By: Eleni Saltas
Nistisima Paximadia (Vegan Biscotti) is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth during Orthodox Lent. Made by substituting bananas in lieu of dairy products, this treat is arguably better than the real thing.
1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
¾ cup fresh orange juice*
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon honey
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 small overripe banana, peeled and mashed well
5 cups sifted flour, or more as needed
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds
½ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside. Peel and mash banana and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add olive oil/vegetable oil, orange juice, sugar, honey, and vanilla and beat well with a whisk or an electric hand mixer. Beat well until all combined. Mix in mashed banana.
Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt) and slowly fold into a mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Stir in the sliced almonds. Make sure the ingredients are combined until a soft, but sticky dough forms. Incorporate the dark chocolate chips if using.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and place on baking sheets. Shape the dough into long loaves that are about 2 ½ inches wide and 1 inch thick. Smooth the tops and the sides of the dough with your hands or a wet bowl scraper.
Score the loaves lengthwise with a serrated knife (I like this so it is easier to cut through later). The cookies will expand so keep the slices small, into ½ inch diagonal slices.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and remove from the oven.
Let the loaves cool for 5 minutes, and cut through the precut slices. Lay the cookies cut side down and bake for another 20 minutes, turning the cookies over at the halfway mark. Note, the cookies will get crispier the longer they bake—so this is all preference! The cookies will harden even more as they cool as well. I like to make one batch on the softer side for snacks, and one on the crispier side for coffee dunking.
Once ready, take out of the oven and cool. Enjoy!
*I prefer fresh squeezed oranges or orange from concentrate (don’t dilute before using for more flavor). If you use a fresh orange, add in the orange zest as well with the wet ingredients if you want a stronger orange flavor.
I live at a high altitude, so you may need to adjust your ratios. For example, if you’re at sea level you’ll need an extra 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Also, play around with the liquids, as you may not need as much as the recipe suggests if you live in a higher humidity enviornment.