10 good reasons to make biscotti. Starting with crunchy Cherry-Pistachio.

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These are just about the prettiest cookies you’ll ever see.

And super-tasty, too.

So, tell me again why you’ve never made biscotti?

Or, don’t tell me; I think I’ve heard it all – from “too difficult,” to “they hurt my teeth,” to “I didn’t know you could make those at home!”

But never mind the nay-saying. Following please find the top 10 reasons you should bake biscotti.

10. Make long, elegant biscotti, or diet-friendly “biscotti bites” – it’s a simple matter of how you slice ’em.
9. Biscotti make wonderful do-ahead gifts. Bake, cool, and wrap – they’ll stay fresh and crunchy at room temperature for weeks.
8. Unlike most cookies, it’s hard to burn biscotti. You really have to work at it.
7. These cookies don’t crumble – perfect for mailing to your son in college 100 miles away, or your favorite serviceman overseas.
6. They’re MUCH easier to make than they look; your friends will be wowed by your expertise!
5. Biscotti dress up nicely. Stash in a cute bag, add a bow – instant hostess gift.
4. They go from simple (vanilla) to gourmet (white chocolate-hazelnut) in a snap. It’s all about the add-ins.
3. You like crunch? American-style biscotti are supremely crunchy – unlike their hard-as-rock Italian counterparts.
2. Biscotti’s flavor profile is eminently flexible. Your favorite combination is butterscotch-almond-apricot? Go for it.

And, the #1 reason to bake biscotti:
1. They’re light and crunchy and DELICIOUS. The question isn’t why… but WHY NOT?!

Why not, indeed. Here’s a tasty place to start: Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti.

Here they are, the stars of this particular show: coarsely chopped pistachios, and dried cherries.

Don’t want to spring for dried cherries? Go for the sweetened dried cranberries. Just as tasty.

If you’re a fan of the flavor of pistachio ice cream or pudding, a bit of this extra-strong pistachio flavor in your biscotti is a nice touch.

Let’s start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18″ x 13″) baking sheet.

Put the following in a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer:

6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor or cherry flavor, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add 2 large eggs.

Beat them in; the batter may look slightly curdled.

Add 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Stir until well combined.

Add 1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, and 1 cup sweetened tart cherries.

For a lower-cost alternative, substitute sweetened dried cranberries.

Beat gently until the fruit and nuts are distributed throughout the dough.

Divide the dough in half, and plop both halves onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between them.

Shape each half into a long rectangle about 10 1/2” x 2”; remember, you need to leave space for expansion between the pieces of dough.

Straighten the rectangles, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here.

The dough logs will be about 3/4” to 1” thick.

Sprinkle each log with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes.

Remove it from the oven. Notice how the logs have spread; that’s why you need to leave sufficient space between them.

Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the two pieces of dough, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti without crumbling easier.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

If you’ve used parchment on your baking sheet, grab it at both ends, and carefully lift paper and biscotti off the pan.

Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef’s or serrated knife to cut the biscotti crosswise into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti.

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.

The biscotti have a tendency to crumble right around the edges as you cut them; start with an outside edge and work across the biscotti to the opposite edge, rather than cutting straight down through the center.

Cutting the dough crosswise will yield 3” to 3 1/2” biscotti.

If you cut on the diagonal, the biscotti will be 4” to 4 1/2” long.

Place the biscotti on the baking sheet, on edge; they can be very close together.

Here they are, ready to go back into the oven for their second bake.

Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 35 to 40 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They may 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.

You’ll want to start checking the biscotti around the 30-minute mark; the ones on the ends of the pan, or any smaller biscotti, may be ready to come out of the oven earlier than the larger/middle-of-the-pan biscotti.

Remove the finished biscotti from the oven, and cool them right on the pan.

When they’re completely cool, store biscotti airtight at room temperature; they’ll remain fresh for weeks.

See that open crumb? That’s what makes these cookies light and crunchy – rather than dense and hard, like a classic tight-grained Italian biscotti.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti.

Print just the recipe.

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. mikjoy2

    Hi PJ,
    Those look delicious. I love biscotti and make them all the time. I have your biscotti pan. Would I use the entire recipe in the pan or should I divide the dough and use half at the time? The pan is wide and I find that most recipes will fit in the pan but the biscotti are not very tall. At least not as tall as the picture you have here. What would you do?

