Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.

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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

Tim’s Mocha-Almond Christmas Biscotti

I was gone for a few hours yesterday afternoon doing a little Christmas shopping while Lily was at a birthday party. When I came home, the kitchen looked like a bomb had exploded. But it was worth it because Tim had made his Mocha-Almond Christmas Biscotti.

I got this recipe from a fellow editor years ago when we worked together at a publishing company. Lisa got the recipe out of a magazine in 1992, but my photocopy doesn’t say which one. It does, however, credit the recipe to food stylist Marie Piraino. I honestly don’t remember why Tim embraced this particular recipe and made it his own special holiday tradition. Knowing him, he probably saw me buried under a pile of projects and offered to help out. And when the biscotti turned out so well, he decided to stick with it.

Don’t you love a man in an apron? I bought this one for Tim at a Mother-Daughter Tea at Grandma Marilyn’s church. The men wore these homemade aprons to do all the cooking and serving, and then sold extras for us to take home.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Tim’s Christmas Mocha-Almond Biscotti


1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. instant coffee powder
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, and vanilla, and add to the dry ingredients; mix just until smooth. In a small bowl, combine cocoa, instant coffee, and 4 tsp. water. Divide the dough in half. To one half, add the cocoa mixture and melted chocolate. Mix just until incorporated. To the other half, stir in almond extract and almonds.

Place half of the almond dough on a well-floured work surface. Pat into a 4-by-8-inch rectangle. Top with half of the chocolate dough. Roll up into a cylinder, then roll the cylinder back and forth to form a 14-inch log, 1-1/2 inches thick. Repeat with the remaining doughs. Place the logs on a baking sheet (sprayed lightly with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Transfer the logs to a rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Let the logs cool for about 10 minutes before cutting diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand the slices upright on the baking sheet with space between the slices and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Makes about 4 dozen biscotti.

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  1. Marilyn says:

    I had to laugh at your kitchen looking like a bomb had exploded. My husband knows this freaks me out, so now, before I get home he does a quick clean-up. He does a such a good job that I usually can’t tell that it was a disaster just moments before — until he gives up his secret. 🙂

  2. Shannon says:

    You have a very sweet husband, Marilyn. I left out the part about Tim also deciding to make homemade hashed browns for “brinner.” But at least he fed the kids while I was out. 😉

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