Hands up . . . who doesn’t love to start their day with a jolt of java?
The coffee bean is packed with known health benefits from antioxidants that protect our body, to reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
And let’s be honest, if you’re a coffee-lover, the aroma and that first sip are exquisite.
Yet, grabbing a quick cup of coffee while on the run can impact your health in a negative way. All those health benefits may not be adding up quite how you expect.
Coffee is great on its own but what about the extras that go inside that cup.
Many of us are not aware that converting a mug of coffee into a latte’ or Frappuccino is a calorie, fat, and sugar explosion.
Awareness is the ultimate in good health.
Sugar by the numbers
Did you know: that a Grande 16-ounce Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino contains 410 calories and 59 grams of sugar?
That’s almost 15 teaspoons of sugar!
If you need another quick shot of reality, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum daily sugar baseline is 9 teaspoons for a man, and 6 for a woman.
With a long list of sugar-linked lifestyle diseases: heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, and hormone imbalances, it’s apparent that we need to be diligent.
The good news is, Starbucks committed to reducing added sugar to some beverages by the end of 2020.
However, as a consumer, you need to make your own nutritional choices while standing at the counter.
And because giving up coffee or tea is never going to happen, here is a super simple rule to remember before placing that order . . .
You’re in charge of the sugar!
Now by default, you are left with choosing one of the less sugar-added drinks on the menu. Your basic coffee or tea, or perhaps an espresso or cappuccino are just as delicious.
And when you add your own sweetener, not only do you avoid chemicals in artificial syrups, but you consume less sugar because not even a sweet-tooth can drop 15 teaspoons of sugar in one drink.
And there’s a bonus.
You’ll avoid those blood sugar spikes that trigger sweet cravings.
Top tips to help you reduce sugar
So what do you do if you really, really, really, crave a mocha, latte’ or Frappuccino, or a Chai?
These simple tips will keep your taste buds satisfied.
Don’t order your drink as it is . . . modify!
Order the smaller size cup but ask for an extra shot of espresso.
Ask for almond or soy milk.
Skip the whipped cream and chocolate toppings.
Ask your barista for only one pump of flavoured syrup.
And, if you love steamed milk in a latte with the pick-me-up of espresso, ask for an Americano with steamed skim milk.
Brewed chai tea is delicious with steamed skim milk.
- Herb tea
Skip the sugar completely and you’re sipping on plenty of antioxidants.
In particular, I love the clean rejuvenating taste of Mint tea.
The flavour is big, so ask for a Tall size. You’ll feel hydrated while essential oils in the naturally sweet mint leaf calm the gut and clear your mind.
Spicy Biscotti that are irresistible
Made from scratch, these spicy biscotti are one of the best I’ve tried so far.
Eat bite is different in taste and texture.
From the chewiness of prunes to the crunch of almonds.
With deep, warm, earthy spices of Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
Topped off with a gentle hint of occasional citrus peel.
Not to mention, all these ingredients are crammed with health benefits.
Set out all your equipment and ingredients. This quick check not only saves time but ensures you have everything for your recipe.
Decide which spices you prefer.
The combination I’ve used is wonderful, but not everyone likes the surprising sudden bite of pepper.
I’m not a big fan of black pepper but Sichuan pepper is milder and more interesting. As well, the spicy tang suits this recipe. I pepper is not your thing, add a pinch of another spice.
You might wonder why we add sea salt to unsalted butter!
This is what makes this biscotti recipe even more interesting. You don’t know if your next bite will be spicy or salty!
If you only have salted butter, omit the extra salt.
As this biscotti is on the crumbly side, cutting slices 1” wide helps keep them together for the second baking. If they do fall apart slightly, give them a small squeeze back.
Save the crumbs! They are delicious as an ice-cream topping or added to an apple crumble dessert!
Easy Spicy Biscotti
Some biscottis are soft, others crunchy-hard, but these sit in between.
What I like best about this recipe is the contrast between, chewy, crunchy and spicy makes eat nibble a satisfying experience.
Best enjoyed in a comfy chair along with friends and your favourite coffee!
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter or 1/2 cup, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 c dark brown sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt Omit if using salted butter
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 10-12 prunes chopped
- 1/2 c raw almonds chopped
- 1/4 c cacao nibs
- 1 tbsp citrus zest orange or lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp matcha green tea
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp anise seed
- 1 tsp Sichuan pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Optional for a professional look and ease of handling in 2nd bake
- 1 tbsp egg white whisked
- 1 tsp water
Set oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
Gather ingredients, equipment, and wash and dry your hands.
In a large mixing bowl blend softened butter with sugar and citrus zest using the back of a wooden spoon, until light creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, blending well in between.
In a medium mixing bowl add dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sea salt, almonds, cacao nibs, and spices. Omit the spices that don’t appeal to you.
Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed before stirring in chopped prunes. Stir again until evenly dispersed.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, one third at a time, stirring well in between.
Your dough should form into a natural ball shape.
At this stage, I like to lightly knead the ball with my hands. This softens the butter a little more and helps to mix any areas I’ve missed.
Turn the dough out on to a strip of parchment paper. Pat and press into a log shape, approximately 13” x 3”
Lift paper and biscotti mixture onto a baking tray.
Whisk egg white with 1 tsp water then brush mixture over the top.
This isn’t essential, but it holds the biscotti together better when it's time to slice the loaf.
Bake on the middle rack of your oven at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Remove biscotti roll and turn the oven down to 300 degrees F.
Allow the roll to cool on a rack for 30 minutes before cutting 1” slices.
Place back on the parchment paper, one side facing down.
Bake on the tray 5-7 minutes.
Flip sides and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow slices to cool on a rack before storing in an airtight container.