Biscotti. You can’t have just one.
No…literally, you can’t have just one biscotti, because biscotti is the plural form. If you only have one, you have a biscotto. The word biscotti (and biscuit, for that matter) comes from the Latin root: bis – coctus, meaning “twice-cooked,” and they are, indeed, baked twice. What I like best about biscotti is that the recipe is essentially a blank slate that allows for myriad variations.
Below you’ll find two of my variations: Classic biscotti, with that lemon and anise-seed flavor, and my Holiday biscotti, with orange and cranberries. Check the Notes for ideas on additional variations.
Biscotti–Classic and Holiday
Makes about 2 dozen biscotti
- 6 tbsp softened (not melted) butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- For Classic biscotti
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp anise seeds
- 1 oz brandy
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- For Holiday biscotti
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 oz brandy
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the softened butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and, using the whisk attachment on a stand-mixer, whisk them together on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Switch to the mixer’s paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl. Then mix until they’re all evenly incorporated.
- Add the zest from your chosen flavor (and anise seeds for Classic biscotti). Mix a bit to distribute.
- Add the eggs and brandy (and vanilla for Holiday biscotti), and mix until the dough comes together. Lift out the paddle and detach the mixing bowl.
- Add the almonds (and cranberries for Holiday biscotti) to the bowl and, with your hands, incorporate them into the dough for even distribution.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, divide it into two, and form each half into a log about 10-12″ long.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and position the two logs on it.
- Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F, rotating the sheet halfway through.
- When a cake tester or skewer comes out clean and the logs are stiff, take them out and let them cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.
- With a serrated/bread knife, cut each log on the bias into 3/4″ thick slices to make 10-12 biscotti.
- Place the sliced biscotti back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Some people lay each slice on its side, but I prefer to stand them upright with a finger’s width space between each slice.
- Put the sheet back in the oven and bake them again, at 350°F, for about 15 minutes.
- The biscotti are ready when each slice is thoroughly toasted and has little to no give when you press it gently on the cut sides. They don’t have to be “toasty brown” to be done.
- Remove and let cool.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Almonds are more pliable and easier to cut when they are warm. Heat them in a dry pan over a low heat for about 10 minutes (don’t scorch them), turn them out onto a board, and it’ll be easier to chop them evenly. For slivered almonds, it’s really worth the extra few dimes to buy them pre-slivered, in bulk foods section at the grocers.
- You can easily double the recipe (mo’ is betta), but you’ll have to extend the cook times by about 50%.
- For an extra bit of luxury, take the completely cooked and cooled biscotti and dip them or drizzle them with tempered dark or white chocolate. Decadence!
- Experiment with flavorings. Try chopped dates, prunes, sultanas, or currants instead of cranberries. Try pistachios instead of almonds.