why, you ask? Wellllll…because I may have accidentally dyed maple glaze that color instead of red. But it was TOTALLY intentional, obviously. Yeah…
A while back, Hodgson Mill contacted me to see if I would be interested in creating an original holiday recipe, that was healthy. I agreed, but soon realized I had no clue what to make. Original, healthy, AND holiday-themed. Not that easy, really.
Since I’m not a huge baker, I find coming up with original baked goods slightly challenging. That said, I feel comfortable creating quickbreads/muffins and biscotti, since I’ve done both a fair amount of times. I figured gingerbread would be the go-to for other participants, so I wanted to make something else, when I finally thought about chestnuts. I LOVE roasted chestnuts. A lot. As a kid, I would sit in a barstool at the kitchen counter, while my grandma roasted chestnuts in the toaster oven. I’d eat them piping hot, and loved them.
I added pure maple syrup to these in place of some of the sugar, and of course I used the whole wheat flour Hodgson Mill sent to me to make these even healthier. These come in at about 105 calories a pop, and under 1 gram of fat. I’d call that a success!
Like I do with many things, I waited till the last week of the deadline to make these, so I had to cross all appendages that they would be tasty and that the recipe would work, because I didn’t have time to remake it. Thankfully, they are and it did! The chestnuts, maple, and spices made these very holiday-friendly and tasty, to boot. One thing I thought, though, was that they looked pretty boring and just…brown. That’s when I decided a maple glaze would not only bring out the maple flavor a little more, but would also provide a vehicle for some color. Well. I definitely brought some color, wouldn’t you say?
In housekeeping news, the winner of the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch baking set is commenter #70, Elise, who said “My favorite thing to bake around the Holidays is anything new, I love trying new recipes! Or anything with chocolate! Chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies are great.” Congrats, Elise!
[Disclaimer: Hodgson Mill provided me with the whole wheat flour to make this recipe. All views expressed in this post are my own.]
Makes 20 biscotti
Total Time: 1.5 hours
Total Baking Time: 55 minutes
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
0.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped, roasted chestnuts (see notes blow)
1/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1-2 drops food coloring (optional)
a few splashes of milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
In another bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the sugar and the eggs until well incorporated, and then beat in the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla until thick, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated (I always like to do the last part with a rubber spatula so as not to overmix). The dough will be sticky, but if it’s overly sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour. Fold in the chestnuts.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for about a minute. Shape the mixture into a loaf, and then pat it down a bit until it’s about 1″ high. Transfer the log to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, slightly puffed, and firm, rotating the pan once halfway through. Remove the loaf from the sheet and allow to cool for 5-15 minutes before continuing.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Transfer the loaf to a cutting board and cut 1/2″ diagonal slices, to make 20 biscotti. Place the pieces onto a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes; flip each piece over and then bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Cool the biscotti completely.
To make the maple glaze, stir together the confectioners sugar and maple syrup (and food coloring, if using), and add just a splash or two of milk, until it’s a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle the cooled biscotti with the maple glaze.
Roasting chestnuts: For this recipe, you can certainly buy chestnuts that are already roasted (or even boiled) and jarred. However, I prefer to roast them myself. The amount of chestnuts required for this recipe is about 10 oz. There is a good chance you will roast some chestnuts and only after opening them realizing they are bad, so you will want to start with more like 12-14 oz. of chestnuts. That said, since these are just an add-in, the 1 cup is not a live and die rule. To roast the chestnuts, preheat your oven to 425°F. When the chestnuts are on their flat side, slice an X in the top corner of each one with a paring or utility knife. Place on a baking sheet and roast about 20-30 minutes, until shells have opened and chestnuts are tender. Be sure not to overbake them, or they will become rock hard. While the chestnuts are still hot, peel the shells.