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