Biscotti, in Italian pronunciation, and biscuits in English, are also known as cantucci. They are Italian almond cookies originating from the Tuscan town of Prato. They are cooked twice, oblong in shape, crisp, and dry. Biscotti can be dipped in a drink, usually Vin Santo. Although biscotti were traditionally almond-flavored, now they are available in a wide variety of flavors.
It is relatively easy to bake biscotti. A basic recipe includes flour, eggs, sugar, nuts, fruits or spices, and sometimes butter. The dough is formed into a square loaf about an inch thick, which is baked like a scone. When baked to a regular biscuit consistency, the loaf is removed from the oven and sliced diagonally. The slices are then laid out flat on a cookie sheet and baked again to crispiness.
What Is Biscotti?
Cantuccio is an old Italian word that means corner, nook, or little place. In the past, it was used to indicate a small piece of bread with a lot of crust. The word biscotto, used in modern Italian, refers to the biscuit or cracker. It comes from the medieval Latin word Biscoctus which means twice baked.
Biscotti characterized baked goods that were baked twice which means that they were dry. Also, they could be stored for a longer period. These non-perishable foods were used during travel and war. Biscotti or twice-baked goods have been a staple food for the Roman Legions.
Today, regional variations of the original are still valid but modern, mass-produced biscotti are closer to cantuccini variants of the biscotti. Modern biscotti recipes can contain nuts such as hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds or spices such as cinnamon or anise. Also, modern recipes include the addition of spices or baking powder to the flour. Walnuts are then added to allow their coating while leaving the skin when hazelnuts and almonds are used.
In modern variations, the eggs are beaten together with any moist flavoring such as almond extract before being added to the dry ingredients. After baking twice, the biscotti can be dipped in a glaze such as chocolate.
How To Use Biscotti
As they are very dry, biscotti are traditionally served with a drink in which they can be dipped. In Italy, they are often served as an after-dinner dessert. Other than Italy, they are mostly accompanied by coffee such as lattes or cappuccinos, or black tea.
How To Make Biscotti Cookies
You might have tried chocolate pistachio cheesecake, but the chocolate biscotti recipe is worth trying. To make chocolate biscotti, you have to add unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the biscotti batter. Use ¼ cup less flour to account for the added cocoa powder. Once made, chocolate biscotti can be dipped in white or dark chocolate.
To make cranberry orange biscotti, mix the orange zest with creamed butter and sugar. Then fold the dried cranberries into a biscotti batter. Also, you can use pistachios and almonds for cranberry orange biscotti.
Best Biscottini Recipes
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3 cups unbleached white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, divided
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarse sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup whole almond with skin
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds for 8? 10 minutes, cool and chop coarsely.
Combine 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, salt, 1? cups sugar, and extracts, mix well. Gradually add flour and almonds, mix well to form the dough.
On a floured surface lightly knead the dough, divide the dough in half. Roll each into 1 ?? diameter log, about 14? long. Place the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet, the logs will spread when cooking.
Lightly whisk remaining egg white, brush on top of each log. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over each log and gently press the sugar into the dough. Bake for 20- 30 minutes until firm to the touch, remove and cool for 10 minutes.
Cut each log into ?? slices, lay all the slices cut side down onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Lower heat to 300 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, turning once.
Cool completely before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
American-Style Vanilla Biscotti
Unlike classic Italian biscotti, which are quite hard, you can enjoy crunchy and light biscotti with this recipe.
- Butter – 6 Tbsp, Salted or Unsalted
- Sugar – 2/3 Cup, Granulated
- Salt – 1/2 Tsp
- Vanilla Extract – 2 To 3 Tsp
- Almond Extract – 1/4 Tsp, Optional
- Baking Powder – 1 1/2 Tsp
- Eggs – 2 Large
- All-Purpose Flour – 2 Cups
- Coarse Sparkling Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a large baking sheet of 18″ x 13″ dimensions.
- In a medium bowl, beat the butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, sugar, and salt until you get a creamy and smooth mixture.
- Scramble the eggs and dough may appear slightly curdled at the low speed of your mixer, add flour while stirring until smooth. The dough will get sticky.
- Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Split in half and shape it into two 9 1/2″ x 2″ logs about 3/4″ high. Straighten the logs and smooth the tops and sides with a damp putty knife or scraper. Sprinkle the coarse white sparkling sugar.
- Bake the dough for 25 minutes and remove it from the oven.
- Use a spray bottle filled with water at room temperature, spray the logs lightly but thoroughly. Make sure that you have coated the top and sides of the baked dough. If the crust is a little soft, it will be easier for you to slice the biscotti. Now reduce the temperature of the oven to 325°F.
- Wait 5 minutes and use a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife to cut the log into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Also, you can cut the biscotti diagonally, for longer and fewer biscotti. When slicing, be sure to slice from top to bottom such as perpendicular to the pan. If you cut them unevenly, the biscotti might be thicker on the top than the bottom. Now tip over on the second bake.
- Arrange the biscotti on the edge of the prepared baking sheet. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake biscotti for another 25 to 30 minutes until they turn brown and dry. They will still feel a little wet in the center if you break off a piece but they will continue to dry out as they cool.
- Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature and they will stay good for weeks.
Biscotti – Italian Dried Cookies
The word biscotti in modern Italian means cracker or biscuit. Biscotti are Italian almond cookies originating from the Tuscan town of Prato. Biscotti is relatively easier to cook with simple ingredients. In the past, they were only made or available in the almond flavor but now they are available in a wide variety of flavors.
Now you can make cranberry or chocolate biscotti or American-style vanilla biscotti. If you want to make traditional biscotti, then you can use our best biscotti recipe. You will not like eating biscotti without a dip. It is because biscotti are dried by baking them twice. They are dry enough that you have to use a sauce, dip, coffee, or tea.