Biscotti, baby!

Remember Zwieback toast? The yellow Nabisco box, the little blonde boy with his ’50s comb-over (love that Brylcreem!), chowing down on one of those crunchy, golden oval toasts?

Well, memories are all you’ve got; Nabisco ditched Zwieback toast last year. Sad but true, those ultra-light, barely sweet toasts, perfect for teething babies (and sentimental adults reliving their childhood) are now a thing of the past.

Fear not; I’ve found a zwieback recipe, and will be sharing it with you here in the near future. But in the meantime, finding myself in desperate need of something crunchy (but not hard); sweet (but not ooey-gooey); and sized for babies (albeit featuring cinnamon rather than strained peas), I opted for these Baby Biscotti.

You’ve seen biscotti in this space before. My motto is, when you’ve got a winner, keep flogging it. And biscotti are truly one of my favorite cookies.

Why? Because they’re no harder to bake (read: easy) than standard drop cookies. Because they’re sturdy, and last FOREVER. (Need a cookie to send to your kid at college, or your serviceman overseas? Here it is.) Because you can flavor and enhance biscotti any way you please (cranberry-walnut-orange with a chocolate dip, anyone?). And because they have that certain air of elegance; that, “Wow, how did you make these fancy cookies?”

To which you can reply, modestly and with eyes downcast, “Oh, it was nothing…”

…and be telling the truth.

Are you a vanilla-type person? Try our favorite basic vanilla biscotti, nearly zwieback-like in its simplicity. If you’re more adventuresome, and your tastes run to Starbucks rather than the 79¢ cup of joe at the Qwik-Mart, then you might enjoy our hazelnut-cappuccino-espresso enhanced biscotti (with, yes, a chocolate dip).

Or, if you want to feel virtuous with every bite, try these whole-grain cinnamon chip Baby Biscotti. They’re well beyond zwieback as far as complexity of ingredients, but just as nice to nibble on.

img_4793.JPG

Whenever I’m baking with whole wheat, I automatically reach for my King Arthur white whole wheat. It’s got all the nutrition, minerals, and vitamins of traditional whole wheat flour, (milled from red wheat), yet it has a lighter, milder flavor—perfect for those of us who don’t embrace that strong, tannic whole-wheaty flavor.

img_4610.JPG

Butter, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla—sounds like cookies in the making, eh? Indeed, biscotti are nothing more than Continental-style cookies; so don’t shy away from them.

img_4611.JPG

Mix till smooth. This isn’t smooth.

img_4612.JPG

THIS is smooth.

img_4613.JPG

Add 2 eggs…

img_4614.JPG

…and mix again till well combined. The batter will be a little lumpy, kind of coagulated-looking; that’s OK.

img_4615.JPG

Add the white wheat flour and oats, and mix till thoroughly combined. NOW the batter will be smooth, aside from the oats.

img_4781.JPG

Now you have your choice: cinnamon Flav-R-Bites (masquerading as pet kibble) on the left, cinnamon chips on the right. What’s the difference? Flav-R-Bites are sugar- and grain-based, taste strongly of cinnamon, and bake up fairly crunchy. Cinnamon chips are sugar- and oil-based, with a more mellow cinnamon flavor. They bake up soft. Which will be better in these biscotti? Read on…

img_4616.JPG

Add the chips of your choice—as you can see, I chose the Flav-R-Bites—and nuts.

img_4617.JPG

Mix to combine.

img_4618.JPG

Divide the dough into four equal pieces, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

img_4619.JPG

Wet your fingers, and stretch the sticky logs till they’re about 10” to 11” long.

img_4621.JPG

Using a wet bowl scraper and your wet fingers, smooth them into logs about 3/4” tall, and about 1 1/4” wide.

img_4622.JPG

Like this. It’s kind of fun, like working with clay.

img_4624.JPG

Next, get out your cinnamon sugar. I use our Cinnamon Sugar Plus. It’s made with extra-fine sugar, making it easy to sift into a very even layer atop the biscotti; and Vietnamese cinnamon, whose higher oil content gives it bold, lasting flavor.

img_4625.JPG

Spray your logs with water, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

img_4626.JPG

Be generous.

img_4628.JPG

Bake the logs for 23 to 25 minutes, until they’re starting to brown around the bottom edges. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for about 15 minutes, right on the baking sheet. Spritz with water, sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar, if desired, and let them cool an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

img_4634.JPG

Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the biscotti crosswise, making 1/2” to 3/4” wide slices. This is a change from the usual “slice diagonally with a serrated knife” method. Since you’re cutting crosswise (to make short biscotti) rather than diagonally, they’re small enough to cut easily in one fell swoop, no sawing needed. If they seem to be crumbling a lot, let them cool a bit longer.

img_4635.JPG

Line them up on the baking sheet they originally baked on. You can place them close together.

img_4636.JPG

Like this. They’re not the most gorgeous, perfect-looking biscotti, due to the coarser whole wheat flour and the chips and nuts; but remember, beauty is only skin deep.

img_4638.JPG

Reduce the oven heat to 325°F, and bake the biscotti for another 25 minutes or so.

img_4640.JPG

Their cut surfaces will be starting to brown, like the one at lower left. Again, let them cool right on the pan.

img_4647.JPG

Biscotti and cappuccino—a marriage made in heaven.

