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  • Writer's picturecoffeeandwoodsmoke

light play (and chocolate biscotti)

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

one evening, while washing dishes, i looked out the window. the setting sun, illuminating the hills across the street, brushed soft light across tapered evergreens. i had never noticed the light falling in exactly that way, so intentionally in that little patch of trees. i stared while the water rushed over my hands. the moment was fleeting, as they always are, and soon the outside world plunged into the blues of twilight, then inky night.

it’s become a habit, since then, to pause to observe the light: the coralline pinks on morning clouds, floating in a cerulean sky; patchy brightness among clouds of grey; golden incandescence on newly snow-covered mountainsides; rose alpenglow as the light of day fades.

perhaps it’s my response to this year, to seek out the light. to pause and allow it to flood my being; to let its calm wash over me. to know that it’s still there, every day, even those days when things look bleak; if only we allow ourselves to see it.

Chocolate Biscotti Makes 20 biscotti

i’m not the only one seeking out light this year; i see houses and trees adorned with all manner of twinkling, sparkling lights: lights of white, blue, or the whole rainbow of color. bringing light to the holidays. lifting the spirits. and, for the first time since ~1220 AD, we will have a celestial convergence that–if clear skies allow–will form the light of the Christmas star. inside, holiday baking is in full swing. these chocolate-dipped biscotti (with crushed candy cane for good measure!) have been a favorite. i hope you enjoy!


  • 1/4 C melted coconut oil

  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce

  • 3/4 C (145 g) granulated sugar

  • 1 C (112 g) almond flour, sifted

  • 1/2 C (82 g) teff flour

  • 1/4 C (25 g) cacao powder

  • 2 Tbsp (15 g) tapioca flour

  • 2 Tbsp (15 g) cornstarch

  • 1 Tbsp (5 g) ground chia seeds

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt

  • Optional: 1 tsp instant coffee granules (intensifies the chocolate flavor!)

Optional chocolate dip:

  • 90 g dark (70%) vegan chocolate

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • Crushed peppermint sticks or chopped almonds

To prepare:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, almond flour, teff flour, cacao powder, tapioca flour, cornstarch, ground chia seeds, baking powder, salt, and (if using) coffee granules.

  • Stir in the melted coconut oil and applesauce, and mix until uniformly combined.

  • Cover the bowl with a plate, airtight reusable cover, or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until the dough becomes less sticky and more workable.

  • About 15 minutes before removing the dough from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Line two cookies sheets* with parchment paper.

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into two equal halves.

  • Shape each half into a flattened log about two inches wide and one inch high, and place one log on each cookie sheet.

  • Bake for 25 minutes, rotating cookie sheets top to bottom and back to front halfway through the baking time.

  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Using a serrated knife, very carefully slice the logs on a diagonal into pieces about 3/4-inch thick (each log should give you about 10 cookies). The dough is still quite soft, so if a bit breaks off, you can carefully rejoin it before the second bake.

  • Place the cookies cut side down back onto the baking sheets (about 10 cookies per baking sheet).

  • Bake for another 25 minutes, flipping cookies over and rotating the cookie sheets from top to bottom and back to front halfway through the baking time.

  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets.

  • Optional chocolate dip: melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler. Dip one end of each cookie in, twirl, and place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with crushed peppermint stick or chopped almonds as desired. Let the chocolate harden (you can speed up this process by sticking them in the refrigerator).

  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or freeze for up to three months.

  • Enjoy!

* I prefer to use air bake cookie sheets for these cookies, as they promote more uniform baking and prevent the bottoms from burning. Any type of cookie sheet should do, though; just keep an eye on them!

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