Divine Lola and Churro Biscotti

Welcome to another tardy book review for TLC Book ToursI knew this was due on September 27 and I kept thinking I had a lot of time to finish the book and come up with a recipe.  I had the post started and scheduled (but unfinished) and it actually posted on the 27th.  In fact, I didn’t even catch it for a couple (or three) days.   So, again, begging forgiveness from Lisa at TLC.  Here’s the finished post (better late than never).

About the Book:

An enthralling biography about one of the most intriguing women of the Victorian age: the first self-invented international social celebrity.

Lola Montez was one of the most celebrated and notorious women of the nineteenth century. A raven-haired Andalusian who performed her scandalous “Spider Dance” in the greatest performance halls across Europe, she dazzled and beguiled all who met her with her astonishing beauty, sexuality, and shocking disregard for propriety. But Lola was an impostor, a self-invention. Born Eliza Gilbert, the beautiful Irish wild child escaped a stifling marriage and reimagined herself as Lola the Sevillian flamenco dancer and noblewoman, choosing a life of adventure, fame, sex, and scandal rather than submitting to the strictures of her era.

Lola cast her spell on the European aristocracy and the most famous intellectuals and artists of the time, including Alexandre Dumas, Franz Liszt, and George Sand, and became the obsession of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. She then set out for the New World, arriving in San Francisco at the height of the gold rush, where she lived like a pioneer and performed for rowdy miners before making her way to New York. There, her inevitable downfall was every bit as dramatic as her rise. Yet there was one final reinvention to come for the most defiant woman of the Victorian age. a woman known as a “savage beauty” who was idolized, romanticized, vilified, truly known by no one, and a century ahead of her time.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Born in Barcelona in 1961, Cristina Morató is a journalist, reporter, and author dedicated to writing about the lives of great women innovators and explorers that history has overlooked.

Her research, tracing the footsteps of these remarkable women, has led her to travel to more than forty countries and has resulted in eight biographies: Viajeras intrépidas y aventureras (Intrepid and Adventurous Women Travelers); Las Reinas de África (African Queens); Las Damas de Oriente (Ladies of the East); Cautiva en Arabia (Arabian Captive); Divas rebeldes (Rebel Divas); Reinas malditas (Tragic Queens); Diosas de Hollywood (Hollywood Goddesses); and Divina Lola (Divine Lola), Cristina’s first to be translated into English.

She is a founding member and the current vice president of the Spanish Geographical Society and belongs to the Royal Geographic Society of London. For more information visit https://www.cristinamorato.com/home-2/.

What I thought…

I was fascinated.  Biographies of strong women have always intrigued me.  (I think I have read almost every biography of Elizabeth I.)   I was most intrigued with Lola.  Not ever having heard of her before, I dived in without any preconceptions.

Lola is a character to say the least.  As she makes her way through life (or lives), I couldn’t help but think that she might have been suffering from at least one mental illness.  She definitely would self-medicate at times.

The cast of characters that she actually interacted with was amazing and included famous authors and artists of the time period.

I kept thinking about her self-assuredness and how far that took her in life.   She was perhaps more beautiful than talented and definitely stubborn to a fault.  It was amazing, truly, to think about her romping from one life to another, especially moving from European royal households to rustic California during the gold rush.

I would recommend this book.  It was nice to get to know Lola.   I thought the translation was done well and I look forward to reading more from Morató if her other books are translated to English.

The food…

I did not notice any (and I mean any) food in this biography.  I will acknowledge that I was so absorbed in the tale of Lola that I might have missed a few things, but food was definitely NOT the center of Lola’s life.

Since I was running short on time, I did a quick search for Spanish cookies and a recipe for a Churro Biscotti popped up.  I had everything I needed and quickly whipped it up.

Churro Biscotti–Vegan Style

Original recipe found here.

I used semolina flour instead of the called for almond flour. The original recipe states you could even omit it.


  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 T. semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk
  • 1 T. sunflower oil (or other mild oil)
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 4 1/2 T. sugar, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, semolina flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 t. cinnamon, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the almond milk, oil, maple syrup, and 3 T. sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Combine the wet with the dry, and mix to make a sticky, stiff dough. Transfer this to a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Wet your hands and using more water, shape the mixture into an oval, and press it down to even it out so that it is about 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Keep pressing, use a couple more drops of water for whenever it gets sticky again.  It shapes into a nice biscotti log.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon for topping until well combined, and then sprinkle this all over the dough(which should still be a bit wet on the top). Press it down lightly with your hands if needed.
  6. Bake for 22-25 minutes. This first bake will find the log a bit cracked on top.  Check with a toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean, remove from oven.
  7. Let it cool completely, then using a very sharp or serrated knife, slice the oval into 1/2 inch thick slices. Spread these slices over the parchment-lined baking sheet again, flattened on the wider side of the biscotti.
  8. Bake at 275 degrees F (135 C) for 1 hour, or until the biscotti is crisp to your preference.
    Cool completely and then store in an airtight container and keep on the counter for up to three weeks.

These smelled wonderful baking and it was difficult to follow the instructions and let them cool completely.   I do feel like I’m copping out a bit with this recipe because I had high hopes of creating a Spanish-Irish fusion dish.  But, I am glad I found this book and this recipe.  Both are keepers.

Please stop by to see what others thought about this book.

Tour schedule:

Wednesday, September 1st: Books, Cooks, Looks – excerpt

Friday, September 3rd: Seaside Book Nook – excerpt

Sunday, September 5th: The Cozy Book Blog – excerpt

Monday, September 6th: @babygotbooks4life

Wednesday, September 8th: Literary Quicksand

Friday, September 10th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie

Monday, September 13th: @Bibliotica

Wednesday, September 15th: @aimeedarsreads

Thursday, September 16th: @msanniecathryn

Friday, September 17th: Maryann Writes

Monday, September 20th: @chez_colline

Wednesday, September 22nd: @as_seen_in_life

Thursday, September 23rd: @thebookishalix

Friday, September 24th: @jenniaahava

Monday, September 27th: Eliot’s Eats Today

Wednesday, September 29th: @books.cats.travel.food

Thursday, September 30th: @rickys_radical_reads

Friday, October 1st: @amanda.the.bookish

Monday, October 4th: Reading is My Remedy

3 comments to Divine Lola and Churro Biscotti

  • mae

    I remember reading about Lola when I was in Jr. High and used to read a lot of travel books, one of which noted her role in the life of the mad king of Bavaria. Maybe I should read this for a grown-up view!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  • this sounds like a tasty recipe, and what a woman was lola!

  • Thanks for the review! Sounds like my kind of book. A churro biscotti? Now that sounds interesting. Looks really good and that it would be perfect paired with a cup of tea or better yet, hot chocolate.