2011-04-20

Gluten-Free Anise Biscotti

Gluten free anise biscotti with no sugar
Sugar-free vegan biscotti infused with anise. Start dunking.

Sugar is taking a beating these days. Have you noticed? Studies left and right are accusing this sweet-talking Romeo of seducing us to a life of ruin and heartache. They've applied the words toxic, and poison. Is it really as bad they say? I'm not certain (and I'm not convinced they are, either; my sugar loving grandmother lived to the ripe old age of 93). But this I do know. Super refined corn sugar (aka HFCS) scares me. Not only because it cajoles our livers to convert the fructose to belly fat, but because it doesn't agree with me. Period.

I knew this the first time I drank a margarita that made me balloon and bloat like a pregnant Demi Moore (and while I concur that Demi was superbly gorgeous in all her fecund glory, in all honesty, I do not desire to emulate such a look- or frankly, such a fertile state- at my tender age of post- let's say- fifty). So I took a gander at the label of margarita mix to be sure it was gluten-free. It was. But the second ingredient? High fructose corn syrup.


They had changed the sweetener. From cane sugar to HFCS. 

A quick glance at most bottled beverages, juice blends and cocktail mixes these days reveals the same trend. It's tough to find one without HFCS. So I did what any sensible goddess would do. I gave up margaritas (unless fresh squeezed limes were involved), and I shunned anything sporting the evil HFCS on its label.

But sugar?

Obviously not. I bake with organic cane sugar all the time. Why? Gluten-free baked goods benefit from sugar. It improves not only the taste of gluten-free flours, it improves texture. It adds structure to vegan g-free baked goods that cannot rely on eggs for volume and rise. It keeps gluten-free cakes from getting gummy and vegan cookies from getting cakey. And powdered sugar makes one killer of a frosting.

And here's one more gnarly aspect to chew on.

Alternative sweeteners like agave syrup and honey are high in fructose. And you know what fructose does to many of us, right? Yup. It invites the dreaded Demi bloat to the party. Not to mention, the dreaded sugar-to-belly-fat conversion by our poor besieged liver. So while some tout agave and fructose as a way to slow down the postprandial blood sugar rush (fructose does not impact blood sugar levels because no insulin is required to metabolize it; it is transported directly to the liver, and converted to fat), I'm not a big fan. And my waist line is even less of a fan.

But here I am. Developing and blogging gluten-free recipes for the sweets you crave. So what do I do? Most of you have no problem with me using organic cane sugar (roughly half glucose, half fructose). But many of you ask me for sugar substitutes. Quite a few of you love agave nectar. Some of you are experimenting with coconut-palm sugar (higher in fructose than cane sugar).

In the end- cane sugar- fructose- palm sugar- agave- honey- it's all sugar. One way or another. Sugar that converts to fat and calories.

So here's what I think.

I'm less afraid of organic sugar cane than I am of high fructose (because of the way my body reacts). I will probably continue to bake with it. And eat a sweet treat now and then (I don't eat a lot of sugary treats, truth be told, but when I want a sweet, I'm not going to beat myself up about it). But I'm also willing to try some sugar-free baking. And low sugar baking.

These anise biscotti- this week's baking experiment-  are a low sugar treat, a cookie for grown-ups sweetened only with a small amount of pure maple syrup (vegan and fructose-free). They're quite tasty. With a pleasing crunch that won't break a tooth. And they don't crumble. They're dunkable.

But they're not very sweet.

So you tell me- should I experiment more with less sweet treats? Or are you willing to bake with organic cane sugar and eat sweets in moderation?




Vegan and gluten free biscotti
Biscotti- Italian style cookies. For grown-ups.

Gluten-Free Anise Biscotti Recipe

These gluten-free biscotti are lovely and simple. They aren't rock hard. They don't crumble. And they stand up to dunking. Yay.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour or brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour or hazelnut flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 1/2 teaspoons anise seed
6 oz. plain or vanilla soy yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add in the soy yogurt, maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract. Beat until combined and the dough is moist and smooth. It should feel quite sturdy.

