Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti: feed your savory side



Toooooooooo sweeeeeeeet….

Your pantry is packed with panettone. The counter is crammed with Christmas cookies. Even the foyer is filled with a flood of “ripening” fruitcakes…

Sugar high!

It’s time to back off the granulated, light brown, dark brown, confectioners’, turbinado, raw, and sanding sugars.

To say nothing of the honey, molasses, corn, maple, agave, and cane syrups.

It’s time to take a savory break: with cheese biscotti.

Yes, CHEESE biscotti. Who says biscotti have to be sweet? These cheese-y, peppery, crunchy biscotti, packed with toasted nuts (or not), are a lovely accompaniment to wine or beer. Which means they’re a lifesaver when holiday guests drop by unexpectedly.

Make these now; store them airtight on the counter, and they’ll stay fresh and delicious right up through the end of December…

…or until Santa enjoys the last of them, whichever comes first!

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons Vermont cheese powder, optional, for flavor
1 cup, firmly packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until well combined.

Add 4 large eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. By the time you’ve added the 4th egg, the dough will be soft and creamy looking.

Stir in 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and, if desired, 1 1/2 cups diced toasted pecans or walnuts. I like the addition of nuts, but if you have nut avoiders or dislikers in the crowd, it’s fine to leave them out.

Transfer the sticky dough to the prepared baking sheet, dividing it in half as you do so and plopping the halves so that they’re about 2″ from each short edge of the pan. You want to leave plenty of space between them.

Using your wet fingers and/or a wet spatula, shape each piece of dough into a log about 9 1/2″ long, and 7/8″ thick. If you’ve used nuts, the logs will be about 3″ wide; with no nuts in the dough, they’ll be about 2 1/2″ wide.

Do your best to smooth the tops and square off the corners. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the logs with additional grated Parmesan.

Bake the logs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re beginning to brown around the edges.

Remove them from the oven, and carefully lift them off the pan; if you’ve used parchment, simply lift the parchment off the pan and set it, biscotti and all, on a work surface.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Using a sharp serrated or chef’s knife, carefully cut the biscotti into 1/2″-wide slices. It helps to start cutting at an outer edge, rather than cutting straight down through the top; this seems to lessen any crumbling.

For long biscotti, cut on the diagonal; for shorter biscotti, cut crosswise.

Set the biscotti, on their edges, back on the baking sheet; no greasing or parchment is necessary. Space them fairly close to one another, so you can get them all onto the same pan.

Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 50 to 70 minutes, or until they feel dry and are just beginning to brown. Midway through, reverse the pan in the oven, so the biscotti in back change places with those in front; this helps ensure even baking.

To make sure the biscotti are fully baked, perform this test: pinch the center of a biscotti. It should be fairly hard, with perhaps just a slight bit of give; that’s OK, as it’ll continue to firm as it cools.

See the slight browning around the edges? That’s your goal.

Remove the biscotti from the oven, and let them cool right on the pan. If you’re not sure if they’re completely dried out, turn off the oven, crack the door open several inches, and let the biscotti continue to dry out right in the cooling oven.

When biscotti are completely cool, store them airtight at room temperature; they’ll stay fresh for several weeks.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

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 ...


  1. madbear

    Sounds great!

    Is it feasible to use my Zo for mixing, and if so, how would you handle the addition of the eggs – restart the kneading cycle for each egg, so each egg gets the “mixing” effect, or just keep adding an egg during the “knead” part?

    My other question would be about replacing the butter with olive oil – reasonable? If so, a direct replacement, gram for gram?

    Never tried it, and I’m not sure the Zo would mix thoroughly enough – but sure, give it a try, just as you wrote. You’ll risk overworking the gluten and making the biscotti tough -but as I said, you won’t know for sure until you try. You can replace the butter with olive oil – since olive oil is pure fat, and butter has some milk solids, I’d cut back the olive oil to 5 tablespoons. Enjoy – PJH

  2. theconstance

    Is there any reason not to replace white whole wheat flour for all, half, or a fraction of the all-purpose?
    You can definitely sub some white whole wheat for the all purpose in this recipe. I would recommend starting out with a 50/50 mix, and if you find that you like the addition of the white whole wheat, you can always increase from there. Keep in mind that whenever you sub whole wheat flour for AP flour, you’ll need to add about 1 tablespoon more liquid (water, milk, etc.) to the recipe per 1 cup of whole wheat flour that you’re using. ~Mel

  3. gaitedgirl

    Oh yeah! PJ, once again, you seem to have read my mind for what I needed most! I just made a big batch of chili for my husband and best friend, and I was trying to figure out what in the world I could make to eat with it – something that wasn’t cornbread. Everyone eats cornbread with chili. I wanted something different and this is just what I was looking for!!! :) :) You’re brilliant!!

