These cookies are the perfect classic biscotti, full of flavor and with just the right crisp.
There are 2 words I know in the Italian language: dolce (obviously) and biscotti. Biscotti are classic Italian cookies that are known for being hard and crispy and are also called cantuccini. Since some are so hard that they can almost break your teeth, they are perfect when dipped in coffee, tea, or basically any drink that will give you an excuse to eat them. They don’t have to be rock hard, though, if you don’t want them to be; it all depends on how long you bake them.
At first, I wanted the title to be ‘Traditional Biscotti’, but I figured that I have one thing that differs from the classic recipe, and that is butter. Traditional almond biscotti don’t contain fat at all. I added some for extra tenderness and flavor, although they do still taste like classic biscotti. If you want to make it the traditional way, omit the butter from the recipe and add 1 egg.
Some recipes don’t whip the eggs, instead just mixing the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Whipped eggs make the cookie lighter, which I like, and also gives the dough a lift so that it rises while baking. Despite the raw eggs, the dough was so good that I couldn’t stop eating it. It tasted just like a good-quality marzipan!
Biscotti cookies are baked twice, which is what the name ‘biscotti’ means in Italian. Start with making a dough, then shape it into a log or rectangle. While baking, it will spread and get its unique shape. Then let it cool for a while and slice it just as you would bread. Use your sharpest knife for this because things might get crumbly! It’s then time to bake the slices. This step is necessary to dry the cookies out and make them crispy, like they’re supposed to be. The longer you bake them, the firmer and crispier they’ll be. Be sure to remember to flip each cookie halfway through the baking time (about 10-15 minutes) so that they have an even crunch.
As far as taste goes, I went with the classic biscotti today. I’m all about classic. Well, except for the fact that I didn’t have enough almonds, so I used some hazelnuts instead. Just ignore them in the photos, or don’t ignore them and add some as well because it was so good! The almond flavor mostly comes from the almond extract. You could also use Amaretto or another almond liquor instead. If you don’t have either of them and you still want to make biscotti, then leave it out and increase the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. The cookies will, of course, lack the almond flavor, but they will still rock.
Since these cookies are dry, they can be stored for a long period of time.
Just wait and see – these cookies will quickly become your coffee’s new best friend.
- 2 cups (280 grams/10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 3/4 cup (150 grams/5.3 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1.5 teaspoons almond extract* (or 1.5 tablespoons Amaretto)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (56 grams/1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup (130 grams/4.5 ounces) whole almonds, with or without the skin, preferably slightly toasted* and coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs on high speed until light in color and doubled in size, about 2 minutes. On low speed, slowly add sugar, then vanilla and almond extract, then butter. Turn off mixer. Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture in 2 additions, then the nuts. Mix until a dough forms. The dough should be easy to handle. If you find it too sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it no longer sticks to your hands.
- On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a ball. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each half into a rectangle around 8x2.5 inches in size and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 4 inches from each other. Bake for about 25 minutes, until slightly risen, firm to the touch, and the top begins to crack. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cut log into slices, around 1/2-inch thick or thinner, using a sharp knife. Return slices cut-side up to the pan in one layer. Place pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden brown, flipping slices halfway through baking. The longer they stay in the oven, the harder they become. Allow cookies to cool completely.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.
-To toast the nuts, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F/180°C for about 6 minutes. You don’t need to fully toast them as they will continue to toast later when the biscotti is baked.
-You can substitute almond extract with 1.5-2 tablespoons almond liquor, such as Amaretto. Since you add more liquid to the dough, you might need to add more flour (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together.