Slow Days: Pistachio-Cherry-Chocolate Biscotti  

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

‘Biscotto’ means ‘twice baked.’ Twice-baking is an old way of preserving baked goods. The 2nd baking dries them out, so they can be stored for future use. Examples include the dried bread called rusk or zwieback or sukhariki. Their origin seems to be as marching food for the Roman army. Army forts always had granaries and bake-houses, producing vast quantities of fresh and twice-baked bread. In the Renaissance, the twice-baked bread was reborn, made delicious with almonds. A baker in Tuscany is given credit for the introduction of ‘cantucci,’ perfect for dunking in the local Vin Santo as a dessert. It is a delicious combination, as sampled in Firenze. As fresh baked goods became readily available, not many people bothered with preserving bread. And then biscotti were reintroduced, taking America by storm in 1990s coffee houses. At first, many customers were put off by the ‘stale cookies’ but dunking became popular again, and so did the twice-baked cookies. If you think that biscotti are born in a package, wrapped in plastic, then you must try baking them at home.

This particular version is adapted from Chocolate by Nick Magliere. The biscotti are lovely as a Christmas gift or for enjoying at home with a leisurely cup of coffee during the holidays. I like the green nuts and the red cherries, seen together in a slice. A real treat from your very own kitchen.

Set rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 350 F.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
1¾ c flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Combine these, mixing well
8 Tbsp/1 stick butter Cut in 8 pieces and toss with flour mixture. Rub or cut butter into the flour.
¾ c dried cherries or cranberries
¾ c chocolate chips
¾ c/4 oz unsalted pistchios
Stir into the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Cherries, chocolate chips, and pistachios all mixed together with the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Divide dough into 2 portions, then roll each half into a log 12” long. Place the 2 logs on the prepared pans with 2” between them.

Bake 25-30 mins, until dough is browned and firm to the touch. Remove to cutting board to cool.
When cool, cut each log with a serrated knife into ½” slices, straight across or on diagonal. Put slices back on parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
Bake at 325F 15-20 mins, until light brown in color.
Cool, then store in an air-tight tin.

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