Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti

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Yield: about 32 biscotti

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Biscotti are sweet, right? Well, not when they're made with savory cheese and spicy black pepper. These appetizer biscotti pair beautifully with wine or beer, and are an interesting (and tasty) addition to any hors d'oeuvres spread. And, since they keep so well, they're handy to keep on hand during the holiday season, when unexpected guests drop by.

Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Biscotti

star rating (10) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: about 32 biscotti
Published: 11/11/2011


  • 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
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups diced pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • additional grated Parmesan for topping the biscotti, optional


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

2) Combine the butter, sugar, cheese powder, Parmesan, black pepper, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.

4) Stir in the flour, and the nuts (if you're using them).

5) 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.

6) 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 log will be about 3" wide; with no nuts in the dough, it'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.

7) 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.

8) Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

9) Using a sharp serrated or chef's knife, carefully cut the biscotti into 1/2"-wide slices. It helps to start cutting not at the top, but at an outer edge; this seems to lessen any crumbling. For long biscotti, cut on the diagonal; for shorter biscotti, cut crosswise.

10) 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.

11) 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. If you pinch the center of a biscotti, it may feel just slightly soft; that's OK, as it'll continue to firm as it cools.

12) Remove the biscotti from the oven, and let them cool right on the pan. If you're not sure if you've baked them enough, turn off the oven, crack the door open several inches, and let the biscotti continue to dry out right in the cooling oven.

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

Yield: about 32 biscotti.


  • star rating 12/21/2014
  • Pam from Connecticut
  • This will be perfect as a holiday appetizer. Though I think if I made these again, I would use an even courser grind than I had for the pepper, and I would add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup shredded parm cheese (loose, not packed) to the dough and then sprinkle shredded parm cheese on top before baking, rather than grated. That said, I left out the nuts, shaped the dough into about four logs (though I could have easily gone to five or six), narrower than specified, so when sliced diagonally, the result is "mini biscotti". I also only baked them the second time for 20-30 minutes (to keep them a little bit softer since these won't be dunked like the cookie variety). They are good! These will be served with a schmear of homemade yogurt cheese, and topped with fresh roasted garlic and/or sun-dried tomato pesto on Christmas eve...with some other yummy appetizers of course. Thanks KA. It's a keeper!
  • star rating 12/02/2014
  • Tish from Rotonda Florida
  • These are fabulous! Can they be frozen?

    You certainly can freeze those Tish and we are so glad you enjoyed them. I would double wrap them for freezing and thaw them overnight in the fridge before bring them to room temperature for service. Then enjoy! Happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  • star rating 01/17/2012
  • tkmah from KAF Community
  • Very good recipe. I made a gluten free version, and substituted feta cheese for the cheese powder. Easy to make and a wonderful addition to my cookbook!
  • star rating 12/30/2011
  • schatzi1951 from KAF Community
  • This yummy biscotti was a hit with my family - a delicious change from the usual cracker-y stuff we nibble on during the holidays. This one is a savory saver!
  • star rating 12/30/2011
  • from KAF Community
  • I have made several King Arthur recipes from either this web site or their cookbooks. I have always had a lot of faith in their recipes as they most always turn out great. This recipe really disappointed me after using cheeses and pecans in it. I hate using expensive ingredients to have bad results. I have a party to go to tommorrow night and I can't even bring myself to take them to try them out on someone else. Will NOT make again.
    I'm sorry that these weren't to your liking. Please send us an email with more details about why this recipe didn't suit you. It is always important to us to receive thorough feedback so that we can make our recipes and experiences better for our customers. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/14/2011
  • baronesss from KAF Community
  • I made mine with walnuts, and 1 cup of white whole wheat flour substituted for the AP. The texture of the biscotti is not too hard, but there was not much flavor.
  • star rating 12/14/2011
  • JenWood from KAF Community
  • Very nice. I used finely grated Pecorino Romano and a food processor. I ate 2 of them with a couple glasses of Malbec, they complement each other nicely. I will serve these on Christmas Eve.
  • star rating 12/13/2011
  • mumpy from KAF Community
  • didn't care for these at all....tried with and without pecans....planned on having them with squash soup, but thought the taste was ho-hum and the texture was way too firm for us....actually, they were hard as rocks...they looked just like the picture so i don't think i overbaked them....i guess i'm just a biscotti sissy....i like them crisp but not hard.
  • 12/09/2011
  • toni from iowa
  • What would I have on hand to substitute for the powdered cheese?
    Look for Cabot Shaker Cheese in your favorite grocery store. You can also grate your favorite cheese, freeze it, then process to a finer cheese with a food processor. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF
  • 12/09/2011
  • PY from Jenasen Beach FL
  • I hate it when people do this but I must ask KAF if I am reading the second baking time correctly: is it really 50-70 minutes???
    After researching this for you, it does appear the baking time is 50-70 minutes. Just be sure to reduce the oven temperature, as listed in the recipe. Here is a step by step blog for this recipe: If you have specific questions, please call us on the Baker's Hotline. ~Mel

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