So, let’s not forget our cinnamon Flav-R-Bites vs. cinnamon chips test—which should you use? The Flav-R-Bites are really quite crunchy. If you’re someone who likes chewing ice cubes and the like, you won’t mind the crunch, and will love the assertive flavor. If you like a softer chew, choose the cinnamon chips.

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Whole-Grain Cinnamon Baby Biscotti.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Home Hearth Bakery, Norwich, VT: Whole Wheat Honey-Almond Biscotti, 64¢/ounce

Bake at home: Whole Grain Cinnamon Baby Biscotti, 20¢/ounce

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. skeptic7

    Biscotti lasting forever? You are living in a dream world. Chomp. chomp. chomp. oops, no more biscotti. With great good luck and no visiting friends, biscotti might last 36 hours, it doesn’t last 48 hours. I’ve known batches of biscotti that didn’t survive till the next day. Chomp. chomp. Got milk? chomp.

    Dang, you’re right! I forgot about the human factor… I made lemon biscotti for Easter and they didn’t last long… PJH

    Reply
  2. Collette

    Ooh, lemon biscotti. That sounds delightful! Crunch deliciousness with citrus? Now there’s a match made in heaven!

    Reply
  3. Donna

    These appear similar to the ones from the KAF Whole Grain Baking Book, which I baked to take along to a hammered dulcimer weekend last spring. They were our hotel breakfast–my friend and I couldn’t face the stale donuts at the breakfast bar, which we remembered from the previous year. With yogurt or a hardboiled egg, they made a nutritious morning meal, too. I like the texture of these—the white whole wheat flour makes them a bit more crumbly and pleasantly grainy, and the cinnamon complements the wheatiness perfectly. Thanks for bringing them to mind again–I baked your lemon ones this morning! Those are for another dulcimer event; I’m providing the cookies for the morning coffee break during the workshops. I’m going to make these cinnamon whole wheat ones, too, and a couple other kinds, yet to be decided. Of course, there will have to be something chocolate! I’m thinking of doing the lemon ones again, since the recipe only made a couple dozen, and I’m going to add some crystalized ginger this time. Oh, one more thing: I love the small size. I always make my biscotti small–that way I can eat more of them!

    You’re right, Donna, these are based on the Triple Cinnamon Biscotti in our cookie book (I think that’s where they are) – glad to hear you’re making them for breakfast. Great idea! PJH

    Reply
  4. sharon

    Though the name and looks of Flav-R-Bites scare me a little bit, I’m oddly intrigued by them and would like some now! I love everything about this recipe – great post!

    Reply
  5. Trisha

    I sent a batch of biscotti to my son-in-law in Afghanistan recently, using the Flav-R-Bites. It was a big hit! Since it has been taking 3 weeks to arrive, you are so right–biscotti is the best choice. Now I’ve been asked for chocolate chip biscotti. Hopefully it will ship well also. Thanks for the whole wheat version!

    Reply
  6. Donna

    Actually, the version I tried before was the Triple Cinnamon-Pecan Biscotti from the Whole Grain Baking Book, and I see that it calls for traditional whole wheat flour. I’ve got a batch of the version you are blogging about in the oven right now, with the white whole wheat flour, and cinnamon baking chips, since that’s what I had on hand. I’ve been craving them since I read the blog last night! I’d like to try the Flav-R-Bites; the crunchiness sounds appealing.
    My son is heading for Iraq next weekend, so Trisha, if you try sending a chocolate chip version to your nephew, let us know how it works. Chocolate chip cookies are the hands-down favorite of both my sons, and I knew they weren’t going to be a good choice for shipping overseas.

    Reply
  7. Susan

    Dear PJ et al,
    I love pretty much everything about this blog, the entire website, and KAF in general. I just wanted to take a moment to mention that I extra-specially love the step by step pictures. No more guessing about how smooth it has to be when the directions say “mix till smooth.” You guys take the mystery (and thus the fear) out of baking. Thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge!

    Thanks for your kind comments, Susan – and for playing in the sandbox with us! PJH

    Reply
  8. Stephanie

    Whole-Grain, especially the white whole wheat, Cinnamon-Nut, two of my husband favorite things Baby Biscotti will be made this week-end. I may even add some chocolate chips with the cinnamon. I am looking forward to your recipe for the Zwieback toast. We have a 10 month old grandson cutting teeth and he and I can chomp together.

