We’re here. The 10th and final recipe in 2017’s cookie palooza!!! You’d think I’d be tired of writing about cookies after 6 years of blogging, 5 years of cookie paloozas, and an entire book about cookies. But when there’s millions of cookies and a million more customizations to each cookie… how can one ever get bored? The world is not your oyster. The world is your cookie.
Closing out our 5th annual cookie palooza with biscotti!
I never used to like biscotti. It reminded me of teeth-breaking cardboard.
But all the cool kids seem to love biscotti and I felt like maybe I could recreate it at home and customize it to how I like. Then I could be cool too? Boom! That worked. (Still not very cool though.) Not all biscotti are created equal and there is no one perfect way to make it, but I found my favorite. And it’s unlike any biscotti I’ve ever tasted before. Crunchy without breaking your teeth, crumbly in all the best ways, melts in your mouth, and super flavorful with a brown-sugar base. This, my friends, is my best base recipe for biscotti.
From this base recipe, I’ve done almonds & chocolate, mocha & hazelnut, and my favorite: white chocolate pistachio & cranberries. Maybe you prefer biscotti plain? Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon. To be honest, this biscotti tastes incredible with as much stuff or as little stuff as you want. But I like the stuff. And today we’re adding walnuts, lots of zippy orange zest, and plenty of dark chocolate.
So you get an idea of how the process works, here’s a video:
The general layout of biscotti making:
- make biscotti dough
- divide in half
- flatten into two slabs
- bake a little longer
Let’s start with the biscotti dough. Traditionally, the only wet ingredient in biscotti is egg, but I like to add a little butter and oil for a more flavorful and rich cookie. The butter is worked into the dough the same way I add it to scones, pie crust, and biscuits. Cold and cut into the dry ingredients. What’s the point? This method ensures that the butter doesn’t melt in the dough prior to baking. Instead, the cold butter will melt in the oven. This helps create pockets of crumbly flakes.
You only need 1 Tablespoon of oil, but it really does make a difference. Less teeth-breaky. What else? I sweeten the biscotti with brown sugar and add just enough baking powder for a little lift. Today’s goodies are cinnamon + orange zest + fresh OJ + walnuts, so add those too.
Divide the biscotti dough in half, then shape into 2 long slabs. Brush with an egg wash. Why an egg wash? To make the tops super shiny and delightfully crisp. Bake the slabs on separate baking sheets so they have enough breathing room. You can just bake both sheets in the oven at once.
Now here’s what makes biscotti so unique. It’s baked twice! After the slabs bake for about 25 minutes, cut into slices, then bake the cookies for 8 minutes on each side. That’s a total oven time of 40-45 minutes. Sounds like that length of time would dry out a cookie, no? That’s why we add butter and a smidge of oil. Our biscotti will be crunchy, but the fat guarantees it won’t taste dry.
A generous dunk into dark chocolate finishes things off in the fanciest way possible. By the way, this type of chocolate dunk is the best type of chocolate dunk. I used to only dip one end of the biscotti into chocolate, but that’s clearly wrong.
Each bite should be a chocolate bite!!
If you like biscotti (cool kid!) and you’re intimidated to try it at home or if you don’t like biscotti because you, too, think it tastes like cardboard sticks… I encourage you to try my biscotti recipe. You don’t need to chill the dough, no need for a rolling pin, no mixer required, and no cookie cutters involved!
And this concludes my 5th annual cookie palooza. I feel our cookie sheets and mixers deserve a major break after this, but we all know that won’t happen. Happy baking!!
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No more dry or bland biscotti, this dark chocolate orange biscotti has so much flavor!
- 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled) plus more for work surface + hands
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- zest from 1 orange (about 2 scant Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 3/4 cup (95g) chopped walnuts*
- 3 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) canola or vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk or water
- two 4 ounce (226g) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate bars, coarsely chopped*
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest together in a large bowl until combined. Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the walnuts. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, orange juice, oil, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the flour/butter mixture and gently mix together until everything is just barely moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and with floured hands, knead lightly until the dough is soft and slightly sticky, about 8-10 times. If it’s uncontrollably sticky, knead 1-2 more Tablespoon(s) of flour into the dough. Divide the dough in two and place each half onto a baking sheet. Shape each half into an 8×4-inch long rectangle, patting down until each is about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top and sides of each biscotti slab with egg wash.
- Bake for 25-26 minutes, or until the top and sides of the biscotti slabs are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, but do not turn off the heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Once the slabs are cool enough to handle, cut each into 1 inch thick slices. Set slices cut sides upright, ¼ inch apart, on the baking sheets. Return to the oven to continue baking for 8 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake other side for 8 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft in the centers with harder edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before dipping in chocolate. The biscotti becomes crunchy as it cools. Save the baking sheets for the next step.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each biscotti cookie in the melted chocolate and place back onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle with any additional orange zest if desired. Allow chocolate to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
- Biscotti will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Biscotti can be frozen for up to 3 months, with or without chocolate. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before dipping in chocolate and/or serving.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Measuring Cups | Pastry Blender | Zester | 2-qt Double Boiler | Cookie Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Pastry Brush | Black Plate
- Nuts: You can leave out the walnuts or replace with another type of nut. Or try 3/4 cup of dried cranberries instead!
- Chocolate: Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker’s brand, or Lindt. You can use chocolate chips, but they don’t melt down as smoothly.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.