    Joyce

    I’d bake them without the pan, just as the recipe shows – since I’ve never used the pan! However, to use the pan, put the entire recipe in the pan – doing a bit of quick math tells me it should work. Cheers – PJH

    Reply
  2. jswc

    MUST,,, HAVE… BISCOTTI!!! Can’t wait to make these, doesn’t seem fair that I don’t already have all the ingredients on hand. Will definitely be ordering and shopping for supplies ASAP. Bags of these will make perfect favors for Easter dinner — a nice change from the usual Easter basket treats.
    — Jeanne from NJ

    Reply
  3. lishy

    The first cookie I ever made myself with no help was a similar recipe that used cranberries and toasted pecans. I have always loved making biscotti, and your tips have made it so much easier. Standing them up for the second bake is genius, as is the spray bottle with water! These tips have made it so much easier in fact that I make all kinds of biscotti, and more often than ever before. I think in fact I may have to go start a batch now. Just no pistachios for me, the only nut I don’t like. I am thinking coconut macadamia!

    I’m thinking that sounds simply scrumptious, Lish – go for it! :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Shan

    This reminds me of a recipe I found a few years ago that used butters and eggs to make a less tooth breaking version of biscotti – Only Chocolate!

    http://www.farmgirlfare.com/2005/12/biscotti-for-beginners-and-baking-with.html

    I’ve made this countless times before. Evidently they were even keeping track at work and was told “it’s been 4 months since you brought in biscotti last. we NEED some!”
    I even jazzed it up for xmas one year and added crushed candy cane to dough and ontop to make it look pretty, even though the smell of chocolate + mint makes me gag.

    My mom is rather nuts about xmas and does huge piles of xmas cookies she mails out yearly, press cookies, shortbread, “nut balls” and “buckeyes”. I’ve been considering doing the chocolate biscotti in pretty bags for a gift but felt like I needed more variety. I think this may solve my problem!! :)

    Living in texas – shipping xmas cookies is a daunting task. too warm usually and family too far for them to survive.

    Reply
  5. ErinG

    These look so good, especially with the sparkling sugar on top. I love to make biscotti, but I must admit that my father DID break a tooth on one that I had made. :(
    Oh my Erin, I can sympathize. I’ve broken two different teeth on chocolate chip cookies over the years, but you know, I just jump right back on that particular horse! Hope you and your Dad can work this one out. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. milkwithknives

    Oh, biscotti are wonderful, and not at all hard to make though they do take a bit longer than normal cookies. We made a batch of vanilla and a batch of chocolate (the ones where you buzz up the chocolate chips with some of the flour in the FP before mixing) for a fundraiser bake sale at my husband’s work last month, and every crumb was bought and eaten before lunchtime. They are very impressive looking, and so delicious when made crispy rather than rock hard. I’ll certainly have to try this version as soon as I can lay hands on the cherries or cranberries. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  7. "sandra Alicante"

    Mmmmm, very tempted but hubby and I have both managed to crack teeth this year! Actually, he’s done it twice, once on a bread grain and once on popcorn. Any consolation though, was that ‘healthy’ foods are no better. I cracked a tooth while on a health kick, eating a supposedly healthy, nutritious breakfast cereal instead of my usual home made croissants or danish!

    Reply
  8. cartvl219

    The first biscotti recipe I had was for Cranberry-Pistaschio. They were mixed in a food processor. I had my doubts (and my processor wasn’t the all that big) but it worked – beautifully, and very quickly. They were a standard for Christmas for a number of years. I particularly liked them because they weren’t rock hard. The only difficulty was that the recipe called for unroasted shelled nuts. I’m sure I used roasted but unsalted nuts which could also be hard to find, especially if I wasn’t making them at Christmas.
    Carolyn

    Reply
  9. mumpy

    this particular recipe started a lengthy internal debate:
    hmmmm…this would be something a bit different to try.
    I don’t LIKE biscotti! – (insert whining tone)
    how do you know you don’t like it? you’ve only ever tasted the anise type and you don’t like anise….lots of people like biscotti….and think of all the other good recipes you’ve used from KAF.
    well, yeah, but PJ like some things I don’t like, like coconut….she seems to like everything…I bet she even eats lima beans!
    so don’t put coconut or lima beans in your biscotti…use flavors you like…isn’t that the whole idea of baking? making the things YOU like?
    but I don’t have any pistachios!
    and you’ve never substituted a different kind of nuts in any recipe? there are plenty of almonds, and cherry-almond is a wonderful combo….and if you don’t like them, give them to the boys….they’d eat sawdust if you added enough cherries and almonds to it.
    well……….
    so I baked the biscotti with cherries – unsweetened dark, didn’t have the sour -and almond extract and almonds….and oh my, are they ever GOOD!…can’t wait to try this again with chocolate chips and nuts, or maybe almonds again, but with dried peaches this time? or lemon and blueberries?
    and best of all?…hubby doesn’t really like the cherry kind…he’s holding out for the chocolate nut type, so these are mine, all mine…if I can keep them hidden from the grandsons, that is.
    thanks PJ….you’ve made a convert here to the biscotti bunch.