    Reply
  9. Tory

    I’m in shock!… I did not realize that Nabisco Zweiback had bitten the dust (I still have a box in the pantry!). No babies here to munch on it, but my grandmother’s cheesecake crust depends on it! SO much better than graham crackers!!! Now I’ll be anxiously awaiting the KA Zweiback version to keep our family recipe intact. As usual, KA comes to the rescue…. !!

    ps… the biscotti look good, too!

    Reply
  10. SimplePleasure

    Hey, I’ve been meaning to try biscotti but hesitant to do so because my dad have teeth problem so he doesn’t like tough/hard cookies. But I think I’ll give it a try.

    Can I substitute the cinnamon chips with chocolate chips? I can’t get cinnamon chips locally, a bummer I know. I’m not sure if cinnamon goes with chocolate though.

    Absolutely, chocolate chips would be delightful. And these are crunchy rather than hard/tough, so I think your dad will do just fine with them. PJH

    Reply
  11. HMB

    SimplePleasure, if your dad can’t eat crunchy cookies but you think he would like the flavor, biscotti are ideal dunking cookies.

    Reply
  12. Mary Ellen!

    Hi everyone! What a great recipe! And I have to agree…biscotti lasting more than a day? HHHmmmmm….NEVER IN MY HOUSE! HA! I want the “Lemon” biscotti recipe. Is it on the KAF recipe list? I’ll check it. However, did you know that the word, “biscotti” is just the generic term for “cookie” in Italian? It doesn’t necessarily mean the cookies we are talking about here, or the cookies everyone thinks of as “biscotti” – long and cut on an angle. Just a bit of information for you. I’m off to find the “Lemon” recipe and give it a try! Keep up the good work KAF! You know I think the world of all of you! xoxoxo

    Thanks for your seal of approval. There is a Lemon-Almond Biscotti recipe on our website. Happy Biscotti, Happy Baking! Irene at KAF

    Reply
  13. Elizabeth

    If I wanted to make a soft biscotti, would I just skip the second baking. I would love to make these for the grandchildren, but need them to be a little softer.

    Thanks.

    Absolutely – just skip the second baking, they’ll be cakey rather than hard. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  14. Annee

    OMG I am so upset those were the very best zwieback ever. That is what we always used for the crust of our cheesecake recipe that I inherited from my grandmother she had made it for over 60 years. Looking forward to your recipe I have a couple but not the same as theirs.

    Working on it, Annee – today’s version wasn’t quite sweet enough, and needed a touch of nutmeg. Should be posted in a week or so- PJH

    Reply
  15. SusanG

    I am locally known as the biscotti queen – baked over 100 dozen large ones last fall for a charity event.

    Here’s my trick: when the biscotti come out of the oven, let them cool completely. Do NOT slice warm. At this point, you can stash these large logs anywhere for a few days, or until you are ready for the second baking (I kept mine in the oven for 2 days, while away). When you are ready for the second baking, spritz the tops lightly with water, not too much, but enough to soften the crust just a tad. Now slice either crosswise or on a diagonal, but you MUST use a serrated knife. (I am fortunate enough to have my grandmother’s bread knife which has very fine teeth.) They will slice beautifully, look professional, with few crumbs. Lay them flat, close together, on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (allows more even browning) and bake them the second time. Works like a charm.

    And I wish I could remember where I heard the water spray thing, but it’s likely it was here – KA’s blog is the BEST, and where I always turn for help.

    Susan – I like the idea of waiting to slice when you are ready for the second baking. And I especially like the tip to put a rack onto a cookie sheet for the 2nd bake. Thank YOU, Biscotti Queen! Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  16. Fran

    The recipe looks great! I’m lactose intolerant, however. What could I substitute for the butter that doesn’t have transfat in it? Thanks!

    You could substitute 1/3 cup vegetable oil, Fran. That should work. Also, you might want to try our recipe for Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot, which is an oil-based twice-baked cookie, very similar to biscotti. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  17. Pam Harris

    I discovered King Arthur Biscotti three years ago in the pages of the Cookie Companion and have been baking them ever since! Always fabulous! I love how I can totally depend on King Arthur recipes to never fail.

    Reply
  18. Lish

    I have made several different types of biscotti and loved them all, but these baby biscotti are my babies’ favorite! I made them 2 weeks ago, and they are still fresh. I find that they are so good that I am satisfied with the smaller portion, and I like giving this healthier version of cookies to my kids. They prefer these whole grain cookies far more than any I can buy. Thanks for the great recipes, tips and blog!

    Reply
  19. Caryl

    After reading this blog, I ordered the Flavor-R-Bites, made the baby biscotti and just love them. They take care of my “guilt mode”! I just had two with an espresso for my afternoon snack.

    Reply
  20. Ellen

    These are fabulous with the Flav-R-Bites, but my first 2 batches were with white chips, and they were fabulous too.

    I’m up to double batches since they go so fast.

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *