Stacking up the flavors: Black and White Biscotti

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You know, Starbucks really does have some good ideas.

And I’m not above stealing them.

Not that I visit the World’s Favorite Bistro often; there’s not a Starbucks within 100 miles of me.

But when I travel, I find myself slipping into the first Starbucks I see – you know, just to check things out.

Also, since I recently learned a cup of plain coffee at Starbucks is cheaper than a cup at Dunkin’ Donuts – ’tis true! – I’ll treat myself to some Starbucks buzz: both literally, and figuratively.

While in Boston recently, I cut through a hotel lobby and spied the familiar Starbucks logo. Ducking in and sidling up to the counter – “No thanks, just looking” – I peered into the bakery case, and experienced one of those light-bulb moments we all, as creative bakers, learn to treasure:

WOW. Why didn’t I think of that?

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A two-tone biscotti! Chocolate and vanilla biscotti doughs, stacked and baked. Icing on the bottom, icing on top. Brilliant.

As self-respecting bakers, what’s our next thought here?

I can do that!

And I did. Read on…

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If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know that Vanilla Bean Crush is my favorite vanilla. it’s super-aromatic; it includes vanilla bean seeds, and finely shredded pods, for an interesting “look.”

What’s more, for every bottle of Vanilla Crush sold (year-round – not just during October), Sonoma Syrups donates 10% of the retail price to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. And if you’re a breast cancer survivor like me, that means something.

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Mini chocolate chips are perfect for this recipe, as they don’t get in the way when you’re slicing the biscotti. On the left,  standard-sized chips; minis on the right.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Beat till well combined. Add 2 large eggs.

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Beat to combine. It’ll look messy at first, but keep beating.

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Pretty soon it’ll look like this.

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Add 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, beating gently till smooth.

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Measure out half the dough. If you have a scale, half the dough is about 10 1/4 ounces (290g). Volume-wise, half the dough is a generous 1 cup.

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Spread half the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape it into a log that’s about 14” long x 2 ½” wide.

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Straighten the log, and smooth its top and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper (or wet fingers) works well here.

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Yup, 14” – perfect! But don’t worry; if your log is only 13 1/2”, the Biscotti Police won’t be making any arrests.

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Place the pan in the freezer while you make the chocolate dough.

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To prepare the chocolate dough, add to the vanilla dough in the bowl 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-process preferred; and 1/2 cup chocolate chips, mini chips preferred. Stir to combine.

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Stir in 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder – chocolate’s best friend. You can also simply mix the cocoa powder, chips, and espresso powder into the dough all at once. I just wanted to highlight the espresso here, because I use it in ALL my chocolate recipes – just like vanilla, it heightens chocolate’s flavor, without adding any coffee taste of its own.

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Remove the pan from the freezer. Using your wet fingers, spread the chocolate dough atop the vanilla dough.

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Smooth it with your wet fingers or a wet bowl scraper till it lies nicely on top of the vanilla dough. Look at those vanilla bean seeds in the dough, by the way – NICE.

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You can choose to leave the chocolate dough atop the vanilla…

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…or press it down the sides to entirely enclose the vanilla dough, if desired.

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You can also choose to top the log with 2 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar at this point, if you don’t plan on adding a vanilla glaze later.

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Place the biscotti in a preheated 350°F oven. Notice I’ve left the chocolate dough on top on the left; and completely enclosed the vanilla dough, on the right. We often do this kind of “half one way, half another” test in the kitchen; saves time and ingredients, compared to making the entire recipe twice.

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Bake the dough for 25 minutes.

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Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool on the pan anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes; just work it into the schedule of whatever else you’re doing in the kitchen.

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Here’s what the “unenclosed” version looks like, post-baking.

While the biscotti are cooling slightly, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

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And here’s what the sugar-topped version looks like.

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If you’ve used parchment on your baking sheet, use it to lift the biscotti off the sheet onto a flat surface. If you haven’t used parchment, carefully lift the biscotti off the sheet onto a flat surface. Using a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife, cut the biscotti crosswise into 3/4″ slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal — for fewer, longer biscotti.

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As you’re slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they’ll topple over during their second bake.

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If the biscotti seem to be crumbling a lot as you slice, spritz them lightly with cool water, wait 5 minutes, and try again.