    HOORAY! That was my goal, to get more people baking biscotti. Thank you SO much for sharing your internal dialogue; I’m smiling. And BTW – I LOVE lima beans, esp. in succotash, but only the baby limas – not the big ol’ Fordhooks. A gal’s gotta draw the line somewhere! :) PJH

    Reply
  10. gaitedgirl

    I’ve only made biscotti once before. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of biscotti (he prefers the soft stuff) but my best friend and mom love them! My best friend would kill for these – she loves both cherries and pistachios! So I may just have to make her a batch of these. Her birthday is next month… and nothing (repeat: NOTHING) beats homemade gifts (my homemade bread last year was the hit of Christmas)!!

    And thanks for the tip about the spray bottle! The first batch was pretty good but they edges did crumble a bit under my knife. I’ll have to try your spraying tip to help out :)

    I agree about the homemade gifts. They’re a win-win – you get to bake, your friends get to enjoy the results. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  11. mumpy

    follow-up to my original comment: went looking for the other KAF biscotti recipes and LOVE the lemon – with blueberry – and the maple walnut, tho i cut back on the nuts and added apple dices….used boiled cider to replace the maple syrup and they are scrumptious…..hubby preferred the choclate chip/nut combo, and we were both disappointed in the peach almond…i have a to-die-for peach/almond coffeecake recipe so it seemed like a good idea, but i either need to increase the peach amount, or dried peaches just aren’t flavorful enough….have to try that again to be sure….making biscotti is fun!
    so, if your goal was to get bakers making biscotti, i’d have to say that as far as i’m concerned, you not only made the goal, you kicked the extra point as well!
    hubby says you created a monster…and he’s very grateful.

    Reply
  12. flourgirls

    You have achieved your goal! Was never a fan of biscotti,, why would anyone want to eat something so stale?? But, my mother in law told me how much she liked biscotti, but how expensive it was. So,, once I again trusting my King Arthur cookbook to not let me down, I gave it a try. Wow!! I was not disappointed. It isn’t stale, it’s just a crunchy cookie. Very different from the store kind,, imagine that? :) My mother in law loves it, and now it is what we frequently give to her as gifts at gift giving times, (or just when we get to visit). It makes it an enjoyable gift to give and receive. I know it’s something she will like! However, the downside, my family now really likes it too, so all those little end peices that I have kept back, –because they aren’t pretty enough to give :)– are not enough.!! Now they think THEY should get their own!!
    I love the versitility of it. Basic vanilla, to lemon blueberry.. yum.. I haven’t mentioned to my family about the dipping in chocolate.. I’ll save that for another day!

    YAY – mission accomplished! I’ll continue on by biscotti crusade until the last of the “I’m afraid of biscotti” and “Biscotti are too hard” bakers have become converts. Thanks for sharing your success here – PJH

    Reply
  13. chefrex

    First attempt at biscotti, all i can say is fantastic!
    I’m more of a savory baker but i do love biscotti so i had to try. very ez. Used almonds and cranberries, demerara raw sugar instead of white, and a bout 1/3 whole wheat flour.
    This has been bookmarked and will be used in many difference reiterations

    Excellent! Glad you enjoyed them… PJH

    Reply
  14. Claire

    Thank you so much….I just made these and at this very moment they are in the oven having their second bake. I didn’t have all your ingredients on hand so I raided my pantry and used dried cranberries, dried figs and pecans. Sounds a bit weird with the figs but they taste awesome. I have always laid my biscotti down for the second bake but your method of standing them up is better, so thank you for that tip. They smell amazing and I can’t wait to get them out of the oven!

    I love dried figs, but have never tried them in biscotti. Thanks for the inspiration, Claire- PJH

    Reply
  15. Annabelle

    I have always baked my “second bake” of biscotti standing UP.
    I also only bake them for 10 minutes at 350 and they are not rock hard.

    Interesting hint with the water spray. I always used a long, thin, serrated edge Bread Knife to cut and they don’t crumble….unless you have BIG pieces of cho. or nuts.

    Reply
  16. Reshma Shah

    hey, they do look good, bt was just wondering, whats the substitute for eggs? I am a vegetarian n dont’t eat eggs at all ….any suggestions i liked the flavours thogh, it does sound tempting………..
    There are some options out there such as Ener-G Egg Replacer, 2 tbsp cornstarch = 1 egg, 2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg, 2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg, or 1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3 tbsp water = 1 egg. We have not tried any of these substitutes in this recipe but it is worth a try! Good luck to you. Biscotti is one of my favorites. Elisabeth

    Reply

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