What Are Biscotti?
The Italian word biscotti (singular: biscotto) comes from the medieval Latin biscoctus, a twice-baked cookie or bread. In Italy, “biscotti” refers broadly to many varieties of cookies, most of which are not twice-baked. Outside of Italy, the most popular style of biscotti is the hard, twice-baked biscotti di Prato (aka cantucci).
Biscotti di Prato emerged in the eighteenth century, made simply from flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts, and slivered almonds; the dough is formed into a slab, baked, sliced on the diagonal, and baked a second time. In the 1980s, this type of biscotti became immensely popular in the United States, where the cookie has become even more common than in Italy. Add-ins and substitutions include hazelnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, dried fruit such as cranberries, orange or lemon zest, almond extract, anise extract, and a drizzle of melted chocolate.
How to Serve Biscotti
Traditionally, biscotti are served with a dessert wine for dunking after dinner. Since biscotti hold their shape after dunking, they're also a great choice for serving with coffee or tea, especially since the sweetness of the biscotti helps balance out the bitterness of an espresso drink.
Classic Pistachio Biscotti Recipe
Prep Time20 min
Total Time1 hr 10 min
Cook Time50 min
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, combine four, baking soda, salt, and pistachios. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir together until incorporated.
- Divide the cookie dough into three equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 1¼ inches in diameter. Arrange the logs on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the outside of the log is light golden brown, about 40 minutes.
- Carefully transfer cookie logs to a cutting board and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a serrated knife to cut logs on the diagonal into 1-inch slices. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down.
- Bake for about five minutes until the tops are a light golden brown, then flip and bake for another five minutes until the bottoms are the same color. (The "crust" will be a deeper golden brown.) Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Become a better chef with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by culinary masters, including Gabriela Cámara, Chef Thomas Keller, Massimo Bottura, Dominique Ansel, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, and more.