Clear the decks and put on a pot of good, strong coffee, because you’re going to want to make these biscotti ASAP. I’m not kidding. They are the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy; and are full of almond and orange flavours that are rich enough to balance out a bold coffee, but not overly sweet.
I worked my way through college as a barista in a local coffee chain here that had a version of these biscotti in their cafes, and I ate way more of them than I probably should have, but hey…7 or 8 hours on your feet slingin’ coffee affords you the luxury of a baked treat whose calories can be burned off by your next shift.
I rarely frequent that coffee chain anymore (Starbucks first opened in Toronto a couple of years after I graduated and became my coffee purveyor of choice for the past 20ish years), but I often think of those biscotti. I’ve never been able to find a close replica of them anywhere. And that old coffee chain stopped selling them years ago (before I went vegan and would have to give them up anyway.)
In my newly-launched cookbook, I have a vegan chocolate biscotti recipe, and I’ve been teaching biscotti-making techniques in my recent cooking classes, so I decided it was time to try recreating these elusive orange almond ones from my past. What makes these biscotti stand out from most others is the addition of ground oats. Most traditional versions just use flour, which gives the cookie a smooth, easy bite (especially when dunked in coffee). My version uses coarse ground oats and brown sugar instead of white, which adds a lot of texture and, after the initial outer crust, a chewy, dense center layered with a nutty, citrusy flavour. It’s a deeply satisfying cookie, and I’m super-excited to have them back in my life.
Because I was elbow-deep in dough as I was formulating this recipe, I tasked my nine-year-old daughter with being the official recipe-keeper for this experiment. In my beat up, food-splattered kitchen recipe journal that holds the trials and tribulations of every recipe I’ve ever tested, she dotingly wrote down every ingredient and measurement that I called out, recording not only the pertinent details of this experiment, but also adding her mark to a legacy that will one day be hers. And for that reason, these will always be my favorite biscotti.
Orange Almond Biscotti
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ cup coarsely ground oats
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sliced almonds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp hot water)
⅓ cup vegan butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
In a large bowl, combine flour, ground oats, baking powder, salt, sliced almonds and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In a second bowl, add flax eggs, vegan butter, brown sugar, ¼ cup almond milk, almond and vanilla extracts, orange zest and orange juice. Whisk to combine.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and a dough forms. It should be a bit sticky. If dough is too dry, add remaining 2 tbsp almond milk. Form dough into a ball and divide in half.
Place one half of the dough onto prepared baking sheet and form into an even log about 1 ½ inches thick. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut on the bias into 1 inch thick slices. Lay each cookie slice on its side on the baking sheet and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until edges are golden.
Remove from oven and cool completely. Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.