Cooking Gluten-Free with Anna

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saffron Biscotti ~ a lovely Christmas tradition.

These traditional Swedish saffransskorpor ~ saffron biscotti are frequently baked around Christmas time. Biscotti were baked twice, so they could be stored for long periods of time. This process made them an ideal food for sailors, fishermen, soldiers, and now, for all of us modern folks. Just a darn good cookie! Most European countries have adopted their own version of biscotti: English - rusks, French - biscotti and croquets de carcassonne, Germans - zwieback, Greeks - biskota and paxemadia, Jewish - mandelbrot, Russians - sukhariki, and Swedes - skorpor.

Saffron has been used in Sweden since the middle ages. Named from the Arabic za’fran, saffron comes from the stamens of the Crocus Sativus. This flower grows wild in many places, from Italy to Kurdistan. The Greeks claimed that the first cultivated saffron came from Asia Minor, and rapidly spread across the ancient world. The rewards for growing saffron were great, as were the difficulties. It takes, even today, one hundred thousand flowers to produce one kilo of dried spice, all of which has to be hand picked. The Swedish are likely to have used French or Italian saffron as they could obtain it. There was vast profit available for a merchant who carried the spice quite literally worth its weight in gold.

These Swedish Biscotti are not overly sweet. I've added chunks of almonds, for a satisfying crunch. I absolutely adore them! I hope you feel inspired to try to bake a few.

Saffransskorpor ~ Saffron Biscotti


4 oz butter (1 stick)

1/2 tsp saffron

2 eggs, whisked

2 cups GF Cake Flour Blend*

1/2 cup almond meal*

2/3 cups sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degreed.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan. Add the saffron and the eggs and whisk together.
  3. Add all the other ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Blend with a spoon. Add the melted butter mixture and mix everything together, until forming dough.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the dough into three logs and place onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the logs with raw sugar.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees.
  7. Cut the logs into 1" thick slices and return the baking sheet to oven. Let dry for 10 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving the biscotti in the oven to dry until oven has cooled.

*Gluten-Free Cake Flour Blend, or use your own favorite GF mix:

2 cups brown rice flour

2 cups white flour blend

1 cup potato or corn starch

1 1/4 cups tapioca starch

*Make your own almond meal by placing 3/4 cups almonds in a food processor, and pulsing until finely ground. Measure 1/2 cup for recipe.

God Jul ~ Merry Christmas!

All photos by Anna Simon, background on saffron


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