Maple Gingerbread Biscotti

maple gingerbread biscotti 10

The day after my finals, second year, a small cat followed me home. I saw her a few blocks away from my apartment, in the nicer part of the neighborhood, near the Victorian houses. The cat was so little I thought her half-grown. She was friendly, so I petted her head. When I left her, she decided to follow after me. It was a bit frightening – traffic, city streets – so I walked slowly when we crossed streets. This went on for about four blocks, and when I got home I went inside my building alone. Guilt drove me back outside. There she was, waiting as if she knew I’d come back for her.

After a night in the bathroom, I took her to the vet. She had fleas, several half-healed battle wounds, was underweight, and had probably been on the street for a week or so, or so thought the vet. She did not have a microchip. As silly it as sounds, I knew she didn’t. Maybe “suspected” is the better term, or “secretly hoped”. I left contact information with two veterinary offices, the local shelter, and checked lost pet ads for a month. Nothing. It was just a feeling, but I did not think anyone would come forward for her. I worried about someone worrying about her, but simultaneously I liked having her here. You see we’d become friends instantly. We understood each other’s language, that silent sort of sensing of moods and feelings. We have lived together for a year and three months now. For the longest time, I wouldn’t commit to a name, because of a twinge of fear that someone would claim her once I did. Instead, I called her Little One, then Coco, which somehow became Cookie, which has stuck so firmly and sounds so oddly right that I can’t change it. Maybe because she is kooky and eats cookies.

maple gingerbread biscotti 9

I shouldn’t read anything into the story of how Cookie the cat and I came to be a family. It was just a coincidence that I found her the day after finals ended, the logical side of me says. There are so many possible reasons as to why no one turned up for her, a young probably purebred cat. What I do know is this: the timing was impeccable, even if we ended up being a cliche. She saves me from feelings of emptiness and loneliness. What is certain is that we humans need some sort of companionship, someone (even a cat!) to need us and to affirm our existence. And whether it is coincidence or the work of a universe with a mysterious master plan that brings people (and cats, and dogs) our lives, I don’t know. I’m happy and grateful that I’ve got something that works for me.

Maple Gingerbread Biscotti 5

Maple Gingerbread Biscotti
Makes roughly 15 pieces | Adapted from Tartine, and originally from Chez Panisse
Heaping 1/4 cup of sliced pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, very soft
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 – 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 cup each AP flour and whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp butter (melted) and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup for wash (optional, if you would like a little more sweetness)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toasted the sliced pecans on a Silpat/parchment-covered baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and very slightly tanned.
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, maple syrup and egg and beat until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Stir in the toasty pecans.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log of roughly 2 inch diameter. Set the log on the Silpat/parchment-covered baking sheet . Glaze with butter and maple syrup if desired.
Bake the biscotti for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool the biscotti log for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Return the slices, cut side down, to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are toasted. Cool completely.
The biscotti can be stored for weeks in a airtight container.



  1. Joanne,

    Aww what a sweet story! I think you and Cookie were definitely meant to find each other, for what it’s worth. :) These biscotti sound so lovely! Fall comfort flavors, all the way.

  2. Hi Joyti, While I like the recipe, it’s the story of Miss Cookie that resonates. Over the years, every cat I have ever owned has chosen me. One little tuxedo followed my daughter home one evening. One had her litter in my garage. Another we found dumped outside our cafe. The last cat, Sid, I found crying in the side yard of my house–lost, abandoned, who knows? He was in rough shape, but once inside my door, he was Home. It all works out–the cats know. We care for them, give them food, shelter, love. In return, they give that love back ten-fold.

  3. Mmmm, I love biscotti, and these look really fantastic. I think we need some kitty pics. ;)

    • Joyti,

      I’ll add some tonight.

  4. Emma,

    I also believe pets choose us (cats more so probably). And cookie is the best name for a cat :) I can just imagine how sweet she is. Such a lovely story (I pictured in my head your little kitty following you home, it’s very heart-warming to say the least).

    I can’t believe you live near postcard row! What a magical place it must be to walk past – I often think about who lives in those houses, it never gets old for me.

    Oh also, your biscotti look wonderful, gingerbread and maple, yes please :)

  5. im so glad you have a company over..its so nice to have a pet around. these biscotti looks amazing..but i dont know if im ready for gingerbread yet. Summer is going by so soon.

