Biscotti is the type of cookies that always makes me feel happy and satisfied every time I bake them. It doesn’t cost a lot of efforts to prepare Biscotti and also doesn’t require high-level baking skills or techniques. Everything seems to be very straightforward. Just follow the recipe and after 60 minutes, you will have a bunch of crispy, crunchy, light and airy Biscotti, which can go along very well with any kinds of tea or coffee.
Originally from Italy, the name of this cookie reveals its most special characteristic: being baked twice ( “bis” means “twice”, and “cotto” means “bake”). In general, Biscotti is usually baked into a slab-formed cookie in the first time; then it is cut into several slices and baked again for the second time. Thanks to this second baking, the cookie turns to be dry, airy and crunchy, and can be stored for quite a long time.
There are many recipes for Biscotti but the recipe that I’m gonna share with you below is my most favourite of all time. The highlights of this recipe include: (1) eggs to be beaten to ribbon stage (very fluffy and light stage, similar to when we make sponge cake), giving the Biscotti a light and airy texture, and (2) butter: not so much but enough to provide a buttery, smooth and melt-in-the-mouth flavor. On top of that, from this “demo” recipe, it’s very easy to create new versions of Biscotti just by changing the nuts or fruits, or use other spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.) or powder like matcha or cocoa.
* EQUIPMENT: One large baking sheet (minimum 20 x 35 cm/ 8 x 14 inches) lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- 40 gram (3 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract (optional)
- 180 gram (1-½ cup) all-purpose flour
- 50 gram (½ cup plus ½ Tbsp) almond powder
- 5 gram (1 tsp) baking powder
- 2 eggs (60 gram/egg including shell) – at room temperature
- 105 gram (½ cup plus 1 tsp) caster sugar
- 80 gram (almost 3 oz.) pistachios (almost 3 oz.)
- 80 gram (almost 3 oz.) dried cranberries
– Butter should not be replaced with oil or margarine because the flavour will be less tasty.
– Almond powder can be ground from whole almonds or sliced/slivered almonds. If you don’t have it on hand, substitute with 20 gram (2 Tbsp) all-purpose flour and 30 gram (3 Tbsp) corn starch.
– Pistachios and dried cranberries can be substituted with any types of nuts or dried fruits you like (walnuts, macadamias, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, apricots, prunes…). If you’d like to use chocolate chips, decrease the amount of sugar used so that the cookies will not be overly sweet.
– For the nuts to be more tasty, you can bake them at 160 – 170˚C/ 320 – 340˚F for about 5 – 7 minutes.
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* Printable recipe
1. Pre-heat the oven at 175˚C/ 347˚F – top and bottom heat. Line the baking sheet with wax/parchment paper or a baking mat.
2. Melt butter, add in vanilla extract, mix well and keep warm.
3. Add eggs and sugar into a mixing bowl. Simmer some water in a small pan. Put the bowl with the eggs and sugar onto the pan and keep whisking constantly for 1 – 2 minutes. When the eggs become lukewarm, take the bowl out. Start beating at low speed, then gradually raise the speed to highest. The egg mixture will turns thicker, smoother and has a bright pale color. In the last 1 – 2 minutes, beat at medium-low speed to helps the air bubbles in the beaten egg to be stable.
3. In a bowl, sift in flour, almond powder and baking powder. Mix well. Divide flour into 3 parts and the butter mixture also into 3 parts. Simultaneously sift the flour and butter into the bowl. Beat at the lowest setting until everything is well blended; then add in the next portion of flour and butter.
Only mix until the ingredients are just incorporated. You can also fold the ingredients in with a spatula or a wire whisk. If using a mixer, don’t forget to scrape down the flour sticking to the edge of the bowl.
4. Finally, add in fruits and nuts. Fold until everything is moistened.
5. Pour the dough onto the baking sheet. Dip your hands into water to make them wet. Then with these wet hands, quickly shape the dough into a log, which is about 30 cm/ 12 inches in length, and 8 – 10 cm/ 4 inches in width. As the dough is rather sticky, the water will help prevent the dough sticking to our hands. I prefer using water to flour to coat my hands as extra flour may make the cookies drier.
6. Bake at 175˚C/ 347˚F in 20 – 25 min until the top and sides of the cake turn golden brown and is slightly firm to the touch. If the inside of the cake appears to be wet and mushy whereas the top and sides are browned, baking temperature needs to be adjusted (either the temperature is too high or the tray is too close to the top heat).
7. Take the baking pan out of the oven, let cool 10 minutes. When the cookies are almost completely cool, use a very sharp knife (a serrated knife is most preferred), slice them into 1 – 1.5 cm (1/4 – 1/2 inches) thick slices.
8. Turn the heat of the oven down to 160˚C/ 320˚F. Place all of the cookie slices back on the baking tray, cut side up. Return them to the oven and bake for about 8 – 10 min. Then flip the biscotti over and bake other side for another 5 – 8 min.
* Note: The longer the cookies stay in the oven, the drier, crunchier and crispier they will be. Hence, they can be very hard and dry if being left too long in the oven. So, keep an eye on the cookies in this second bake. I normally take them out when they are still a little bit soft to the touch. Then after being cooled down, they will have the perfect crispy and crunchy texture.
9. Store in an airtight container or bag. If you live in highly humid area, you can place a packaged desiccant inside the container or bag. Use within 3 – 4 weeks.
* Note: Biscotti dough should not be kneaded and shaped into small balls like other regular cookies because they may form hard crust while the inside is still wet when baked.