Is biscotti a bread or a cookie?
I find this question comes up often when I tell my friends about how much I love making biscotti. They ask; “Is biscotti a bread or a cookie?”, or “What is biscotti exactly? Is biscotti supposed to be hard and dry?” I’m happy to share the answer with you!
Biscotti, to Americans, would classify as a cookie. People can mistake it as a bread because it is baked in a long thin ‘loaf shape’ first. It is then sliced like a bread, although diagonally, then those slices are baked a second time to remove even more moisture. This process extends their shelf-life to several weeks, if stored in an air-tight container.
How to eat biscotti?
Folks who don’t know what biscotti is will often pick up a piece and try to take a bite of it like other cookies, then they discover how hard and dry a plain piece of biscotti really is. So, is this how you’re supposed to enjoy it?? Certainly not! Let me explain how best to eat biscotti.
Biscotti is an Italian dessert cookie traditionally served in Italy at the end of a meal with a fortified wine to ‘soak’ or ‘dunk’ it into. The very dry cookie is made to soak up the liquid, and for the flavors of both to marry deliciously. In the USA, biscotti is commonly served with coffee or cocoa instead.
Easy biscotti recipe
Making Christmas Spice Biscotti, or any biscotti really, is quite simple. Biscotti can be flavored so many different ways, often with almonds, fruits, and spices, which make it perfect for the holidays, but it can, and should, be enjoyed throughout the year!
For this particular batch seen in the photos of this post, I added some dried fig pieces soaked in freshly pressed apple cider to my Christmas Spice Biscotti- which is totally optional.
Adding the soaked fruit is totally optional, but I think it’s so delightful to customize biscotti to your liking. This Christmas Spice Biscotti recipe would pair beautifully with some orange zest, fresh red currants, dried dates or raisins soaked in Brandy or Marsala wine.
Above is a quick picture I took of the dried dates being chopped up for my biscotti, and the deliciously rich apple cider I soaked them in.
The biscotti dough is so simple and comes together very quickly. It is also very easy to handle. Place it on a non-stick or lined baking sheet (here I’m using a silicone liner), and divide the dough into two even pieces.
Using clean hands, shape the dough into two very long, thin rectangles approximately 2 inches by 13 inches, as shown above. My bench scraper came it very handy for this as well.
Biscotti is baked at 350 degrees F for a whopping 30 to 35 minutes. After the first bake, allow it to cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Using a good bread knife, slice the ‘loaves’ diagonally into thin slices, somewhere between 1/4-1/2 inch wide.
BUT WAIT! They’re not ready to be eaten. They need their second bake. In fact, the Italian word ‘biscotti’ literally translates to ‘twice baked’ in English.
Lay each slice facing up in a single layer on your baking sheet. Bake again, adjusting your oven heat down to 325 degrees F. Bake on each side for 7 minutes, THEN remove them to cool and eat!
Looking for other Christmas cookie ideas? Check out this post:Print
Christmas Spice Biscotti
Crunchy Italian biscotti cookies featuring a light touch of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, with the option to mix in small fruit pieces such as chopped dried fig, currants, or raisins. Perfect for soaking into your hot winter drink of choice.
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional- 1/2 cup chopped dried figs, fresh currant berries, or chopped raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup of apple cider, brandy, or Marsala wine for at least 30 minutes.
- Move an oven rack to the middle position and set heat to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- Whisk together the following in a medium bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. If adding the optional soaked fruit, stir in here. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until no white streaks of flour remain. Dough will be stiff.
- Divide dough in half and place pieces side by side on the prepared rimmed baking sheet. Dust your hands with flour and shape each piece into a rectangle approximately 2 inches by 13 inches. A bench scraper will help if you have one. Pat the tops flat with your fingers or bench scraper.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, rotating the pan half way. Loves should be golden brown and cracked on the top. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Set your oven heat to 325 degrees F.
- Once the biscotti has cooled for 10 minutes, carefully move the loaves to a cutting board. Slice each portion into diagonal pieces about 1/2 inch wide, and place each slice back onto the rimmed baking sheet, cut-side up with space in between each slice. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 15 minutes, flipping over all the cookies halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before serving or storing in an air-tight container.