Scoop and dump the dough onto the lined baking sheet. Using your hands, shape and smooth the dough into a long narrow loaf. Using the curve of your hands, press it down to flatten it into a gently curved shape that tapers down on both sides of the loaf. The loaf should be no more than two inches high in the center. As you press and shape it, squeeze it a bit to keep the dough from cracking.

Using a large sharp knife, carefully but firmly slice across the dough horizontally to make 20 cookies.

Bake the sliced loaf in the center of a preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the pan from the oven. Carefully separate the slices, and lay each slice on its side, leaving a bit of room between each one. Return the pan to the oven and bake the slices for 8 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven again and turn the slices over. They should appear slightly golden at this point. Bake for another 8 minutes until slightly golden.

Cool the biscotti on a wire rack. They will crisp as they cool.

After day one, I recommend storing the biscotti in the freezer. This preserves the texture and keeps them from getting stale. I wrapped the biscotti in pairs, bagged and froze them in a freezer bag.


Cook time: 31 min

Yield: 20 biscotti

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you. 



Vegan and gluten free anise biscotti
Gluten-free biscotti perfect for dunking.

Recipe Notes:

This biscotti recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free. To make it nut-free, replace the almond flour with certified gluten-free oat flour, or millet flour.

To replace any of the other flours, please see my post Baking Substitution Help.

These biscotti are not sweet. If you prefer a sweeter cookie, you can add 1/2 cup organic cane sugar to the recipe. You'll also have to add a tablespoon or two of liquid, most likely, to compensate for the added dry ingredient. I would use a non-dairy milk.

For those of you avoiding soy, there are other yogurt alternatives. Try coconut milk yogurt, rice milk yogurt, or Mimicreme, a cashew and almond based thick cream.

If you prefer to make these biscotti with moo-cow yogurt, feel free.

This recipe contains no eggs and no egg replacer. If you want to experiment with eggs, you'll need to adjust the liquids, I suspect. Cut back by half on the yogurt, add two beaten eggs, and see if you need additional liquid. Add only as much yogurt as you'll need to make a smooth sturdy cookie dough.

Make sure the anise seed you are using is fresh and aromatic. If the jar has been skulking in the back of your cupboard for a year, you may want to replace it with a fresh jar. The quality of your ingredients impacts taste.
If you don't care for the licorice-like taste of anise, substitute it with orange or lemon zest.
For more about baking with sugar alternatives, see my post Sugar Blues.

Karina

66 comments:

  1. Tishtosh14:17

    These look wonderful! I have been craving biscochitos but have not looked for a GF version and this will fit the bill. In our house we are on the fence about sugar. My daughter is a type 1 diabetic and none of us really need a lot of sugar but an occasional treat makes life fun. I may sprinkle the top of the biscotti loaf with turbinado for the sparkle. We all need a little sparkle.

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  2. I have a sweet tooth... less now, than in pre-celiac days, but it's still there! We have difficulty getting alternative sweeteners here in New Zealand, so I still use sugar when I need to. Being gluten-free is difficult enough without being anxious about sugar too. Keep baking with sugar please, and keep experimenting too. I'm just starting to bake again, something I used to love doing before I was diagnosed. I'm going to make a sticky date pudding this weekend, using your flour blend - wish me luck? xxx

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  3. Delurking: Go Sugar. It's easy to use, you get consistent results, doesn't cost an arm and a leg (Hello agave...) and it doesn't seem to bother my system.

    Like everything else in life; one, your mileage may vary. Two, everything in moderation.

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  4. Anonymous16:02

    I would like more sugar free recipes please.
    I am in New Zealand and can get maple syprup, agave, xylitol, stevia and probably more sweeteners so keep looking Janet.
    These look lovely and I am looking forward to having biscotti again.

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  5. I, too, agree that organic cane sugar is better than the alternatives and often needed for baking success. I do use stevia for sweetening some things but have never tried baking with it.

    But I am surprised to see large of amounts of xanthan gum in your baking; we avoid it entirely as this artificial substance bothers EVERYONE in our family, even the gluten-fullers. It is not recommended to be eaten by pregnant and lactating women, which makes it sound unsafe in any case.

