Coffee culture is deeply ingrained in Cubans. It’s usually the first thing we drink when we wake up, the perfect finish to every meal and as crazy as it sounds, often the last thing we drink before we go to bed. When I visit my family members, the first thing they ask after “How have you been” is “Can I make you some coffee?” To the outsider it would seem like just part of the greeting. I have family members that literally drink coffee morning, noon and night; these family members also have trouble sleeping, but I digress.
I began drinking coffee as a kid. This may be shocking to some of my American friends, but for Cubans it is quite common. Our most famous coffee drink, the Cafe con leche, is mostly steamed milk and sugar anyways so it’s not like I was drinking a triple espresso. I fondly remember dunking pan con matequilla, toasted Cuban bread and butter, into cafe con leche every morning, and sopping up the bread with the deliciously sweet coffee. The butter would melt into the coffee to make it extra creamy and the coffee would make the bread sweet and scrumptious. It’s really no wonder why I was such a chunky kid when this was considered an acceptable breakfast in my household.
Dunking bread into coffee was not reserved for breakfast alone. In fact, every so often as an after dinner desert, my grandfather would break out the biscotti. I wasn’t sure if biscotti was a bread or a cookie since it had qualities of both, but I do remember how much I loved dunking the hard, crunchy biscotti into the hot coffee, which made it soft and soggy and the almond, vanilla and spice flavors mixing perfectly with the flavors of the coffee.
In our household, biscotti was never something we made from scratch, it was always store bought. Recently while watching a cooking show on PBS with my other half, we watched one of the chefs make homemade biscotti. It seemed so simple, I thought I’d give it a shot. I was really surprised at just how quick and easy it was to make if you have all the ingredients on hand. The most difficult part for me is being patient enough to not eat them after the first bake and wait until after the second bake. Biscotti means twice baked after all, and it’s the second bake that gives it that extra crunchy texture.
This is my vegan version of the recipe which is every bit as delicious as any non-vegan biscotti I’ve ever had. I’ve made this for parties and brought it into work and no one even realized the dairy and eggs were missing. Even though biscotti is actually an Italian dessert, I highly recommend serving these with a strong Cuban coffee to really enhance the flavors. Buen provecho!
1 TB Chia seeds
3 TB warm water
3/4 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 C Almond meal
1/4 C Chopped roasted almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground cloves
pinch of allspice
3 TB Coconut Oil
1/4 C sugar
2 TB Disarrono Amaretto liqueur
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 C dark chocolate chips and/or
1/4 C chopped dried cranberries or sour cherries
Non-Vegan option: If you prefer to make this recipe non-vegan swap out the chia seeds and water for one whole egg and/or swap out the coconut oil for butter.
Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 3 TB of water in the microwave and add the chia seeds and set aside for a minimum of 15 minutes. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: AP Flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and whisk together. In a medium sized bowl add the coconut oil and sugar then whisk together until it forms a thick consistency. Then add the amaretto liqueur and vanilla and whisk again. Then gently add the chia seed mixture and stir with a rubber spatula being careful not to break up the chia gel too much. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then add the chopped roasted almonds (reserve about a handful for the topping,) add any additional optional ingredients at this time such as dark chocolate or dried fruit and fold everything together using a rubber spatula until you have a nice solid ball of dough. Lay down a sheet of parchment paper. Turn the dough ball out onto the parchment and using your hands form an 8-10″ loaf with the dough, then using a rolling pin or you hands, gently roll the dough into an oblong disk at least 1/2″ – 1″ thick. Take the reserved almonds and sprinkle on top. Transfer the dough with the parchment paper to a baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven for ~20 -25 minutes or until the top is firm and golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes.
Once the loaf is cool to the touch, cut the long side of the loaf into 1″ pieces as shown above. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the once cooked biscotti on it’s side and return it to the oven for 3-5 minute on each side. Once the biscotti are a deep golden color, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack. While they cool, make yourself your favorite cup of coffee and enjoy them for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or an after dinner treat!
[metacook type=”name” display=”none”]Vegan Almond Amaretto Biscotti[/metacook][metacook type=”description” display=”none”]Sweet and salty cookie flavored with almond, amaretto, vanilla and spices. Pairs perfectly with coffee.[/metacook][metacook type=”prepTime” display=”none”]25 min[/metacook][metacook type=”cookTime” display=”none”]35 min[/metacook][metacook type=”totalTime” display=”none”]1 hour[/metacook][metacook type=”yield” display=”none”]10-12 servings[/metacook]