Big news. Did you hear? We’re supposed to be avoiding SOFAS. Quick! Get up! Go sit in a chair! The USDA wants you to find another place to put your tush.
Orrrr. Wait. Apparently “SOFAS” stands for something. Solid Fats and Added Sugars…so really, I suppose it should be SoFAS. Small o, big F.
I’m afraid what I’m about to show you has both solid fats AND added sugars in it. This is partly because I’m fed up with all these USDA acronyms and recommendations that don’t seem to be making us any healthier, so I decided to stick one to the man by baking biscotti. With chocolate in them nonetheless. The problem isn’t baked goods. Here’s the real problem: Americans – by and large – don’t eat real food. We don’t eat broccoli and oats and we sure as heck don’t drink milk. (Skim, 2%, even whole. Yes, you can drink whole milk and live to tell the tale!!) Don’t tell us to avoid SoFAS. Tell us to avoid any meal that starts with “Mc” or contains the word “Beefy” (that means you Taco Bell). Tell us to steer clear of ingredients we can’t pronounce, much less identify. Tell us what Michael Pollan does: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
What’s that? Oh. You can’t? Something something something corn and beef lobby? I see. Well then we’ll just sit here and keep dying of heart disease.
Back to the cookies. Here’s the real kicker about me baking biscotti, and how it still fits in to you and me eating real food together, perhaps on a picnic. Every ingredient, except for the peanut butter and the chocolate chips (which contain no more than a few ingredients themselves), is just that…a single ingredient. Unbleached flour = flour. Sugar? Yeah, it’s sugar. Don’t look at me like that. At least it’s just sugar. Butter? It’s butter. Used to be cream. Now it’s butter. It’s got a lot of fat in it. But you know what we learned from that time the government tried to tell us what not to eat in the 1970s? Back when they said, “Margarine, full speed ahead!”? We got addicted to trans fats, that’s what happened. We lost our saturated fats, which you actually need a few of to be healthy, and replaced them with trans fats, which you only need if you want dirty arteries.
Ok ok, jeezums. Yes I remember the Peanut Butter Snickers I mentioned yesterday. And yes, I do have a bag of potato chips in my pantry. We’re not talking perfection here. We’re talking MORE plants. MORE whole foods. Less icky things that you know, deep down, aren’t doing your insides any favors.
And after you’ve eaten your vegetables for the evening, enjoy these! Peanut butter & chocolate chip biscotti, courtesy of Joy the Baker. If we’re talking particulars here, these don’t count as traditional biscotti because of the (relatively) small amount of butter. But the butter is key! It keeps the middles of these biscotti a little tender. Your teeth will remain intact, and they will thank you for it. The peanut butter flavor is totes delicious but not overwhelming, so it won’t cause any flavor confusion when you dunk one of these bad boys in a giant mug of coffee. Slightly crunchy sugary crust on the top puts them over the top. Yum yum yum all around.
SO. Moral of the story. Let’s enjoy our baked goods, because when they’re homemade, we know exactly what went in them. Let’s skip that trip to Burger King and stir up this big bowl of goodness instead. Let’s avoid SoFAS by taking a walk outside, and most importantly, let’s eat real food.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Makes about 16-20 biscotti
4 TBS (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup peanut butter (natural is ok)
1 cup + 2 TBS granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk (save the white for the egg wash)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 TBS water
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF with racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or just grease them).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter, and 1 cup of sugar on medium speed until smooth and a little fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and the egg yolk, and beat again until combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed just until incorporated (or mix with a rubber spatula). Incorporate the chocolate chips. Warning! The dough will be dry! You’ll think it’s too dry and crumbly, but it’s not, I swear. This will work.
5. Divide the dough evenly between the two baking sheets. Press each into a log about 8 inches long and 2ish inches wide. Just make sure all the little dough bits are pressed together, but don’t go kneading it or getting too crazy. Brush the tops of the logs with the egg wash, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBS sugar.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, then switch pans from rack to rack, and continue baking for another 15 minutes until golden brown. They should be cooked through, but they’ll still give a little when you touch them on the top. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pans until you can handle them. They should still be soft though. (I let mine cool for about 15 minutes.)
7. Using a serrated knife, slice each log into biscotti about 1 inch think. Place all the biscotti, cut side down on one baking sheet, and continue to bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Biscotti will keep in an airtight container up to 10 days.
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.
A cold front is currently blowing its way down my chimney. Hope everyone is staying warm and staying busy in the kitchen! I’d love to hear what you think about the recipe, (or the other thoughts in this post) or if you have any other biscotti recipes you like. Happy baking!