You ever just want a cookie for breakfast?
Well, with biscotti, you can eat one and feel a little fancy about it. The name of the Italian confection whose primary use is dunking in hot coffee translates to “twice baked,” and it reads very much like a crunchy cookie.
Biscotti is actually a little more foolproof, though; it’s tough to truly screw up the texture, as the expected outcome already veers toward the crispier side.
The dough is similar to a chocolate chip cookie base, lots of eggs and sugar and butter. Plus, almond and vanilla extracts to up the fragrance factor. That base comes together in a snap. From there, the most crucial step is forming the dough into two wide-ish logs for that first bake. The more rectangular and uniform the logs are, the prettier your biscotti will be.
From that standard base, you can get creative, working in an array of nuts or dried fruits depending on the kind of biscotti you’re going for. I opted for chocolate in the recipe below, adding bits of flaky sea salt to get that sweet-salty contrast. I kept a couple of almonds from the original recipe in there, too.
Biscotti makes for a delightful go-to this time of year, perfect as a hostess gift or as a sweet companion to a warm beverage on a cooler morning.
Here are three other combinations worth a try:
Pumpkin Walnut: Add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree to the batter when you add the butter, mixing well. Omit the chocolate. Sub the almonds for 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts.
Lemon Pine Nut: Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest to the batter. Omit the chocolate. Sub the almonds for 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts.
White Chocolate Cranberry: Sub the chocolate and the almonds for 1 cup each white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Chocolate Chunk Sea Salt Biscotti
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons brandy, optional
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chocolate chunks, or from a roughly chopped chocolate bar
Stir together sugar, butter, brandy if using, and extracts in a large bowl, then stir in almonds and eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined. Add chocolate and stir gently to incorporate.
Chill dough, covered, 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in middle of the oven.
Using moistened hands, halve dough and form 2 equal-sized loaves on an ungreased large baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 30 minutes. This is your first bake. Carefully transfer loaves to a rack and cool 15 minutes.
Cut loaves into 3/4-inch slices with a serrated knife. Arrange biscotti, with a cut side down, on a clean baking sheet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Source: Adapted from Epicurious