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  6. I would love it if you could teach us how to enjoy some slightly less sweet things. Most of us could stand to have our tastebuds a bit sensitized to sugar. I'm definitely going to make these biscotti, and soon.

    In my kitchen, I've been trying to stick to mostly coconut palm sugar - I've done about 3 months of it now. The other day I was SHOCKED to buy a gluten free cookie out and find it way too sweet for me. I threw a cookie away. My world shifted on its axis! My mother would be shocked! It's like I could almost feel the sugar headache coming on. There must be something to learning to adapt.

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  7. What a wonderful, timely post. My son has a corn allergy, so we learned the hard way about how ubiquitous that is in the food supply. It masquerades in SO many different forms and I feel so frustrated when I try to keep up with the hundreds of different names! We are also dealing with wheat, soy, tomato, strawberry, citrus, peanut and walnut allergies. Sometimes I feel like we have to avoid so many different foods that we deserve a treat now and then...so, I definitely bake with cane sugar and many other forms of sugar. I guess it's back to that word I've been hearing since I was a child...moderation. At least for this family. I do appreciate you pushing the envelope a bit and trying to make tasty treats that have less sugar. I look forward to trying these biscotti and following the journey.

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  8. I dunno, Karina - I'm on about the same sugar-page as you are now it sounds like. I'm not afraid of a little sugar now and then, but HFCS is totally out as far as I'm concerned. And I try to avoid copious amounts of refined anything (even people, if they're overly so!) Agave is nice for a drizzle now and then, especially into teas or smoothies since it dissolves so easily. But for baking - I usually stick to small amounts of organic or raw sugar, maple syrup or occasionally honey. I like the mix of ingredients you use in your recipes, and I especially value your unpretentious/antisanctimonious attitude. ♥ u.

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  9. Everything in moderation is my motto. I avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, white sugar, meat and any overly processed things. I alternate agave nectar, cane sugar, demerara and maple syrup when I bake, which is rarely, so that I don't have too much of one thing. I love your posts and recipes. I don't want to be afraid of my own shadow, so please, continue to bake with sugars, just please remind us to eat and bake in moderation :)

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  10. These look delicious! And I'm on the fence about the sugar thing, too. I do believe there are some bad things about, but since I also use organic cane sugar for most of my sweet things, I'm not as concerned. I grew up munching on sugar cane fresh from the field - and the sugar I buy has a very similar taste and color. It can't be too bad. :)

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  11. Your recipes are delicious and have saved me from a bland and uninteresting gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free diet. Like everyone else, I want to be healthy, but occasional indulgences are healthy in my book!They're good for the soul. A delicious slice of cake and a cup of tea can produce pleasure and relaxation. Nothing wrong with that. So bring on the sugar. I, for one, don't want to live life without a taste of sweetness now and again.

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  12. I realise that when you say sugar, you're referring to the 'white stuff'... that my mom sprinkled to kill flies (or make them drunk. I was never quite sure why they fell) back in the day.

    Here, in Jamaica, most folk bake with brown cane sugar (it's dark and has a more prominent flavour), but we - by and large - don't do a lot of the more 'delicate' things that you would do. White (granulated or powdered) sugar is super refined so it's a 'special occasion' sort of thing. :-)

    So I would say: Sugar... in moderation. Fructose... Personally, I like mine packaged with fiber, vitamins and minerals... as in fruit. ;-)

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  13. Rabah18:40

    Moderation and balance. As a microbiologist, I've reviewed much of the literature on this topic. Filtered through the prism of common sense, all of the "conflicting" information tends to point toward the same conclusion: sugar, like Vitamin A and most other biologically active and necessary vitamins, minerals, and compounds, is dangerous at some copious level. Maintain a level head. Don't forget that, in a sanctimonious frenzy, many a health nut (and his child) has been victim to fallout of vaccine scare, hygiene hypothesis, etc.
    So, yes to more recipes with less sugar (but no "natural" replacements such as stevia, xylitol, etc. ).... And also yes to more conventional goodies, as well! And ration yourselves when called for!

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  14. Rabah19:02

    Peggy- why do you comsder xantham gum to be "unnatural?" (I am not necessarily disagreeing but curious what natural means to you.) Have you considered using flax seed or other replacements? It should work for most any of Karina's recipes that I've read and/ or tried.

