The process of how to make biscotti is unique in that the cookies are baked twice! This simple version of the iconic Italian cookie is perfect as is or can be flavored with various add-ins!
Basic Biscotti Overview
Skill Level: Beginner
Biscotti is a traditional Italian cookie that is made without butter. Biscotti translates to “baked twice”, which is precisely how these cookies are made.
Due to the crunchy nature of biscotti, the cookies are traditionally dipped in a warm beverage such as coffee or tea when eaten. Biscotti keep for a long time if stored properly and their flavor develops with time.
Biscotti have a bad reputation for being so hard they will crack a tooth. The following technique will produce wonderfully crispy biscotti that remain light and tender.
How to Make Biscotti
Biscotti is a unique cookie in the way it is mixed and baked. It does not fall into any of the other cookie mixing methods, rather it has its own technique that can be used across the board for any kind of biscotti.
Step 1: Sift the Dry Ingredients
Sift all of the dry ingredients, including the sugar, together in a large mixing bowl. This will aerate the dry ingredient and help keep this crunchy cookie light and tender. If you do not have a sieve, you can whisk the ingredients together well.
Step 2: Mix the Wet Ingredients Together
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until well combined.
Step 3: Add the Wet Ingredients & Knead
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to begin bringing the dough together. It will be somewhat shaggy and dry. Knead the dough in the bowl very briefly until a smooth dough is formed.
Step 4: Form into Logs for the First Bake
Divide the dough in two and transfer the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape the dough into logs with your hands. The dough is baked as large logs and then sliced after the first bake.
Step 5: First Bake
Bake the biscotti logs until the edges are crisp and the centers are still soft but puffy.
Step 6: Slice & Second Bake
When the logs have cooled slightly (enough to handle) use a serrated knife to cut them diagonally along the short side in 1/2″ (1.5 cm) slices.
Return the sliced biscotti to the baking sheets, cut side down, and bake at a low temperature until they are dried out and crispy.
Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
- If the dough is too sticky to handle after the wet ingredients have been added, then too much moisture is in the dough. Knead in a small amount of flour until the dough can be handled.
- This dough is a blank canvas to flavor with different extracts or to add mix-ins. Mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit can all be added to this dough.
- The key to making biscotti that aren’t so crispy you feel like you’re going to break a tooth is to not bake them too long during the second bake. Pull them out of the oven when the outside feels toasted, but the cookie still has a bit of give when you press down on it.
- Allow the dough to cool completely and then store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. The flavor gets better with time!
- Flour is the main structure of the biscotti. Some of it can be substituted with cocoa powder or ground nuts to create different flavors.
- Sugar sweetens the cookie. This base recipe uses a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar. The brown sugar helps keep the cookies slightly more tender and adds molasses flavor.
- Baking Powder leavens the biscotti, making it rise.
- Eggs bind the biscotti and also help with leavening.
- Oil adds tenderness and richness to the biscotti.
- Vanilla extract, salt, and anise or almond extract only serve to flavor the biscotti.
Basic Biscotti Recipe
This is a basic biscotti recipe. The recipe can be made as is for a simple biscotti cookie that are perfect plain or dipped in melted chocolate. Various add-ins and flavorings can also be added to this recipe.
- 3 cups (12.75 oz, 357 gr) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (5.25, 147 gr) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56 gr) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1/2 tsp if using Diamond Kosher)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup (4 fl oz, 120 ml) vegetable or canola oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp anise or almond extract (optional)
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Sift Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar (you have to sort of work that through the sieve), salt, and baking powder. Give the ingredients a quick whisk to evenly distribute. Alternatively, if you do not have a sieve, you can whisk the ingredients together thoroughly.
- Whisk Wet Ingredients: Combine the oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond or anise extract (if using) in a small mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spoon or a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together. The mixture will be somewhat dry and shaggy.
- Knead & Shape: Quickly knead the dough a few times in the bowl until it all comes together as one cohesive dough. Split the dough in two equal pieces and move them to a baking sheet. Shape each piece of dough into a log about 10″ (25 cm) long by 3″ (7.5 cm) wide. The logs should fit side by side with the longer side of the log running parallel to the shorter side of the pan.
- First Bake: If desired, brush the logs with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. This is optional. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 35 minutes. Allow the logs to cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F (163 C).
- Slice & Second Bake: Slice the logs diagonally across the short side about 1/2″ (1.25 cm) thick. Lay the pieces cut side down and bake at 325 F (163 C) for 12 minutes. Flip each piece over and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the outside of the cookies feel toasted but they still give a little when pressed in. They will crisp up more when cooled.
- Store: Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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