Vegan Christmas Biscotti Redoux (and Do You Hear What I Hear?)

by Maria Theresa Maggi on December 19, 2015

Vegan Christmas Biscotti Redoux 1

Why, might you ask, would I revise a perfectly good Christmas Cranberry Biscotti recipe? Well, rest assured, my gluten free readers, it’s not because this recipe is any better than that recipe. It’s partly because I had some spelt flour I wanted to use, and mostly because I couldn’t find any almond or cocunut or other non-dairy yogurt within walking distance of my house that didn’t have carageenan in it. I didn’t used to worry about this, but over the past year I started sleuthing why my gut would tighten up for no particularly good reason on a diet full of fiber, and the additive carrageenan eventually showed up as the culprit. I could trace my intermittent troubles with it all the way back to about 4 years ago when for convenience sake I started buying my almond milk instead of making it myself. And then I noticed it was in all the toothpastes that gave me, for lack of a better term, “stomach aches” if i used them. So I decided to try and cut it out completely. And the difference for me, was like night and day.

Now I’m not saying everyone should do this. There are some health cautions about how it can disturb the gut which you can find on the internet. (Here’s one from Dr. Weil that gives a good general historical summary of the research). But everyone’s gut is different, so I’ll leave that up to your own discretion. And I’m also not saying that I always have the energy and the will to make every single ingredient I use in a holiday treat. So I did some more sleuthing. After standing in  the refrigerator aisle at the Alberta Street Co-op blocking shopping cart traffic with Romeo and my grocery cart for what seemed like an eternity while I pored over the ingredient labels of every plant-based yogurt or creamer they had in stock, I was about to give up when this caught my eye:

We Heard You

I had to laugh. The giant electron in the sky that seeks to second guess all our consumer wishes had read my mind and was reaching out to me from behind the glass door of the refrigerated case. It was kind of like so long ago when Mike was just six and we volunteered at the Moscow Food Co-op for a discount and he wanted to spend the entire morning in the refrigerator case personally handing out milk to people who opened the doors.

There was one hitch. Non dairy creamer is not as thick as non-dairy yogurt. But this was on sale to boot, so I decided to take it home and do some chemistry experiments. The results, I’m delighted to say, were absolutely delicious, confirmed not just by me, but an non-vegan neighbor, and my son, who is quite devoted to the original recipe.

I was especially pleased that the anise seeds I had collected when I helped put Bakari Garden to rest in November give these cookies the anise flavor that my Dad used to love in the Stella Doro classic Anise Toast. But of course if you don’t have anise seeds to grind, use anise extract. or extra almond extract. Any way you flavor it, these are a wonderful holiday treat. And you can make them gluten free by following the original recipe and subbing the wet ingredients here. You might need a tad more flour to get the dough to hold together, but you’ll be able to tell.

In absurdly silly honor of a certain non-dairy milk company having the marketing savvy to “hear” my personal request for a carrageenan free alternative, I’d like to celebrate with this not so silly and very soulful offering of Gladys Knight singing the traditional holiday carol “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

All silliness aside, and whether you make biscotti or not, may your Christmas be filled with true wonder and heart-opening delight.

Maria (moonwatcher)

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jacqui December 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Looks delicious, Maria. Merry Christmas and have a spectacular New Year!


2 Maria Theresa Maggi December 19, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Thanks Jacqui! Merry Christmas and a spectacular New Year right back to you!


3 Deborah December 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm

What a beautiful wish you created for us. Thankyou so very much.
Grateful to have you in my life from the other side of the world but just a heartbeat away.
All Blessings to you and your loved ones Maria…and all of the kindred spirits who read this Blog xoxo


4 Maria Theresa Maggi December 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Thank you Deborah. I am blessed by your careful reading and heartfelt comments every time. And yes, blessings to all of us here in this little blog community. You are all my angels!! 🙂


5 Lee at Veggie Quest December 20, 2015 at 8:43 am

Hi Maria, your biscotti look delicious! I’m going to try to work them into my holiday baking somewhere, although things are crazy enough right now that they may have to wait until the new year. (But there’s not much I love more than crisp biscotti dunked in a steaming cup of coffee!) Do you think I could replace the spelt flour with oat flour to keep them gluten free?

Also, I wasn’t familiar with the potential gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan. I’m definitely going to look into it–thanks for the heads up!


6 Maria Theresa Maggi December 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

Hi Leigh–you could try that–but you could also use my original and completely gluten free recipe from 2013 which I link to in this most recent version. Here’s the link again: Also, glad you found the heads up about carrageenan worth looking into. Happy Holidays!


7 Heidi December 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Process almonds to a > coarse < meal, you mean. And I will! As soon as I get more almonds …

I used to make biscottti a lot, and I appreciate a biscotti recipe without oil (or butter), as it should be for proper sturdiness. I buy that brand of creamer now and then (on sale), so it will not be out of the norm to get some for this recipe. The flavorings for this sound terrific; the "whole" clementine (or whatever) is inspired, and you can bet I'll be adding the Grand Marnier in with it!


8 Maria Theresa Maggi December 20, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Thank you, Heidi, for catching that typo–all fixed!! am so happy you find the flavorings and the whole bit of clementine for these biscotti inspired–and yes, a little Grand Marnier is well worth it! 🙂


9 Veronica December 21, 2015 at 10:20 am

And I LOVE that So Delicious stuff – I use the coconut creamer in my coffee every morning. So glad they took out the TiO2 & carageenan. It’s a noticeable difference (not as thick or white), but I’m sure my body thanks me for not putting that stuff in it anymore. 🙂
Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year, Maria! xoxo


10 Maria Theresa Maggi December 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Thanks Veronica! You’re a great cookie baker in your own right so glad these look yummy to you! And yes I am glad they took that stuff out. Sometimes what makes something “look” like dairy is not all that great going down for some of us. 🙂


11 Gena December 24, 2015 at 8:26 am

Hilarious timing, Maria, as I’m about to whip up a batch of my own cranberry pistachio biscotti today. Tis the season! I’m glad you’ve found a creamer that works for your gut — and these lovely cookies. Merry Christmas to you! xo


12 Maria Theresa Maggi December 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

Oh, that’s fabulous, Gena, that we are on the same biscotti wavelength! Tis the season indeed! Now I’ll think of you and Steven enjoying biscotti “with” me Mike and Kelly. Merry Christmas to you, my dear! xoxo


13 JCB January 27, 2016 at 10:28 am

What could I sub for the creamer? Delicious sounding recipe!


14 Maria Theresa Maggi January 27, 2016 at 11:39 am

HI JCB, thanks for your question. As I mentioned in the post, you can also use my original biscotti recipe, which I provided a hyperlink to. That uses non-dairy yogurt instead of the creamer and the proportions are slightly different. You can sub out the gluten-free flour combination in that recipe for wheat flour if you like. Here’s the link again: Hope you enjoy trying out making biscotti!


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