Bella Biscotti! 8 Recipes for Italian-Inspired Weekend Baking
Looking for the perfect travel snack? Or maybe you desire a food that can easily be baked then shipped to friends and family in far-away locations. Perhaps you’re after a crunchy breakfast or a snack to enjoy with your mid-afternoon cup of coffee. All of those quandaries — and many others — can be solved with one baked good: biscotti.
Technically, “biscotti” is the plural of the Italian word for cookies. Although in the U.S., saying biscotti conjures up images of oblong cookies, perfect for dunking, in Italy, these are known as “cantucci” or “cantuccini.” But what’s in a name? No matter what you call them, the twice-baked treat needs to find a way into your kitchen this weekend. They store well, so make one of the following eight recipes, and nosh on them all week long.
Rocco DiSpirito gave his simple, no-fuss biscotti recipe to Food Network. The anise makes it one of the “classic” flavors of biscotti, a category which also includes almond and hazelnut.
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon anise extract, or 3 drops anise oil
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and anise flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to ½-inch thickness.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into ½-inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Cookie slices should be lightly toasted.
2. Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Haven’t you always wanted to eat cookies for breakfast? As New to the Table points out, this totally becomes acceptable when you’re eating biscotti. Even if you aren’t taking bites of chocolatey chip goodness with your morning brew, this makes a wonderful mid-day snack.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pans
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the baking sheets
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 or 2 tablespoons milk, if necessary
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Add extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the dough a little at a time, beating until just incorporated and adding a little milk if needed to bring the dough together. Fold in chocolate chips.
Butter two baking sheets and dust them with flour, then turn them upside down and tap to remove excess flour. Divide the dough in half and form a 2-inch wide log on each sheet. (If your dough is too sticky to handle just scoop it on to the sheet in a line and use your fingers to gently shape it into a log. It will smooth out as it bakes!)
Bake until the loaves are beginning to crack on top, about 30 minutes; cool the logs on the sheets for a few minutes and lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
When loaves are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut each loaf on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Put the slices on the sheets and return them to the oven to bake another 15 to 20 minutes. Flip cookies once during baking to make sure both sides dry out. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
3. Maple Walnut Biscotti
Maple syrup might join your breakfast table for pancakes or waffles, but why not use it to sweeten baked goods like biscotti too? The flavor speaks to breakfast time, but enjoy these biscotti from King Arthur Flour anytime of day with a cup of coffee. When cut to be between 4 and 6 inches, the recipe yields about three dozen biscotti.
- 2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon maple flavor, optional
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple sugar, for topping; optional
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking sheet; or line with parchment. Toast the walnuts by spreading them in a single layer in a 9 x 13 (or similar size) pan, and baking in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 8 to 10 minutes, till they’re a light golden brown.
Beat together the eggs, sugars, maple syrup, and maple flavor, if you’re using it. Add the melted butter, beating till smooth. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt, then the nuts. Divide the dough in half on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your wet fingers, shape each half into a rough 10-inch rectangle, about 4 inches wide and half an inch thick.
Using your wet fingers or a wet bowl scraper, smooth the top and sides of the rectangles. Sprinkle the top of each rectangle with 1 tablespoon maple sugar, if desired. Bake the biscotti dough for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes; cooling the dough allows you to cut it more easily, with less crumbling.
Use a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife to cut the baked dough, slightly on the diagonal, into generous 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the slices close together on the prepared baking sheet. If you can balance them upright (rather than laying them flat), so much the better; you won’t have to turn them during their second bake. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, till the biscotti’s cut sides are beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheet.
4. Double Chocolate Mocha Biscotti
Elena’s Pantry has a biscotti that is not only gluten-free, but it also removes eggs from the recipe. The biscotti are also sweetened with honey and get a strong boost of flavor from the coffee and cocoa powder. It makes bout 14 biscotti.
- 2¼ cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 tablespoon (organic) decaf coffee, espresso grind
- ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup chocolate chunks
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a food processor, combine almond flour, cacao powder, arrowroot powder, ground coffee, salt, and baking soda. Pulse until ingredients are well combined. Pulse in honey until the dough forms a ball. Remove dough from food processor and work in dark chocolate with your hands. Form dough into two logs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven and cool for 1 hour. Cut the logs into ½-inch slices on the diagonal with a very sharp knife. Spread slices out on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, set, and become crispy. Serve.
