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What Are Biscotti?
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). The Italian word biscotti (singular: biscotto) comes from the medieval Latin biscoctus, a twice-baked cookie or bread.
Biscotti di Prato emerged in the eighteenth century, made simply from flour, sugar, eggs, pine nuts, and slivered almonds; In the 1980s, this type of biscotti became immensely popular in the United States, where the crunchy Italian cookie has become even more common than in Italy.
How Are Biscotti Made?
In order to achieve biscotti’s uniquely sturdy texture, the dough is formed into a slab or log, then placed in the oven for a first bake. The biscotti is then removed from the oven and allowed to cool slightly before being sliced on the diagonal and returned to the oven for a second bake. That second baking is what gives biscotti its signature crumble. Add-ins and substitutions include hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, chocolate chunks, dried fruit such as cranberries, orange or lemon zest, almond extract (for the ever-popular almond biscotti), anise extract, caramel, and a drizzle of melted chocolate for even more chocolate flavor.
What to Serve With Biscotti
Traditionally, biscotti are served with a dessert wine, like Tuscan vin santo, 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.
Chocolate 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
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or chopped dark chocolate (for an optional double chocolate biscotti)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer, 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 flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir together until incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips, if using.
- Divide 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 crisp (you’ll have to go off of touch since the dark color of the chocolate will make it harder to see the toasted surface, just like when baking brownies), then flip and bake for another five minutes until the bottoms are equally crispy. Remove from oven, and let the crunchy chocolate cookies cool completely on a wire rack.
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