  4. montaney

    When the recipe says to form into two logs and I’m using your biscotti pan, do I divide it into two pans or one fat log?

    .The pan has 7 ribs or lines on the sides that can be used as guides. The dough should fill up to the 3rd/4th rib to accommodate for the lift in the oven. It may be helpful to test bake some dough in the biscotti pan, then use the “leftover” – if any- for a smaller biscotti log. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  5. Julie Cole

    PJ, I love you! Nothing easier than biscotti – and SAVORY, with a bowl of soup? Awesome! I’m thinking of trying pin nuts as my addition…

  6. "anna mid-maine"

    Read this recipe early yesterday am and could not think of what hot beverage to dunk this in…tea?….hot chocolate?….Last night, just as I was thinking of looking over this again….DUH!!…soup would be perfect. THEN I looked at the comments and apparently what instantly occurs to others takes my brain a day to process…ah well…

  7. Rue Wunderlich

    Tried this recipe yesterday. Especially pleased with it, got great reviews at a party. I thought it was quite strongly flavored so included a spread of cream cheese blended with soft butter and sour cream with a dash of red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard and garlic pepper (just a light touch of each). Also, well received.

  8. dixief1950

    I wondered if I could substitute Asiago cheese instead of Parmesan? I love Parmesan but I have a block of Asiago that I needed to use up. Any ideas? Thanks! Looks amazing!
    Definitely! The Asiago would be great! Enjoy! ~Mel

  9. Cindy Leigh

    Brilliant! I want to try Pignoli nuts. Doesn’t that sound great with a cup of minestrone?!

    Sure does, Cindy – I love pignoli nuts. In fact, just had a pignoli nut cookie about an hour ago… Enjoy – PJH

  10. "va kilter"

    How do i bake so the biscotti isn’t so hard Is it possible to make it dry but not hard It is rough on the dental work i don’t want to dunk

    I don’t like the super-hard biscotti, so the ones I make are always crunchy rather than hard. If you’ve made any of our biscotti recipe before, and find them too hard to your liking, try using all butter (if the recipe doesn’t already call for all butter); slicing thinner, and baking at a lower temperature. That should help. PJH

  11. Shan

    Made this last night for holiday party at work today. Holy macaroni this stuff is good. I added some dried tomatoes, and I thought it was terrific. Not overly hard or crunchy with the addition of butter and 4 eggs. Nice flavor. This one is a keeper.

    Thanks, Shan – it’s nice when you find a new recipe to add to your “arsenal,” isn’t it? PJH

  12. gaa

    PJ- I saw this post and printed it out thinking these would be good on the appetizer table on Christmas Day. I made them last night and echo Shan’s comment above. Holy Macaroni these are gooooooooood! Definitely a keeper and new resident on the holiday appetizer table right next to my mom’s party cheese ball. Like you, I like my biscotti on crunchy as opposed to hard side. The texture of these biscotti are perfect and the flavor is outstanding, especially with a nice glass of cabernet. Thinking that a bit of prosciutto on top would send these biscotti into the stratosphere, I stopped at the market this morning and picked up some Prosciutto di Parma.

    Thanks PJ to you and all in the KAF test kitchens. You guys inspire me to try lots of new things and your instructions and photos help me to successfully prepare new, creative and tasty treats, both savory and sweet, which has resulted in making me a more confident baker. Merry Christmas to you and yours and Happy New Year too. Thanks for so freely sharing your skill, knowledge and good humor!

    Thanks so much for your very kind words. And I’ll enjoy – virtually – the prosciutto biscotti, right along with you! Merry Christmas – and a very happy new year of baking. PJH

  13. Jmodica

    Made these for Christmas gathering. They have a wonderful flavor, buttery and rich because of the authentic Parmesan reggiano cheese. I cooked them according to the recipe…approx 60 minutes. Let them cool and wasn’t satisfied with their crunch factor, so when I served them the next day, I popped them back in a 325 oven for an additional 15-20 minutes and they were a perfect level of crunch. I will make these again!


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