I come from a family of coffee lovers. Whenever I take a month-long break from coffee to recalibrate my system, I almost feel that I am betraying my “culture.” After all, coffee is close by during most of our gatherings, be they festive, intimate, or mundane. And speaking of the mundane, coffee may as well be the symbol of our vie quotidienne—and our joie de vivre, for that matter. Indeed, the simple ritual of measuring coffee grounds and stirring in cream (coconut cream, preferably), makes any ordinary Tuesday morning quietly, subtly sacred.
Some years back, I remember my mother working to perfect her biscotti recipe. If coffee isn’t already special enough, add authentic Italian-style biscotti, and your morning is made. I’ve always liked my mother’s biscotti. They’re perfectly crunchy and firm—until you dip them into your java, and then they’re ready to melt in your mouth.
Biscotti are basically twice-baked cookies. Although they require a little more labor, your attentiveness will pay off come coffee time. Biscotti also make a beautiful, thoughtful holiday gift. Simply package in a pastry box or reusable Tupperware and tie off with a pretty ribbon or bakers twine.
Vegan Cocoa Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Vegan Italiano
(Makes about 10 large biscotti)
¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup xylitol-stevia blend, or unrefined sugar of choice
2 tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
1 ½ tbsp. unrefined coconut oil, liquefied
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
¾ cup slivered almonds
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, cacao powder, salt, almonds, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mix sweetener of choice, applesauce, almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and gently blend, using your hands if necessary.
3. Pat flour on your hands and shape the dough into a log, 3 inches wide, ¾ inch thick. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm.
4. Remove sheet and allow log to cool for about 15 minutes. Decrease oven heat to 300F.
5. Using a bread knife, cut the log crosswise into 1 inch wide slices. Discard parchment and place slices (cut-side down) on the sheet, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the bottoms begin to turn gold. Turn the slices over and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes.
6. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. Enjoy!
More vegan cookie recipes: Jones Family Christmas Cookie
Photos: Mary Hood