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Here’s the log cut crosswise. For  longer biscotti, cut on the diagonal.

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And here’s a shot of bottom dough completely enclosed (l) vs. unenclosed (r). Your choice; it’s strictly a looks thing.

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Set the biscotti, on edge, back on the baking sheet quite close together; they should all fit easily on one sheet.

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Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, till they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden around the edges. They’ll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool.
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And there you have it – Black and White Biscotti.

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Want to gild the lily? Mix 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 tablespoon water. Artfully drizzle atop the biscotti.

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It’s OK to let the glaze dribble over the edges. Consider it rustic. Consider it artful. Just don’t consider it a mistake!

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A lovely lineup, eh?

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And here’s what your “plain” sugar-topped biscotti look like. Crunchy, glittery, yummy. Enjoy!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Black and White Biscotti.

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. Mike T.

    Looks good, but there’s gotta be a Starbuck’s somewhere around the college. Not that you can get to it with all of the traffic. :-)
    Not having a Starbucks near us–nothing wrong with that! But I understand there may be one in the book store on Main Street. Joan@bakershotline

    Reply
  2. Penny

    Oh my goodness! I definitely know what I’m going to be baking today! I love the American Style Biscotti in your cookbook – now I have another way to fix it – why didn’t I think of that?!! Thank you for continuing to provide me with fun on the computer and in the kitchen!

    Reply
  3. Maggie

    These look incredible! The ingredients are all things that I have on hand, so no waiting to bake. I’m looking forward to trying a KA biscotti recipe. I haven’t made them in years! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  4. Tom

    Please send some of these with Susan to the Gathering in Kansas City! I’m sure we can round up some espresso.

    The biscotti look great. We make biscotti at Christmas to put in the basket of stuff we give our neighbors. The biscotti are usually a chocolate and a hazelnut. I’ll replace the plain chocolate with this recipe. Thanks!!

    Reply
  5. Christina

    mmmmmm. I have the sudden urge to make coffee for some reason. ;)

    We have so many SBUX near us, it’s crazy. Really, it’s better that you guys don’t have one every few miles. Anyway I can avoid that darn pastry case, I’m all for it! Besides, these will make wonderful holiday gifts! My 3yo and I are considering home baked treats to share with our friends this year.

    You guys are going to force my hand on buying the vanilla crush. Is it really that much better than the regular extract?

    Christina, it’s not a question of “better,” once you get into the quality vanillas (Nielsen-Massey, Sonoma, et. al.) – it’s like wine or chocolate, it’s all individual taste. I just happen to love the seeds and crushed pods, that “look” they give that just shouts VANILLA. I also love the taste – to me, it’s just strong, classic vanilla, with no off notes. Enjoy – and good idea, baked treats for the holidays. I’m with you – PJH

    Reply
  6. Amanda

    Wow great looking biscotti! Starbucks definitely has some yummy goodies. Love that Cranberry Briss Bar, which I’ve seen recipes for out here in blogosphere, but haven’t tried yet.

    By the way, I tried Black & White cookies inspired by you. I didn’t try your recipe yet, I tried the one I had on hand, but gleeped your wet measuring cup idea, thanks! They came out great, one of these days I’ll try yours too :)

    Reply
  7. Lish

    Biscotti was one of the first baked treats I ever made by myself when I was a teenager. The first kind I ever made were a cranberry orange with white chocolate dip. Still remember how good those were. My kids had so much fun decorating the brownies, and I think they will enjoy getting their hands wet and squishing down the dough, and of course sprinkling on the sugar. These are such a good idea, and sound so yummy. I finally broke down and tried the vanilla crush, and when you open the bottle it smells like the most natural flavorful amazing vanilla ever. My husband loves this vanilla and he never really enjoyed the scent of vanilla before this. So definitely splurge on a bottle! I love the little specks of vanilla bean it puts in glazes and cookies, and vanilla pudding. This makes the best homemade tapioca pudding ever!