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  15. I love biscotti and havent made it in forever definitely need to !

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  16. I'm so happy to have found your blog! I'm a very recent gluten-free convert (only 3 days). I already am noticing a major difference in how I feel and how my body is behaving!

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    Kelli
    www.theunexpectededucation.com

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  17. Thanks so much for all of your recipes, Karina. I have been missing biscotti like crazy. Can't wait to try these this weekend.

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  18. I haven't given up sugar completely but I don't eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. I also don't eat anything with artificial sweeteners. I find that by limiting my sugar intake I crave it less, which helps control my intake of sweets and helps control my waistline.

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  19. Anonymous21:51

    Hmmm, interesting posts. I find many of the gf things I buy are way too sweet, so I have to make from scratch (even if I didn't have all my other food sensitivities). All of the nondairy yogurts are sickeningly sweet - wish I could find something with the tang of dairy yogurt. Continue to experiment with less sweetener for some of your recipes, and use organic when it needs sugar. I find xylitol leaves an unpleasant tingly sensation in my mouth.

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  20. Anonymous22:46

    i would love if you posted more sugar free or low sugar foods! i'm fructose intolerant so i'm always looking for new recipes to try out that are sugar free.

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  21. Sugar. The great debate. I wonder, if people had no emotional or physiological addiction to sugar if they could accept the information scientific research is giving us?... I distinctly remember this same senario with smoking in the 1960's. Of course, we still have cigarettes to buy and consume in mass quantities. But many people wised up and stopped smoking--then, we started an entire society of ANTI-smoking and lo and behold--smoking related diseases are DOWN. We have the power inside ourselves to do this with other harmful foods--sugar being one of them.
    Learn with an open mind and be well.

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  22. Kirsten01:40

    Very interesting topic for me. I am on a low FODMAP diet and am a fructose malabsorber. I try to limit sucrose as well since it converts to 50% glucose and 50% fructose in the body but still use it sparingly. I also love to occasionally substitue coconut sugar for cane sugar and am in the habit of automatically halving the amount of sugar in a recipe. It's amazing how my taste has changed - I really notice sweetness now and crave sweet things far less. I tend to also use dextrose instead of cane sugar in cakes and rice malt syrup as a substitute for honey/agave/maple.

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  23. Pre-diagnosis, I wittered on about how I thought sugar would be the next tobacco.... I never DREAMED gluten would be my nemesis. I'm now so freaked about what to eat... how to eat... Sugar may not be good for us if we eat too much... but it seems to me that NOTHING is good if we have too much. I try to eat the least refined sugar I can find... I will try not to eat to much... of anything. I will try not to wish I was one of the skinny celiacs (in a world that celebrates skinny) Sometimes this all seems too hard. But the alternative is terrible reflux, TERRIBLE REFLUX... bloating, diarrhea, depression and misery. Sorry, too much negative today. Keep doing what you are doing Karina. I so much appreciate it. You have no idea how much we newish coeliacs need you and your experience and your encouragement and enthusiasm. Thank you xxx

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  24. Anonymous07:18

    Hi Katarina,

    Thank you for all your great recipes!!! I definitely like the less sugar idea. If less works, than why not, knowing it is healthier, while you can still enjoy baked goods. I just have an issue with coconut anything, particualrly with high cholesterol, I cannot bring myself to ingest any saturated fat in that amount. What can be substituted??? So many GF recipes include coconut flour and oil. Thanks, Kim

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  25. first I LOVE! your blog. I think you should continue to do both. I really like maple syrup for sweetening, but am concerned with the blood suger spikes. isn't it the same with honey? I've read that RAW agave is healthier than regular agave. are you telling me this is not the case? I also like stevia in somethings,but not good tasting in all. I use sucanat and agave and organic cane sugar in my baking. manly the sucanat. We try to eat healthier. it is difficult sometimes. my son has a serious sweet tooth! I am on a QUEST to find a replacment for the soda he wants to consume daily. it's a hard nut to crack. he does not like plain water. I've tried many things in this quest, all were turned down it is frustrating at times! I know it's the HFCS,a hard thing to compete with. In Addiction terms. any help would be appreciated. Thanks for all that you do. It is greatly appreciated.

