Making biscotti can seem difficult at first and the process a little lengthy, but this Italian cookie is definitely worth the effort. With this guideline on How to Make Biscotti and just a few tips, you will become a biscotti pro in no time! Includes recipe for Lemon Biscotti.
What are Biscotti?
Biscotti are traditional Italian cookies that mean “twice baked“.
This technique yields a crunchy, crisp and light textured cookie that can be served with a warm beverage such as coffee/tea or more traditionally some Vin Santo (sweet Tuscan dessert wine).
The possibilities are endless with this type of Italian cookie since different flavorings and add-ins such as nuts, candied or dry fruit, extracts, spices and even chocolate chips make each recipe unique.
While all cookies in Italian are called biscotti, the classic Almond Biscotti are often referred to as cantucci.
General Steps on How to Make Biscotti Cookies:
- Sifting or whisking the dry ingredients: This not only incorporates air into the dry ingredients, but provides proper distribution of the leavening agents, yielding a light and tender cookie.
- Mixing the wet ingredients together: This ensures that the ingredients are well combined.
- Adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently knead together: This allows all the ingredients to come together and form the dough. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix.
- Separating the dough into two equal parts and forming “logs”: These “logs” of dough are baked first in this twice baked process.
- Second bake: Once the baked “logs” are cool enough to handle, slice at a 45° angle. Then, bake a second time. This second bake creates that crispy texture biscotti are famous for.
Essential Equipment for Making Biscotti:
- Stand mixer. (can also use mixing bowls, a whisk and a wooden spoon)
- Measuring tools. (spoons/cups)
- Cutting board.
- Serrated knife.
- Baking sheets. Baking sheets should be sturdy to withstand the weight of the logs. They can be rimmed or not. Those without rims are sometimes preferred since the biscotti can slide off the baking sheet easily and onto cooling racks.
- Parchment paper. Parchment paper can be a good alternative and is often used in addition to the baking sheets to prevent over browning of the cookies. The up side to using parchment paper is the easy clean up.
- Biscotti baking pans. Another alternative to baking sheets and parchment paper is biscotti baking pans. These help the logs keeps their shape and gives them a little height.
Tips for Making the Best Biscotti:
- Use ingredients at room temperature. This allows the ingredients to properly combine together which in turn creates a uniform texture in the final product.
- The use of a stand mixer can help with the mixing of ingredients as sometimes the dough can be rather firm. Use the paddle attachment.
- Sticky dough. Wet or oil your hands. This way shaping the dough into logs is much easier.
- Use room temperature baking sheets when putting the logs in the oven during the first bake. Using baking sheets that have been previously in the oven can make the logs soft and not hold their shape.
- Put no more than two logs at a time on the baking sheets as the logs will spread during baking.
- To add a richer flavour and a little more crunch, toast any nuts you may be using in the recipe.
- To slice the logs, use a serrated knife in a back and forth motion for best results. Cutting the biscotti in a rectangular shape or at an angle is personal preference.
- Be gentle when turning the biscotti over in the oven during the second bake to prevent cracking or crumbling of the cookie. A tong can be used to turn the biscotti.
Why are my biscotti hard?
At its origin, biscotti are cookies with little moisture, especially after the second bake. These twice baked cookies are supposed to be hard, dry, crisp, providing plenty of crunch. The perfect cookie for dunking!
The final texture of the cookie depends on the total amount of time spent in the oven. For a slightly softer texture, decrease the time of the second bake. On the contrary, if the biscotti are too soft, increase the duration of the second bake.
How thick should I cut my biscotti?
The thickness of the biscotti is a personal preference. That being said, most recipes will suggest cutting them 1/2″ thick. Keep in mind that cutting them thicker or thinner will affect the final yield. A thinner cut will yield more biscotti versus a thicker one.
Why did my biscotti crumble or break?
The trick to getting an intact biscotti is not only using a serrated knife, but also cutting the logs into slices at the right temperature. It is best to let the logs cool until they can be easily handled as to not burn your fingers.
Waiting too long will cause the logs to be hard and can break while slicing. Not waiting long enough and slicing the logs while too hot can cause it to crumble.
If using nuts in your recipe, chop them finely before incorporated them. This will make them easier to slice.
How to store biscotti?
Since biscotti are dry and have little moisture left after the second bake, their shelf life is significantly increased. They keep well in air tight containers (at room temperature) for up to 4 weeks.
They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What can be done if my biscotti softened during storage?
Biscotti may have softened during storage depending on the different add-ins, for example dried fruit. These ingredients can have some moisture, rendering the cookie soft. A simple fix: just pop those in the oven at 300°F for ten minutes and the biscotti are good as new.
Can biscotti dough be frozen?
Yes. Once the biscotti dough is made, form it into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. When ready to make this decadent treat, thaw the logs overnight in the refrigerator and bake as per recipe.
Can I make this a gluten free biscotti?
Yes. Simply replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking flour (NOT SPONSORED).
How to Make Lemon Biscotti:
Here is an easy Italian biscotti recipe that can be used as a base to create endless variations. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the recipe where you can find other variations that can be made from this basic biscotti recipe.
Orange Biscotti: Replace the lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of orange juice concentrate; replace the lemon zest with that of an orange.
Spiced Biscotti: Eliminate the lemon zest. Add 1 teaspoon of Allspice.
Chocolate Chip Biscotti Recipe: Replace the lemon zest with 1 tablespoon of orange zest. Add ½ cup of dark chocolate mini chocolate chips.
Italian Biscotti Recipes we love:
Nowadays, biscotti have become so versatile that there are both sweet and savoury versions. Included is a chart with some examples of flavorings, spices and add-ins that can be used.
The possibilities are truly endless!
Once you have experimented with some recipes, go ahead and create combinations of your own.
Do you want to transform this classic cookie into a decadent treat? Simply drizzle some melted chocolate over the tops!
It is now time to bring this how-to guide into your own kitchens and begin baking these perfect dunking biscotti.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made these Lemon Biscotti, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
- 2 cups flour all purpose, 284 grams
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup lemon sugar (refer to note) 150 grams
- ¼ cup brown sugar 50 grams
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon limoncello or lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Preheat oven to 325° F (160° C). Position rack in the center.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with both sugars, vanilla extract and limoncello (or lemon juice) until mixture thickens slightly and turns a lighter color.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir with wooden spoon until just incorporated.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out the dough and place it on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Add another scoop adjacent to the batter on the cookie sheet and keep going until two logs are formed. Space the logs about 3 inches apart.With damp fingers, shape each section of dough into a log shape.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until light golden brown in color and firm. Allow to cool slightly for about 10 minutes.
- Remove logs from baking sheet and transfer to cutting board.
- Using a serrated knife, slice cookies at an angle about ½ - ¾ inch thick.
- Place slices flat, back on the baking sheets, and return them to the oven for about another 10-15 minutes (the longer they stay in the oven, the crispier they get). Turn them over at the half way mark.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely before storing.
Variations:Orange Biscotti: Replace the lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of orange juice concentrate; replace the lemon zest with that of an orange. Spiced Biscotti: Eliminate the lemon zest. Add 1 teaspoon of Allspice. Chocolate Chip Biscotti Recipe: Replace the lemon zest with 1 tablespoon of orange zest. Add ½ cup of dark chocolate mini chocolate chips. Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.
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