Mission: Biscotti

Biscotti are twice-baked Italiany cookies. The double dose of oven time makes them less perishable than their moist relatives, the once-baked cookies. In this case dry and crunchy are desirable traits.

There are lots of variations for biscotti but I wanted to make one that featured almonds since that’s a traditional ingredient. We also just happened to have some crystallized ginger in the cupboard so when I stumbled upon a recipe that utilized both on Epicurious it seemed like a no-brainer.

Almonds and crystallized ginger—how could this go wrong?

Mandy separates an egg.

Roasting almonds.

Everyone gets acquainted in the mixing bowl.

Our free-form giant cookie on a 9" x 13" baking tray.

The cookie after the first bake. The lines are from turning it over onto one rack and then flipping it back over to cool. They made nice slicing guides.

We cut ours in half before slicing.

Score lightly first and then cut through to prevent crumbling.

Biscotti after the second bake.

Serve with coffee or dessert wine.

Ginger Almond Biscotti
adapted from Gourmet’s (July 1999) Ginger Almond Biscotti on Epicurious

3/4 cup whole almonds with skins
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (125g)
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter cooking tray and line bottom with wax paper.

2. Toast almonds on a baking tray in middle of oven until they turn a little darker, about 10 minutes.

3. Cool nuts and coarsely chop. Finely chop crystallized ginger. (We used a food processor for both of these.)

4. Combine flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl.

5. In another bowl, beat together whole egg, egg white, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Stir in flour mixture and beat until well combined. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.

6. Form your cookie on a baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until pale golden, about 45 minutes.

7. Turn the cookie out onto a rack and cool 10 minutes.

8. On a cutting board with a serrated knife cut the cookie into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti on a baking sheet and bake in middle of oven until crisp, about 15 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack.

Originally the whole point of biscotti was that they didn’t go bad and could be stored for a long time. We keep ours in an air-tight container and will probably eat them all before it’s an issue. I don’t know if they even can go bad—you just dunk them in your coffee for a little bit longer.

Eat like a Roman soldier,

Kendall’s Notes:
– One of our readers suggested making biscotti (thanks Joe). We encourage suggestions—it’s a good way for us to try something we might not of thought of otherwise.

– We made a free-form cookie but you could use all sorts of different size and shaped pans with similar results—just slice the cookie into manageable pieces before the second bake.

– I’ve been really enjoying biscotti with my coffee—a great excuse to eat cookies at another time of the day—but in Italy they are also served with a dessert wine called  Vin Santo.

Mandy’s Notes:
– This was so easy to make, seriously.

– The only “difficult” part was cutting the giant cookie into smaller pieces before the second bake (but I’m sure you can handle that, right?) We tried a few different methods with a few different knives. I think the best way to keep it from crumbling is to score the entire piece with a serrated knife and then use a chef’s knife to quickly cut through. Also, if you let the cookie cool longer than 10 minutes it may be more difficult to cut.


13 responses to “Mission: Biscotti

  1. Interesting- the use of crystalized ginger. I’ll look to receive my sample in the mail………..I usually do straight untoasted almonds with almond extract(pure, not imitation) I figure the second bake will toast the almonds….(one less step…) Sometimes I add chocolate chips too. I want to try a savory biscotti with rosemary and cracked black pepper….ever make indian naan?

    • I’m sure we’ll be trying other kinds of biscotti in the future and I was eyeing a recipe that had chocolate chips. Maybe we’ll try a savory one. I’ve always thought it would be impossible to make naan and have it turn out well at home but Mandy found a recipe that people seem to be raving about so stay tuned.

  2. These look so cozy and delicious. My godmother used to make almond and anise biscotti all the time but I’ve never tried it. I think I may have to do so, now!

  3. I skip the chocolate chips and go right for dipping the top edge of each biscotti in melted bittersweet or semisweet Scharffenberger chocolate. I don’t dip the whole thing so that I don’t get chocolate on my fingers while dunking and the biscotti can still soak up the coffee or hot chocolate when I dunk.

  4. I don’t know where to put suggestions. Is there a suggestion box?

    I once had the most delicious thing in a bakery as an early morning pastry called sour cream biscuits. But they weren’t biscuity. They were light and airy and blobby, not perfect rounds. I haven’t found anything for a recipe that even came close. If you run out of ideas (lol)—(I used to think that was Lots of Love until some one used it in a weird way and I knew something was off)–maybe you could make some.

    I could save you LOTS of time, however, if you decide to do popovers. I have become obsessed with the perfect popover. I have done Joy of Cooking, Fannie Farmer, Wm. Sonoma, Kathy Buckley and Barefoot Contessa so far. Some recipes say, reduce the oven from 450 to 350. Others say, the trick is to start in a cold oven. Others say, the trick is to preheat your pan for exactly two minutes. Are you dying to know which one won so far in my opinion!?!?!?!? If I ever have a cooking blog, which I wouldn’t, it would only be baking….and I won’t even do that. But if I would, I would do popovers for about the first year. And move on from there. That is how crazy obsessive I have gotten. Ashley is my guinea pig. She is so sweet. The last time they were horribly flat and a little burned. She said, “They still look good.” I gave her kisses. And she ate them. You have to imagine her saying “go-od” in two syllables in that little voice of hers.
    How do you know how to check all this. What if someone is still writing about bacon? Do you have to keep checking each one? Yikes.

  5. She ate the popovers, not the kisses!

  6. Popovers are the most DEE-LI-SHEE-US thing. They are made in popover pans and are served often with tea as an afternoon treat. Or they can be instead of a roll at breakfast or dinner. MUST be served piping hot out of the oven. I will make them for you sometime. Everyone has had at least one version of my experiments. Are you sure you didn’t have one and just didn’t know it was a popover? I think I like the word, because you can whip them up with just butter, eggs, milk and flour quickly if someone decides to “pop over”! I made that up, I don’t know why they are called that. They are in a category all by themselves, but they taste a bit like french toast, but not really. They have a big hole in the middle like cream puffs. You didn’t ask, BUT, I think the winner for me for consistency in success and ease of baking, without having to do the traditional turn down the oven thing……is…..(drum roll on a snare drum and long pause)…..Barefoot Contessa. I will probably still keep trying other recipes though as I discover them.

  7. Yes! I think they work best. Kathy Buckley’s taste really good, but there is that oven turn down thing that is just too iffy if your oven is not sensitive enough.
    How do I turn on to get replies to things, but not get every single thing that gets posted here?

  8. So where is the popover pan? Last I heard it was the pan that was blamed for the popovers not popping properly.

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