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  26. I have the same problem with the sugar/agave debate too. I believe sugar is o.k. (especially organic, cane sugar) if eaten in moderation. Sometimes I cook with agave but I'm not sure if it's better for you. I've heard Stevia is the healthiest kind of sweetener (not sure if it's true) but I'm afraid to try it and don't really know how to use it in recipes.

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  27. I am all over the place when it comes to sugar. I am new at being gluten-free and am finding for myself, I like to use sugar and maple syrup. But DH is diabetic so I have been experimenting with agave. Thanks for the info on frutose and bloating, I have been having issues and think corn syrup might be the culpret.

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  28. Anonymous10:32

    i like to freeze (or refrigerate) the dough & use it as needed, kind of like making toast, but sweeter.

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  29. anise biscotti is my favorite kind of biscotti to make...biscotti was actually what got me into cooking and baking...the gateway food!

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  30. Hi Karina -

    More low-sugar/no-sugar recipes please. I find that I need to cut the sugar in all your recipes down by AT LEAST 50%, often more, in order to eat them - otherwise, they are just too sweet for me (and for my husband). I've been eating a natural foods diet for over 35 years; and you get to want less and less sugar when you eat that way.

    Thanks for asking our opinions!

    Best regards,
    Pat Meadows

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  31. I agree with Pat about the sugar- I usually cut 50-75%. The problem is not taste, though; it's that gluten free baking really does rely heavily on sugar for structure.... and it's for slightly different reasons depending on the recipe. The trick is finding a proper replacement(s) that will lend that structure in the context of any given recipe. It's almost an insurmountable challenge in some cases.

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  32. Kathy15:29

    I've never posted a comment here before, but there seems to be a misconception about sugar, honey, and HFCS that I feel needs to be corrected. Chemically, they are ALL approximately half glucose and half fructose. So while there are differences that have some choosing one and some choosing another, the amount of fructose they contain isn't an issue. OTOH, my understanding is that agave can be almost pure fructose.

    Personally, I think most people wear blinders where sugar is concerned because it's very difficult to give up, so we fool ourselves with words like "moderation." But the science is there. This video is long but informative re: fructose: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&sns=fb. And remember, table sugar, even organic evaporated cane juice, IS half fructose.

    I'm mostly sugar free, meaning I still occasionally cheat. However, generally speaking, I'm learning to convert the occasional recipe to my favorite non-sugar sweeteners on my own rather than relying on recipe writers to do it for me. There are simply too many options out there.

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  33. Hi Karina,

    I'm happy to use sugar and try and be sensible about consumption. It's not like I bake sweet things every week. I don't take sugar in my coffee, so a biscotti or cookie or whatever after dinner is a nice way to round off my day :)
    xxx

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  34. Anonymous16:39

    I have found combining xylitol and stevia work well in baking.

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  35. Rabah17:02

    To be fair, that You Tube video (and any other non literature source) is one person's selection and interpretation of scientific information. To go straight to the source would mean actually doing an extensive literature review. I, as a molecular biologist/ microbiologist, am soundly convinced that we eat way too much sugar (in all forms) and that this amount is "toxic." However, we still await studies which properly address the question of dose. The moderation idea does not stem from denial but rather common sense.... and some literature (which needs to be elaborated and replicated) supports the idea of moderation. Now, if moderation to you means one sweet treat per day (and you are not cognizant of what other "added" sugars you consume), then perhaps you should reassess (according to common sense).

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  36. Thank you ALL for joining in this passionate discussion about sugar and fructose, and gluten-free baking. I've added a tweak here and there to the post to clarify some of the confusion regarding table sugar and its components (glucose and fructose).

    To be clear- due to IBS symptoms, I avoid high fructose and fructan fruits and vegetables as well as higher fructose sweeteners. I have to. The fructose in onions and apples, for instance, can make me miserable. (As a double whammy- did you know wheat not only contains gluten, it is high in fructans?). I also have to stay clear of sorbitol, and lactose (milk sugar).