  6. I’ve never made biscotti before and really only had it a handful of times… yet it is still one of my favorite treats! Cannot wait to try and make this at home :)

  7. I love the flavours here, I can imagine how they would work together. It is amazing how we sometimes find companionship in the most unexpected of things and when we do, it feels like it was always meant to be. Glad you found such a beautiful friend to bond with.

  8. Ah! Your cat found you! I love this story, and I almost wouldn’t believe it except the same thing (well up to the part where the animal came inside) happened to me and Tim last week! We were taking a neighborhood stroll, smiled at a little dog across the (busy) street, and then that dog ran across the street, dodging traffic as it did, and followed us three blocks. It had a collar so presumably a home and just owners who let it go out? Eventually we turned back on a street and the dog stayed where it was. It was unreal! It almost seemed like it was a person. It almost seemed like your Cookie.

  9. she was just meant to be yours! as for these biscotti, I wish they were mine :)

  10. Cats are lovely little fellas. We got our kitten from a cat shelter as a 12-week-old (her mom was a runaway and got gravid after which her owner didn’t want her back anymore). Adopting this little black furball seriously was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Even after she ruined my merino wool cardigan… (we don’t talk about that incidence in this house)
    Also, these biscotti look luscious; the kind I would make at 10 pm after coming home from a long day at work.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend! xoxo

  11. It’s always nice to have “someone” waiting for you & caring for you. The lovely writing of yours always distracted me from your recipe/photos, but not for long.

    Love the biscotti, your story, your photos as always :)

  12. Suzanne,

    I absolutely believe
    that two beings on the
    same frequency will find
    each other, as you and
    Cookie did. What a lovely
    tale of two sweet spirits
    coming together, and one
    delicious sounding recipe
    to top it all off!

    xo Suzanne

  13. Deb,

    Long ago I had a cat who followed me home and stayed to be my companion. I think that rescued animals appreciate their new homes and owners and make the best of friends! A tender story to pair with crisp biscotti. A perfect match just like dunking the biscotti in warm, sweet coffee!

  14. Monet,

    I had something similar happen to me. It was a few weeks after my sister had died. Our cat, Cricket, has been such a source of comfort and healing to me. I don’t know why she came to me that night…but I do know I so desperately needed her. This biscotti looks and sounds delicious!

  15. Cailee,

    Aww!! That is so cute!! I love the name Cookie!! So sweet! this recipe looks delicious btw!! :)

  16. lena,

    I just love this.

  17. Juliana,

    This is such a cute story Joyti…and the biscotti’s look great…I love the flavor of it…
    Have a wonderful week :D

  18. Oh my gosh – I *loved* this story. This was totally fate. I am an absolute cat lover (I have 3 of them), and a kitty that finds you is one that means to stay. It was meant to be, and I am so, so, so happy you two found each other. It totally warms my heart. What a great story!!! Now, I did not forget this great biscotti! It looks absolutely fabulous, and I’m so glad I found your blog!

  19. What a sweet story! I guess she was really meant to be yours..
    These biscotti look so so perfect & the flavors sound so holiday like. I would love to have few with the cup of coffee I am having right now.

  20. Thanks for sharing a heartwarming story! Things are meant to happen, and it’s obvious this was the case! Love gingerbread, and gingerbread biscotti sounds wonderful. I’d love to have a cup of coffee with this biscotti and your cat. :)

  21. I’m kind of obsessed that you had a cat named Cookie – what a perfect name!

  22. mjskit,

    Love your kitty story and what a great name you ended up with – Cookie – I love it! We’re cat people and I think they make the best companions. So does she eat these biscottis? If she does, then I would be fighting her for them. :) Love these!

  23. Animals have an amazing way of coming in to our lives just when we need them. This is such a beautiful and inspiring story. I love these photos, they are gorgeous. I am surprised I have never made biscotti before, considering I am a baker by trade. I may have to change that.

  24. Animal friends are as important as real life friends, sometimes. This was a beautiful story, and these cookies sound absolutely heavenly.

  25. What a gorgeous biscotti! Such pretty photos and a really sweet flavour combination!

  26. I love cats, and I also love the flavours of maple and gingerbread, and I love biscotti. So I like everything in this post a lot.

    Once I had a kitty follow me home, but as “home” was a hotel at the time, I couldn’t keep her… but oh, I wanted to so badly, I even googled bringing kittens on the plane and importing them to Canada (apparently it wouldn’t have been *too* hard).

  27. cynthia,

    Such a beautiful post and such gorgeous photos, Joyti.

Leave a Comment