    Yum! Tapioca pudding! Or how about pastry cream? I eat that as if it were a pudding. Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  8. Erin in PA

    Looks wonderful! Can’t wait to try them – unfortunately, I used the last of my mini chips in the Emmy’s Pumpkin Bread recipe from the site! (What a problem to have!) I tried to print out the full recipe, but it’s only allowing the first page of the directions to print. Help!
    Give us a call and we’ll see what we can do to help. Molly @ KAF

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    In the first photo, they look like mini footballs. Cool for a football party ;) or…anytime!!! Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
  10. Cathy in MD

    The biscotti look great. I will tuck that idea/recipe away to bake sometime soon. But what really struck me was…is a plain coffee at Dunkin Donuts REALLY more expensive than at Starbucks? I love Starbuck’s drip coffee and people are always giving me grief about how expensive it is. I can’t wait to let them know that DD is more expensive! Thanks for making my day. :)
    It should come down to which taste better–but it is nice to think it is also the better buy. Joan @ bakershotline

    Reply
  11. Alyce

    I live in Redmond, WA and we have a SB on every corner. Since I have been visiting your site, my hubby only buys coffee from them. Claims my treats are better than SB. Thanks for another good idea, guess what he gets in his treat bag next week?!

    Reply
  12. Christine

    My goodness, I’ve never seen anything like that vanilla crush. I have the urge to splurge! What a clever idea, black and white biscotti, I can’t wait to make these.

    Reply
  13. Michelle

    I just finished baking these and let me tell you I am addicted to them. I haven’t put the glaze on them yet but honestly they are great without them and I hope I have some left to glaze. My chocolate to vanilla ratio is a little off but it really doesn’t matter. I now wonder if it is possible to make a Neapolitan biscotti or is that overkill…

    I agree with some of the other comments these would make a really great holiday present and I think I might add it to my Christmas baking list.
    Yes I think Neapoliatan biscotti may be over the top but if you do try let us know. It could become a new classic. Joan @ bakershotline

    Reply
  14. Emily

    I think I have my new holiday biscotti recipe — I usually do an anise and almond one, but now I’m going to try these. Or maybe all-vanilla, but in two different colors?

    (There is most definitely a Starbucks in the bookstore on Main, btw. I recently visited friends who live in Hanover.)

    Emily, I always forget about that “Starbucks” in the bookstore – since it says “Dartmouth Bookstore” on the outside, I just never think of it as being a coffee shop. I’ll have to go in sometime – do they have the complete lineup of Starbucks bakery case stuff, or just the coffee? PJH

    Reply
  15. linda

    hi pj…new to commenting on your site…love the photos on the biscotti …easier for a first time biscotti baker! great tutorial…
    i shopped your online store & purchased the vanilla crush…is there expiration date/ once opened do you refrigerate it?…
    purchased the espresso powder (i usually use espresso coffee granules)…also expiration date? refrig once opened?
    thanks so much for a reply.

    No refrigeration necessary for either vanilla or espresso powder, LInda. Both will VERY GRADUALLY lose their oomph, but it takes months, even years… you’ll use them up before they become useless. So enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  16. Emily

    PJ, I can’t remember, but I think they do carry at least some of the baked goods.

    OK, then I’ll have to check it out – heck, it’s less than half a mile from my house, duh… :) PJH

    Reply
  17. linda

    got my kfa goodies for this recipe…noticed the breast cancer awareness ribbon on crush bottle …went back to re-read your post & i obviously missed that important copy …since i am a survivor as well i am sooo glad i purchased this product & will let all my baking friends know they should be purchasing as well…

    Thanks for spreading the word, Linda – every little bit helps, huh? The Sonoma Syrups owner (Vanilla Bean Crush) is very tuned in to breast cancer; I think someone close to him has been through it. And congrats, as a sister survivor. Life is good, eh? PJH

    Reply
  18. Barbara

    These look so good I have to try them. I love the vanilla crush. I try to buy whenever I can find it. You made this recipe look so very easy so I’ll have to try it soon. thanks

    Reply
  19. Al

    These are surprisingly simple and quick to make. A double batch is no more work than a single batch and your friends will be greatful. Using a bit more Dutch cocoa and KA Extreme Bittersweet Chocolate chips created an intense chocolate top. The aroma in my kitchen was an experience in itself.

    Reply
  20. Cheryl

    Speaking of Starbuck’s…does any one have a recipe similar to their Caramel Macchiato biscotti?? They are yummy!!!