    Thanks, again- everyone!

    xox Karina

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  37. Anonymous17:26

    Karina,
    Keep baking! Thanks for all the sugar explanation. I love your blog and your recipes are tried and true. I trust you the most out of any other cook book or blogger I've come across - and the list is long.

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  38. Rabah, Thank you for your perspective. I agree with your comment on moderation. I imagine we all differ a little bit, based on our family of origin, how we brought up to interact with food, what habits we have developed, how much processed food we eat. It's a good idea to examine all of this- to investigate the foods we buy, eat out, and cook at home (I was shocked recently by reading a Thai recipe that was similar to a coconut curry dish I eat at a local restaurant; the recipe called for half a can of full fat coconut milk per serving! More fat than I eat in a day- in one bowl!).

    Small daily changes add up fast. If we start small, and fine tune our bodies, and our food choices, we can see a real difference in a year.

    I am most interested in the insulin aspect- as I have always been a low blood sugar person- if I eat too much sugar, I crash (low blood sugar). Can you speak about insulin at all? According to the New York Times article on sugar, insulin promotes cancer growth (feeds tumors).

    Thanks, again!

    xox Karina

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  39. I've been wanting to make the mandelbrot of my youth (the Jewish version of biscotti) and now here's a recipe. I'll definitely make them according to your recipe, but then I'll tweak them and remove the anise flavor. I always loved biscotti/mandelbrot because they weren't so very sweet. When presented w/ a recipe that is on the sweet side, I just eat less. So experiment in any way you wish...I'll adjust to YOU. Many thanks.

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  40. I love the no cane sugar recipes because my daughter has a bad reaction to all cane sugar. She can have honey, maple syrup and agave. Since she also has to be gluten free - it is nice to have a recipe I can make for her that is a treat-as this cookie will be! Thanks for thinking of this - and any additional no cane sugar recipes will be appreciated!

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  41. Anonymous19:17

    There is a product out there called "Just Like Sugar" which boasts all natural. I have tried baking with it but need to do more experimenting as it seems to "suck" the liquid out of the batter. As for adding it to drinks it tastes the closest to sugar in my opinion. Also I love ALL your recipes and am glad I found your site. You have given my baking the texture it needed. Most people don't even realize they are eating gf. Thanks.

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  42. Rabah22:31

    The cancer-insulin connection:
    I'm no oncologist (indeed, just a student), but there is a relatively clear connection between insulin resistance and cancer. Many tumors hijack insulin signaling (just as they hijack other normal & vital physiological processes, e.g. angiogenesis); this is not surprising and in that respect not alarming. This would be the insulin feeding tumors that you refer to I think.

    However, it also appears that, when run amok, insulin signaling promotes oncogenic processes. So, if insulin levels have run amok (if you reach the stage of insulin resistance or further), this could promote oncogenic processes. In other words, if you are in danger of insulin resistance, you may have an increased risk of cancer per se.

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  43. Rabah22:36

    The crux of the issue is what causes insulin resistance? Specific genes, excess weight, and lack of physical activity have all been clearly linked to the development of insulin resistance. Despite inconclusive (dearth of studies) evidence, I assume, for safety's sake, that excessive sugar intake is the missing link and that it contributes to insulin resistance.

    Fair enough. Where holes in science exist, I insert my common sense (or, in this case, instinct). But.... what is "excessive" sugar? (Specifically what range of chronic consumption would be associated with increased risk of insulin resistance-- if studies were properly designed to demonstrate this link?) Again, no evidence. I cannot say, "One raspberry latte per day is OK," just like I can't say," All added sugar is poison."


    We have to make inferences again. I'm now twice removed from the scientific process, and all of this will sound very familiar. Epidemiological studies indicate that diabetes (along with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome) is a 21st century epidemic, and it's reasonable to speculate (and widely speculated indeed) that the modern invention of overly processed foods and super refined sugars- which promote copious consumption- are largely to blame. If anecdotal evidence from my grandparents is any indication, the levels of sugar that generation consumed as children are nowhere near today's consumption. My Bedstemor and Bedstefar ate apples, dates, figs, strawberries, cream, ice cream, honey, molasses, cane sugar..... but sugar was a delicacy overtly savored, not covertly packed into potato chips and yogurt.

