A great, foolproof Biscotti recipe is something that every baker (even the weekend-warrior type) should have in his or her arsenal. Like a little black dress, crunchy biscotti is an ideal treat that carries from day to night, as perfect with your latte during your morning commute as with your after-dinner herbal tea.
Biscotti are a quintessential Italian cookie that’s also known as cantuccini - coffee bread – aptly called since it’s usually presented alongside a steaming cup of coffee. The traditional shape is a thin and long, with rounded ends. The actually meaning of the word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, which means, “twice baked”, and which pretty much describes how this treat is made. The double baking renders the biscuit dry and crumbly, giving it a longer shelf life than other baked goods, and making it ideal to carry on long trips, for mailing as holiday gifts, or for storing.
The basic recipe for Italian biscotti is simple and straightforward – flour, eggs, salt and sugar – but the American version also adds butter and baking powder, for a moister and more airy texture. It’s the perfect canvas for culinary creativity – you can use your imagination (and your favorite ingredients) and make savory biscotti with cheese and herbs, or sweet with chocolate or sour with cranberries or cherries…there are no limitations…but there are some rules.
The trick to a great biscotti is making sure that you get the texture just right, crunchy but not tooth-breaking hard, and crumbly enough to be enjoyable without disintegrating in your hands. And that means paying attention during the baking process to make sure you don’t overcook the dough – which will turn the biscotti rock-hard. The biscotti dough itself is pretty wet – thanks to the butter and eggs – and that great moisture will turn your biscuits light, so you don’t want to dry them out completely.
We like our biscotti like we like our latte – grande! Our walnut biscotti recipe is simple and easy, and turns out some deliciously crunchy biscotti with just enough sweetness. To amp up the wow factor, we dipped them in tempered chocolate for a “corner bakery look” and incredible flavor. Plain biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks (note that they will turn harder as days pass). If you choose to dip them in chocolate like we did, they will last a 3-4 days.
Need some ingredients? Go shopping! Check out our great selection of biscotti ingredients in our Baking and Pastry section.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate pistoles (70% cacao), tempered
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- In a different bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate one before you add the next. Add the vanilla extract and slowly incorporate the sifted flour mix until the dough is stiff. Stir in the walnuts.
- With floured hands, divide the dough into two equal pieces, and shape each into loaves of about 10 x 4 inches, and about ¾-1 inch tall.
- Transfer both dough pieces onto a baking sheet lines with parchment paper, spaced apart (as they will grow).
- Bake until just golden, no more than 30 minutes and remove from the oven. Cool until just warm. Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise with into ½-inch strips.
- Transfer to a freshly lined baking sheet, and continue to bake for another 12 minutes until crisp, turning the biscotti over halfway through.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Dip the cool biscotti into the melted tempered chocolate, about halfway through, letting excess drip off. Let cool on a rack.