Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Biscotti, But Were Afraid To Ask - Including Easy Biscotti Recipes!


Before we share our easy biscotti recipes for the best biscotti around, here is a little biscotti history for you including the origin of biscotti and the answer to the question, "What is the definition of biscotti?"

What is the definition of biscotti?

That depends.

In Italian, biscotti literally means twice baked, but at the same time any type of cookie may be called biscotti in Italy.

In North America, biscotti refers to a specific type of Italian cookie or biscuit, that is derived from the Tuscan cantucci, a hard almond flavored cookie that is baked twice and usually served with the sweet Italian dessert wine, vin santo.

What is the origin of biscotti?

According to Giada De Laurentiis, In her cookbook Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes, the origin of biscotti dates back to the time of Columbus, and were eaten by the sailors because they last for a long time without going bad. The person who invented biscotti is believed to have been a Tuscan baker.

Bowl of Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Bowl of Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Traditional Italian biscotti tend to be extremely hard and most often dipped in vin santo. Biscotti typically available in the US tend to be less hard, but are still good for dipping, although, here we are much more apt to dip them in our espresso or coffee, than sweet wine.

During the past several years, biscotti have become wildly popular, particularly in coffee shops. But the truth is they don't compare to homemade biscotti, which are so much tastier and more interesting than the kind from the store. It seems like the flavor variations are endless and their texture can vary from slightly chewy to hard and crunchy, depending on the biscotti recipe.

How are biscotti made?

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Biscottii

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Biscotti

Recipes for the best biscotti, start with stiff sticky dough that is shaped into long logs or slabs and then baked on a cookie sheet. Once cooled, the logs are sliced on a diagonal and baked again. The longer they are baked, the harder they will become.

The nice thing about biscotti is that they can be made and baked in stages. You can make the dough and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two. Then you can form the dough into logs and bake them one day and then store the biscotti slabs at room temperature for up to a day before slicing them and baking them a second time. This flexibility makes biscotti a perfect cookie for the busy home baker.

Biscotti make a great gift since they are sturdy and keep well. I like to give biscotti wrapped in cellophane bags tied with ribbon as Christmas gifts, along with bottles of vin santo or bags of coffee beans. With so many delicious easy biscotti recipes to choose from, the flavor options seem endless.

Before we get to our favorite easy biscotti recipes, here are some tricks and tips to make sure the time you spend baking biscotti goes off without a hitch.

Biscotti Making Tips and Tricks

  • Biscotti are one category of cookies that are best made with an electric stand mixer because the dough is so sturdy. Hand held mixers often don't have the power to mix the thick, sticky biscotti dough.
  • Dust your work surface and your hands with flour before beginning to try to form the dough into logs. It will be a sticky, messy job, but one that is well worth it. Add small amounts of more flour as necessary until you have shaped them into the size log/slab specified in your recipe.
  • Always begin with a cool baking sheet. If it is hot from the oven, your biscotti dough will melt and spread before it has a chance to bake.
  • Use sturdy baking sheets, either rimmed or not. Many books suggest baking cookies on rimless pans, but I have always had good success with rimmed pans.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat, which will help to bake the cookies more evenly and make cleanup much easier.
  • Bake your biscotti in the middle of the oven for best results. If baked on the bottom, they are apt to burn.
  • To keep biscotti crisp store them in an airtight container.

Sources:

Easy Biscotti Recipes

We hope you enjoy this growing collection, including what we consider to be some recipes for the best biscotti anywhere!

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