    This is why I say "moderation." It all circles back to what you already know ;-)

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  44. Rabah22:40

    And, for my two cents, in light of the recent HFCS debate and the ensuing idea that fructose (a completely natural substance that has existed in our food supply for thousands of years) might have an aberrant effect in exorbitant amounts..... why do we revert to "natural" substances which we are arguably less fit to consume, such as stevia and sugar alcohols and think that these will be safer? HFCS doesn't agree with my system, and neither do sugar alcohols and stevia.

    (OK. Now I'm done dominating your feed!)

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  45. Karina,
    While I use no cane sugar, I do use agave, maple syrup, honey, and rice syrup. I haven't found that any of these bother e, but it can be quite tricky to get a decent sweet with no wheat AND no cane sugar. Thanks for the recipe!

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  46. Sarah (sshoemakerAThotmailDOTcom)23:11

    I just made your biscotti this afternoon and they were wonderful! Just a tad sweet and full of anise-y goodness. Thank you for posting such a great recipe.

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  47. Anonymous12:28

    I much prefer less sweet desserts and am thrilled that you are creating recipes without refined sugar, as well as gluten-free.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

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  48. sandrajayne13:43

    These are baking as we speak. They smell wonderful. No longer will I gaze with envy at the biscotti on the counter at Starbucks. I really appreciate your recipes and wanted to say Thank You. You have given me back a lot of the things that I thought were left behind for good.

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  49. I haven't seen Glucose Syrup mentioned. Have you tried it? I'm in Australia, so perhaps you can't get it in the US. I purchased some with the intention of experimenting, but would love to see some recipes from you using it.

    Carissa

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  50. Carissa, No, I've not heard of glucose syrup. Is it made from sugar cane? Karina

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  51. Thanks, Everyone!

    And special thanks to Rabah for the sugar and insulin discussion and opinion.

    What is a "safe amount" of sugar?- is the question. I suspect it might vary for each individual, based on family history, body type, age, health, and medical conditions.

    This much I know- from experience- the less active we are, the less sugar and carbs we should eat.

    Karina xox

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  52. Karina,

    I'm very excited about these cookies! They're vaguely reminiscent of Lorna Sass' Anise-Pignoli cookies. I've always thought of them as a biscotti, even more after adapting the recipe to gluten-free.

    Also, I'm incredibly thankful for a vegan, gluten-free, maple syrup sweetened treat! I primarily use agave and maple syrup, occasionally date sugar and brown rice syrup. I prefer lightly sweetened treats instead of saccharine ones that leave my teeth and stomach aching.

    I look forward to seeing how this discussion shapes your baking!

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  53. This is just awesome, Karina! Just like Mom used to make, minus the gluten and much healthier! I am allergic to coconut. I'll try substituting with more almond flour, unless you have a better suggestion.

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  54. Anonymous01:20

    The sugar topic intruiges me, even if all I do have is small amounts of individual experience. I will try to share the bit I've learned about my body.
    After quite a bit of experimenting, I discovered I tend to get bloats(never noticed any increase in headaches) when I ate sugar. Then I swichted to agave to try. I will admit, I liked the idea of being able to eat a "healthy" sweetener which would not hurt my stomach, but for me, agave was not that. For awhile I was not able to find flours that would work for me, so I stopped baking, and with it, stopped consuming agave. After I tried eating ice cream sweetened with a scant amount of the sweetener, I had a horrendous evening of continued trips to the bathroom and nausea. I then tried honey, and quickly realized it was even worse for me. I had already deduced that corn syrup was a demonic incarnation of a sweetener, even my mindlessly tasting a drop while cooking was enough to confine me to the couch gravelling in pain for about an hour. I'm allergic to coconut, can't digest alcohol(eliminating alcoholic sweeteners) and am allergic to safflower, which research has told me is a relative of stevia. Molasses is also out, due to the fermentation. I've been using maple syrup sparingly.
    I'm only fifteen, and have been plunged into the fact of how petty my tastebuds really are. They swing frowards and towards; mine really have no idea what they stand for. Whatever they are fed or surrounded by, they conform to. Personally, I phsycologically cannot stand the thought of letting something as ethemeral as that control my health. Many others know much more than me, and have drastically different views, but I think everyone should try things because of how different our bodies are. I have Aspergers, along with many other mental and physical syndromes, and I find I tend to be highly hypersensitive. If there is an adverse reaction to a food or medication, I will usually get it. Bad. Many things which I've been told are generally good have caused paranoia or hallucionations in me, or fainting spells and sedation.
    Obviously, most people's reactions to food are not as severe. But whether you get anxiousness induced by honey or not, everyone's body and mind responds differently to every food. This amateur's advice? If there is dispute over something, don't believe anyone, and try it for yourself.
    Sorry for the massive message!