    Reply
  21. Cher

    Great idea. Added almond extract in with the vanilla extract + dipped in chocolate instead of vanilla icing. They passed the “Italian boyfriend” test, so I knew I had found a good recipe!

    Reply
  22. Rae

    These look awesome. We are going on vacation to Disney next week. I think I’ll make a batch to take along and have in the condo with coffee every morning.

    Reply
  23. LuAnn

    I just finished making these and they are quite scrumptious. Had to try one before hubbie gets home because I know they will disappear quickly! I made them exactly as the recipe stated and they turned out perfectly. I might use a little darker cocoa next time to give it a bit more chocolate flavor.
    I do have a question for everyone though. Any tricks to measuring the “Vanilla Crush” out of the big bottle without spilling it down the side of the bottle??

    Yummy stuff, thanks for the recipe!

    Glad they turned out well for you, LuAnn. When I have trouble with liquids in bottles, I put my measuring spoon right up against the lip of the bottle, and pour slowly. You could also transfer it to a smaller bottle – PJH

    Reply
  24. BakingSpiritsBright

    I have never used vanilla crush but I do have your vanilla bean powder and I always make my own extract with vodka and vanilla beans. I buy a small bottle of the best vodka I can afford (last time I bought Stoli-vanilla) and stick a couple of fresh vanill beans in, let it steep for at least a couple of weeks. Could I mix some of the bean powder in to my homemade extract to replicate the vanilla crush?

    Hi – I think the powder is so finely ground that it would simply dissolve, without leaving any trace of seeds or crushed pods. But take a look at it – if you can actually SEE the seeds, then you’d still see them once you added them to your homemade vanilla… Give it a try, anyway, see what happens, and let us know. PJH

    Reply
  25. BakingSpiritsBright

    I did mix some of my vanilla bean powder into my homemade vanilla extract and I do believe I have recreated vanilla crush. I’ll use this next time I make my rice pudding for my husband.

    Reply
  26. JuliaJ

    Just made a double batch of these and made one log (batch #1) and 2 smaller logs (batch #2). The smaller biscotti are about 2″-2 1/2″ wide (really cute!) and are just the right size for the cookie trays I’m making for neighbors. The full size biscotti are a little big for the kids.

    Julia, I love those smaller, almost-bite-sized biscotti. As you say, so cute – and friendlier for kids and calorie counters, too. Happy holidays – and thanks again for the yummy persimmons! 5°F here right now – hope you’re cozy out there… PJH

    Reply
  27. Jacque

    I made a batch of these for myself for Valentine’s Day. They turned out beautifully and tasted wonderful! I used a special chocolate I buy from Penzeys Spices for the baking chocolate. It is called a natural cocoa and is a little more intense flavor. I will definitely make these again. Thanks!

    Thanks for reminding me of these, Jacque – Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for them, too – PJH

    Reply
  28. Diana

    These are amazing!! Just a tad more moist and softer than some much dryer biscotti I have had- and I think that’s great!! I sold these at the farmers market and everyone said they were excellent and beautiful! Then I got asked by a coffe shop if I would make some for their shop to sell- but they asked what the shelf like is on them? How long do you think these could last? And how to do reccommend on storing them? THANKS!

    These treats will hold about 3-5 days, stored cool and dry. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  29. sandylee6

    Any idea if these freeze well? I am making baked goods for Christmas gifts and want to get started on my variety – so I need to keep all fresh for a couple of weeks??
    This looks like such a great Adult Christmas treat!
    I would actually recommend that you freeze the unbaked dough rather than freezing the baked biscotti. With most doughs, you can refrigerate until you are ready to use them also. you will be much happier with the flavors of your cookies if you don’t freeze them already baked. Good luck and happy holidays! -Amy

    I’d bake these and store airtight at room temperature; they’ll keep fine. Add the icing (if you ice them) just before you want to give them away- PJH

    Reply
  30. Kathryn Struck

    These look so terrific. I had already decided to make biscotti for my daughter-in-law for Christmas. I was ‘charged’ when I saw this recipe. She LOVES chocolate. I have all the ingredients and a question. Do you ever double the recipe for biscotti? It really should be just fine, right?

    Reply

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