5. Cinnamon Biscotti
Chocolate, Chocolate and More calls this biscotti a kind of “grown up” cinnamon toast.
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon butter extract (can use vanilla or almond also)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- for topping
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
Directions: Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk, beating well. Blend in butter extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, just give a quick stir with a whisk or fork to blend. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, making sure ingredients come together to form a stiff dough.
Shape dough into a long log, about 3 inches by 10 to 12 inches. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg, combine sugar and cinnamon topping and generously sprinkle over log. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven.
Remove from oven and while still warm, slice diagonally into ¾ to 1 inch slices. Place slices back on baking tray, slice side down. sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Place back in oven for 15 minutes, until just golden. Let cool completely then store in air tight container.
6. Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscotti
This recipe from Java Cupcake is not your nonna’s biscotti. Although it is twice baked like all biscotti, the flavors are a departure from the traditional and a take peanut butter lovers are sure to adore.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (NOT all natural)
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1½ cups peanut butter chips
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the two sugars until there are no more lumps.
Add the peanut butter and cream on high for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and cream again for 30 seconds. One at a time, add the eggs and mix well after each addition. After all the eggs have been added, scrape the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and beat on high for 30 seconds. With the mixer on low-medium speed, add half the flour and mix until just incorporated. Pour in the milk and then the remaining flour. Mix until just incorporated.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and pour in the peanut butter chips. Mix on low-medium speed until the chips have been evenly distributed or about 10 seconds. Note: The dough will be thick and sticky at this point. Separate the dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into a 4×6-inch rectangle about half an inch thick and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Rotate the pans half way through baking. Allow to cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes.
Cut each loaf into ½- to ¾-inch slices. Place each slice cut side down back onto the lined baking sheet. Bake each side for about 8 to 10 minutes or until dry. Cool biscotti on the pans for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the dipping chocolate, line a clean baking sheet with wax paper. Gently melt two thirds of the chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Once completely melted, add the remaining chocolate and still until smooth. Remove from the heat. Dip the long, bottom edge of each biscotti into the chocolate. Tap off any excess chocolate and gently scrape the long edge against the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Sprinkle a few chopped peanuts over the chocolate. Set dipped biscotti on the wax paper chocolate side up and allow to set at least 20 minutes before serving.
7. Almond Biscotti
For something a little more tried and traditional, make this almond biscotti from Food.com. It will make about dunk-worthy twenty biscotti cookies.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto (OR 2 tablespoons rum with 1 teaspoon almond extract)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon anise extract (optional)
- 1 cup whole almond, toasted and chopped a few times, not too fine
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Whisk the eggs, amaretto (if using, or the almond extract and rum), vanilla and anise extracts in your mixer until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Dough should be thick and sticky at this point — do not worry, and do not add more flour! Scrape the dough out onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
Flour your hands and shape into a long flat loaf about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. This will be kind of messy, so don’t worry about how neat it is, just try to get it in that general shape. Bake until firm and dry, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minute.
Use a long serrated knife and slice into ½-inch wide slices. Lay the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and bake another 20 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake 20 minutes more, or until the cookies are a light golden brown. Cool the biscotti on a rack; cool completely before storing.
8. Brownie Biscotti
All of the richness of brownies is packed into a crunchy biscotti with this recipe from Penzeys Spices. Mini chocolate chips provide an extra dose of chocolate, and it yields about 24.
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder (natural or Dutch Process)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder; stir into creamed mixture on low until well blended. Dough will be stiff. By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Divide dough into two equal parts and place on prepared baking sheet. Shape each into 9x2x1-inch logs making sure they are 4 inches apart. You can also use two pans. Blend the egg yolk and water together and brush the loaves lightly with the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm. Remove from pan, cool for 30 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaves diagonally into 1-inch slices. Return the slices to the covered baking sheet, placing them on their sides. Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes on each side or until dry. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.