    Isa

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  55. I think sugar is ok in moderation. I like to use raw sugar though. This recipe looks so yummy!

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  56. Anna02:54

    I live in a developing country where I can only buy sugar and honey - no other sweeteners - so I appreciate recipes that don't rely on ingredients that I cannot find. Having said that, my sweet tooth has taken a deep dive since going gf ... so a little sugar/honey goes a long way. Thanks for ALL the help you provide Karina. If not for your blog I would have been stranded ... belly ache and all!!

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  57. I am finding that as time goes on, too much sugar or carbs sets me into a cycle of cravings and overeating, so I've made it a goal to severely limit how much refined sweeteners and baked goods I consume. This practice also seems to do my IBS some good, so there must be a connection there. As for your future recipes, I think giving a little of both (sugar-filled and low sugar/alternative sweetener) would be good to see, but you go ahead and bake whatever your heart desires. I can make adjustments for my needs. As for this biscotti? Yum! I love anise.

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  58. Karina,

    I'm allergic to vanilla.
    What could I substitute in the biscotti recipe for it, or would it
    be fine without it?

    Thanks, can't wait to try it!
    Leslie

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  59. Thank you all for the stimulating discussion. I'll be doing more sugar-free recipes for the summer. xox

    Leslie, How about a dab of almond extract?

    Karina

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  60. Baked goods are highly over rated anyway. An occasional treat (birthday) is OK, but as a daily thing I have to skip sweetened foods. A meal made from whole foods is satisfying and if I'm still hungry or looking for something then a piece of fruit is a good ending. Takes long enough to cook from scratch without adding baked goods to meal prep. Also, once I start on the cookie, cake or ice cream path a little won't do, I'm completed to eat the whole thing. For me it's best to just not have sugary things around then I don't crave them. For me, out of sight is out of mind.

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  61. I have made several of your creations and LOVE everyone of them. Especially the pizza crust & coconut pineappe muffins. I just made the anise biscotti. The flavor is WONDERFUL. But, mine did not crisp up like biscotti. Is that how they are supposed to be? If not, any recommendations for the next time?

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  62. Thanks again, Everyone, for your thoughtful comments on the sugar issue. xox

    Jessica, To make these more traditional in texture switch out the coconut flour for a gluten-free starch, or perhaps brown rice flour. Use rice milk instead of yogurt.

    Karina

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  63. Anonymous00:41

    I have just made a batch of these delicious biscotti...they are exactly what I've been craving. Thanks Karina! Your recipes have become favourites in my kitchen, thanks for all the effort you putting in to creating them.

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  64. I'm always on the lookout for desserts made with just fruit, maple syrup, or stevia. I also use sucanat and have always just used that instead in all of your recipes and it's worked great! We have to really back off all sugar because it triggers my son's Tourette's Syndrome. But they love being able to have treats too. Thanks for asking!

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  65. Hi Karina,

    I am a little late to the table on discovering this recipe, but I am really excited to try a version of it. I really need to avoid sugar in order to maintain good pain management. It makes a world of difference for me. So thanks for asking, and for creating a recipe of a much loved family holiday treat that I can work with.

    xoxoxo

    moonwatcher

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  66. Thank you so much for these great cookies. They are one of the cookies I missed the most when going GF. I made them for a party last night and they were a hit. Next time I'm going to add the chocolate ... dreamy.

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