American Style Biscotti

The first time I had biscotti, it came out of a large clear box from Costco. You knew it was fancy from the pseudo Italian splashed across the front label in elegant cursive (and the hefty price tag!). Each one was individually encased in a plastic wrapper that showed off the drizzled chocolate and slivers of almond inside. They weren’t an everyday kind of cookies – this was the stash you kept you in the top drawer as a treat, or to impress your guests with coffee after dinner.

For the longest time, I thought biscotti were just too delicate and unachievable for a home baker, but now that I’ve made them a few times, they’re actually much easier to master than an average cookie. Because you don’t slice them until after the first bake, there’s no need to worry about them expanding too much in the oven and losing their shape. It’s also much easier to achieve the hard, crunchy texture of a biscotti than the soft, chewy consistency of a chocolate chip cookie or the crisp brittleness of a ginger snap.

Traditional Italian biscotti contain no fat content other than eggs, which makes them much harder and more suited for dipping, and are typically flavoured with some anise oil. American style ones are more tender from added butter or oil and are pretty enjoyable just on their own. I’ve tried this recipe with both butter and oil and prefer the butter – aside from imparting better flavour it gives just the right level of crunch whereas the ones made with oil can end up too tender.

The flavour pairings here are just a few suggestions, feel free to experiment with any kind of extract, dry mix-ins and drizzle toppings that you like!

Classic Vanilla Biscotti

Ingredients (makes 10 – 15 biscotti)

  • 1 large egg
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 120g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, butter, sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
  3. Mix together the the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and continue beating until it comes together into a smooth dough. It should feel sticky but not wet to the touch.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangular log about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 325F. Brush the top lightly with water to help soften the crust and make slicing them easier. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Slice the log with a knife into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. You can slice them parallel along the short edge to get smaller uniform sized biscotti or diagonally to get a variety of sizes.
  8. Place the biscotti back in the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t worry if the centers don’t feel completely dry as they will harden and continue to cook as they cool.
  9. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
  10. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a bowl of hot water. Transfer the chocolate into a small piping bag and snip a small hole at the end. Drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the cooled biscotti. You can also dip the biscotti directly into the chocolate.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients (makes 10 – 15 biscotti)

  • 1 large egg
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 65g sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 105g flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, butter, sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
  3. Mix together the the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and continue beating until it comes together into a smooth dough. It should feel sticky but not wet to the touch.
  4. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  5. Scrape the dough onto a lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangular log about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 325F. Brush the top lightly with water to help soften the crust and make slicing them easier. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Slice the log with a knife into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. You can slice them parallel along the short edge to get smaller uniform sized biscotti or diagonally to get a variety of sizes.
  9. Place the biscotti back in the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t worry if the centers don’t feel completely dry as they will harden and continue to cook as they cool.
  10. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Lemon Blueberry Biscotti

Ingredients (makes 10 – 15 biscotti)

  • 1 large egg
  • 30g butter, melted
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 1 large lemon, about 1 tsp
  • 135g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g dried blueberries
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest until well mixed.
  3. Mix together the the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and continue beating until it comes together into a smooth dough. It should feel sticky but not wet to the touch.
  4. Fold in the dried blueberries.
  5. Scrape the dough onto a lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangular log about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 325F. Brush the top lightly with water to help soften the crust and make slicing them easier. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Slice the log with a knife into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. You can slice them parallel along the short edge to get smaller uniform sized biscotti or diagonally to get a variety of sizes.
  9. Place the biscotti back in the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t worry if the centers don’t feel completely dry as they will harden and continue to cook as they cool.
  10. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
  11. Meanwhile, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth and drizzle over the biscotti with a spoon.

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