Biscotti in Italian means “twice baked”, and that is the process for making these. They say that these were one of Christopher Columbus’ favorites, so obviously they date back several centuries. They are not hard to make, but they do take some patience.
Since I could not find my Aunt’s recipe, I had to borrow one from my cousin who is the well known baker in the family. This seems to be based on a Nick Malgieri recipe (Malgieri is a New York based award-winning pastry chef and author of a dozen books on baking). So, needless to say, its a pretty reliable recipe from a fellow Italian. However, I did make some adjustments, as everyone should. Ovens vary, tastes vary, and of course, results will vary. The biggest adjustment(s) I made was using butter instead of a light oil and walnuts instead of pecans.
So, as with everything the key to success here is the preparation. Before you start mixing, preheat the oven to 350F. Once it reaches that temperature, put your sheet pan in the oven so that too is preheated.
In one bowl add the flour first and then the baking powder and cinnamon on top so you can evenly fold it in and mix it all together well. Next add in the walnuts and mix together well. In a different larger bowl add in the 3 eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and whisk together well. Next add in the sugar and whisk until smooth. Slowly fold in the flour and continue mixing. The dough should be soft.
Divide the dough evenly and form into two loaves. Make sure there is enough space from each of them, and the edges because they are going to double in size while baking.
I was using a non-stick baking sheet so I did not have to worry about them sticking, plus there is enough butter in here to help prevent that.
Slide them into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. Before you remove them from the oven, press your finger down on one of them to be sure its its firm.
Remove them from the oven, but leave the oven on. Using a spatula, carefully remove and put on a wire wrack and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Once they are cool enough, place on a cutting board and cut on a slant in about 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. You really don’t want them thicker than 1″. Obviously the thinner you slice them, the more you will get. From this batch I got about 30.
Now place them back on the wire rack in your pan. This is where the “second” baking comes in which is why they are called “biscotti” (twice baked). The wire rack is essential because now they will back on both sides simultaneously without having to flip them over halfway through.
Allow them to cook an additional 10-15 minutes. I like mine darker, but if you don’t, remove them and allow them to cool before storing.
From here you can leave them as is, or you can get fancy and dip them halfway in dark chocolate. If you prefer the chocolate length-wise, dip the bottom. And if you really want to get fancy, stir in some sambuca into the melted chocolate, then dip.
- 2.5 Cups of All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 cup (approximately 4 ounces) crushed walnuts
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tablespoon Sambuca (Optional)
- 1 Stick of Butter (8 tablespoons)
- Cook for 30 Minutes
- Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 10-15 mins
- Slice, place cut side down on the wire rack and continue to cook for 10-15mins more
You can also make this into one large loaf for a longer biscotti, but of course you will get less of them.