These crunchy Italian cookies are baked twice: once as a log, and again as individual slices. To make them:
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix dough, adding "extras" of your choice. Common flavors found in biscotti are anise, orange, almond, chocolate and hazelnut. Other creative combinations include dried cranberries and pistachios, lemon and poppy seeds, or ginger and macadamia nuts.
- Form biscotti loaves as big or small as you like--create dainty little tea cookies or jumbo breakfast-sized coffee companions. Note: The dough can be sticky; try wetting your hands before forming the loaves.
Slicing Made Simple
After the first baking, the biscotti loaves should be firm and very lightly browned, but not hard.
- Loaves are ready to cut when you can touch them without burning yourself.
- Use a long serrated knife--especially if you have nuts or dried fruit in your biscotti. This kind of knife will allow you to slice neatly through the loaves without putting any pressure on them.
- Slice on the diagonal for long biscotti or straight across for shorter ones.
Time for bake number two. The point of this second baking is to dry out the biscotti without browning them too much, so a low oven temperature and a slow baking time are key. For softer cookies, simply bake them for less time. For biscotti that can stand up to coffee-dipping, bake until they are as crunchy as you like.
Beautify Your Biscotti
Once the biscotti have cooled, you can decorate them if you wish. Try drizzling them with one or several kinds of melted chocolate, or dunking them in chocolate then rolling them in chopped nuts.
The Gift of Biscotti
Well-dried biscotti keep extremely well. They can be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature for months at a time, making them the perfect grab-and-go gift. Wrap in cellophane and ribbon on its own, or add biscotti to a gift basket with a bag of coffee beans, a bottle of dessert wine, or a selection of teas.