What are Biscotti?
Biscotti (or biscotto for a single cookie) are twice-baked, crispy, and crunchy Italian cookies that are most traditionally served alongside espresso and dipped into that espresso to become soft and palatable. However, this is not historically true of biscotti.
Biscotti date back to the Roman Empire. They were initially a nourishing (intentionally dried out) convenience food practical for travelers because they remained fresh for an extended period. After the fall of the Roman Empire, these crunchy tummy-filling cookies migrated to Tuscany, in which a Tuscan baker reinvented them and served them with sweet wine.
Soon they evolved beyond their reputation for convenience and became culinary works of art, taking on various flavors such as vanilla, almond, orange, anise, and amaretto. Furthermore, they were soaked in a range of hot and cold beverages depending on their preparation.
For our recipe, we add some Indian elements including green cardamom, crushed pistachios, and rosewater. We also dip them in 70% dark chocolate and roll them in more crunchy pistachios and edible rose petals, keeping true to their evolved reputation as art.
They are surprisingly simple, really delicious, and make for beautiful gifts for friends and family. Enjoy them with any range of hot beverages, including a cappuccino or our chai recipe.
Essential Ingredients for Biscotti
- Baking Powder
- Butter / Oil
How to Grease a Baking Sheet
Greasing the baking sheet means coating the baking sheet in a thin layer of butter or oil. The purpose of this step is to ensure the dough does not stick to the surface of the baking sheet. To grease the baking sheet, run a stick of room temperature unsalted butter across the entire surface of the baking sheet to ensure it is well-greased.
Use Butter Instead of Oil
Traditional Italian cooks will have you use oil for their biscotti recipe. However, we found that the use of oil will produce too hard a cookie. Although non-traditional, we use butter for our biscotti recipe because it creates a fluffier dough. When the dough is baked with butter, it hardens into a cookie substance but does not become overly hard to the point where one fears cracking one’s tooth.
How to Cream the Butter and Sugar
To cream the butter and sugar:
- Place the room temperature butter into a mixing bowl.
- Slowly add the sugar and mix the two ingredients using a spatula or a hand or stand mixer.
If you use a hand or stand mixer, mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Once mixed, the butter and sugar mixture should appear light and fluffy.
Not all Vanilla Extracts are Created Equal
For this recipe, I suggest buying a high-quality vanilla extract. Imitation vanilla extract is derived from wood pulp products, ugh. This gives the extract a harsh and bitter flavor. Alternatively, the higher quality brands are soft and palatable, though perhaps a bit pricier.
The vanilla extract should be “pure” or “100% vanilla” harvested from vanilla bean pods. Check the labels and the ingredients to ensure you are getting the “real deal.” I advocate for extracts from Madagascar as I find the flavor is pronounced and round, but there are many equally reputable options from Mexico and Tahiti.
To learn more about what store-bought brands to choose from, check out this Spruce Eats article.
Rolling Out and Forming the Dough
When adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until combined. If you are using a stand mixer, mix at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to over mix the dough as it will tear easily.
Once the dough is mixed, remove it from the stand mixer or bowl. Flour a surface by sprinkling flour over a flat surface. Then, roll out the dough on the floured surface with a rolling pin. Finally, use your hands to form a rectangular log that is 1 1/4 inch thick.
The width of the log will depend on the size and amount of cookies you would like to make:
- For miniature biscotti, form the dough into a 2-inch wide log for 20 cookies.
- For full-size biscotti, form the dough into a 4-inch wide log for 10 cookies.
How to Cut the Biscotti Cookies
After the first bake, cut the biscotti log lengthwise and diagonally into 20 miniature or 10 full-sized 1-inch cookies. Use a serrated knife for this task. Additionally, be gentle with each cut to ensure the cookie does not crumble.
Steps for Dipping them in Chocolate
- Combine the solid chocolate bar and the heavy cream in a saucepan at medium-low heat.
- Whisk until it is smooth and luscious.
- Dip those cooled biscotti into the saucepan of chocolate, one by one.
- Coat half of each biscotto cookie with the chocolate sauce by rolling it back and forth in the chocolate sauce.
- Sprinkle crushed pistachios and edible rose petals onto the wet dipped chocolate.
- Place them onto a parchment-lined platter and allow them to cool in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
The First and Second Bakes
The biscotti will undergo two baking sessions. In the first baking session, the log will be baked for 40 minutes, during which it will rise slightly and become a large cookie log. In the second baking session, each sliced cookie will be placed on the baking sheet and baked on either side for 5 minutes until golden brown.
The importance of the second bake is to ensure that the cookies become hard enough to dip into a beverage without immediately breaking.
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature and consume them for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you remove them from the freezer, allow them to thaw at room temperature for 1 hour before consuming them again. We don’t recommend reheating them in the oven since they are dipped in chocolate, and the chocolate will likely melt.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp rose water
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate Dipping Sauce and Garnish
- 3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar 100 grams (we recommend Green & Blacks 70%)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios garnish
- 1/4 cup edible rose petals garnish
1. Preheat the Oven and Grease a Baking Sheet
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
- Grease a baking sheet with room temperature butter.
- Crush the pistachio nuts using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
- Open cardamom pods and grind seeds with a mortar and pestle or in a spice/coffee grinder.
2. Mix Wet Ingredients
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with a spatula or a hand/stand mixer until fluffy.
- Stir in egg, vanilla extract, and rose water using a wooden spoon or hand/stand mixer.
3. Add Dry Ingredients to Wet Ingredients
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl with wet ingredients and blend well with either a wooden spoon or a hand/stand mixer. Blend until smooth.
- Mix in crushed pistachio nuts and cardamom.
4. Roll Out the Dough
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and create a 4-inch wide and 1 1/4-inch high log for full size biscotti or a 2-inch wide and 1 1/4-inch high log for miniature biscotti. The length will depend on the amount of dough you produce.
- Place the dough log onto the greased baking sheet.
5. Bake the Dough - First Bake
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius).
6. Cut the Dough into 10 Full-Sized or 20 Mini Cookies
- Use a serrated knife to cut the log into 10 or 20 even 1-inch slices, depending on the width cookie log.
- Once cut, place the cookies cut-side down on the baking sheet.
7. Bake the Cookies One More Time - Second Bake
- Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Flip the cookies and bake for an additional 5 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
8. Allow them to Cool and Prepare the Chocolate Sauce
- Allow the cookies to cool for 15 minutes.
- Place a saucepan on the stovetop at medium-low heat.
- Add chocolate bar and heavy cream. Whisk until smooth.
9. Dip and Garnish Each Cookie
- Allow the cookies to cool for 15 minutes.
- Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate.
- Roll each cookie into the crushed pistachios and edible rose petals.
- Place the cookies on a platter on parchment paper. Then, place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened.