Add your own touches to this recipe and make your morning cup of coffee a special event.
We’ve had a string of summer guests, my husband likes biscotti, and our excellent Italian market has closed its doors. The result? I have become a biscotti baker and it is easy. Here is a good recipe and lots of ideas about how you can add your own favorites from nuts and dried fruit to chia and golden flax seeds. These make a good hostess gift.
Biscotti are baked twice which keeps them fresh for a long time. The Roman legions marched to war fueled by biscotti, but I digress. The main ingredients of traditional biscotti are flour, sugar, eggs and almonds or pine nuts. I prefer the modern recipes which include eggs, baking powder, butter, almond extract, dried fruit and can be dipped in a glaze or chocolate. The butter produces a rich, tender biscotti that is slightly soft inside. Why eat like a Roman soldier when we don’t have to?
Here is my favorite recipe with some suggested adaptations. Feel free to add and subtract once you have included the basics.
The Basic Ingredients
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon almond extract
1½ cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
1 egg white
Go wild with personal preferences
You can omit…
Half the sugar and some of the cranberries.
No real need for the white chocolate glaze (but it is delicious).
You can add….
Vanilla extract, cinnamon, anise and any other spice you love. I put in more than the recipe suggests.
Grated orange or lemon peel and orange extract.
Chopped dried fruit. I have used apricots, sour cherries, raisins, and dried mango. Soak any of the dried fruit in brandy for 24+ hours if you like.
Nuts. I have used almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and pine nuts – chopped, toasted or both. Almonds can be peeled or unpeeled. I used Marcona almonds once and the biscotti were delicious. I want to try macadamias.
Chocolate. 6 ounces good-quality white chocolate for a glaze.
Chocolate chips: white, dark or semi-sweet to put into the biscotti
You can substitute…
½ brown sugar for ½ white
Whole wheat flour for white
Preparation of the basic biscotti
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine 2½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend.
- Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, 2 eggs and almond extract (add vanilla or other extracts here) in large bowl until well blended.
- Mix in flour mixture, then dried cranberries (add other dried fruit and nuts here). Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, shape each piece into 2½-inch-wide, 9 ½-inch-long, 1-inch-high log. Transfer both logs to prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush egg white glaze on top and sides of each log.
- Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 35 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on rack. (I cut them when they are still warm so they don’t crumble.) Maintain oven temperature. Transfer logs to work surface. Discard parchment. Using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same sheet. Bake 10 minutes; turn biscotti over. Bake until just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Transfer biscotti to rack.
If you want a chocolate glaze….
Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over biscotti. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
These biscotti can be made one week ahead, but they will be eaten faster than that. Freeze in an airtight container or Ziploc bags. Thaw at room temperature. Freeze without the glaze and add it before you serve the biscotti.
Credit for header image https://www.123rf.com/profile_jessmine