Sweet Vanilla Bean Biscotti

If you enjoy the pure flavor of vanilla, you’ll definitely love these vanilla bean biscotti. They’re sweet and crunchy and taste exceptional dunked in hot coffee or tea. I like dipping an end of each into melted white chocolate, which adds a little indulgence but doesn’t overpower the vanilla. I use and recommend vanilla sugar in this recipe. You won’t regret it!

vanilla bean biscotti dipped in white chocolate

Vanilla bean biscotti is cookie simplicity at its best. Plain? Absolutely not. If you appreciate vanilla’s pure flavor, you’ll have a soft (crunchy?) spot for today’s recipe.

Not all biscotti are created equal and there’s no one perfect way to make them, but I’ve definitely found a favorite. Over the years I’ve turned a basic biscotti recipe into almond biscotti, mocha chip biscotti, dark chocolate orange biscotti, and white chocolate cranberry pistachio biscotti. Today’s recipe comes without all the fluff and add-ins, but I definitely wouldn’t oppose if you added a little something to this dough. (Hazelnuts would be fantastic!)


Tell Me About Vanilla Bean Biscotti

  • Texture: Biscotti are a crunchy cookie. And as long as you don’t over-bake them, they won’t break your teeth. The center is crumbly in all the right ways and melts in your mouth, especially when dunked in your warm beverage of choice. If you ask me, slow cooker hot chocolate would make a glorious pairing!
  • Flavor: Vanilla vanilla vanilla. Each bite reminded me of vanilla cake, though obviously not as sweet. (These are sweet but nowhere near as sweet as cake.) Though you can make the biscotti with regular granulated sugar, I urge you to try vanilla sugar. I could sing its praises all day long, but I’ll keep it short: why have regular sugar when you can have vanilla sugar? It makes a big flavor difference in simple recipes like this.
  • Ease: Biscotti are twice-baked cookies, but that doesn’t mean there’s extra work involved. They might seem complicated, but the process is pretty simple and my step-by-step photos below will help. No special tools required and you don’t need a mixer. A pastry cutter is helpful for cutting in the butter, but you can get away without one. My #1 tip? Don’t overwork the dough. Yes, this recipe actually tells you to work less.
  • Time: No cookie dough chilling required and the ingredients don’t need to come to room temperature first. You can start right now if you wanted. I LOVE THAT!

vanilla biscotti cookie dipped in white chocolate sitting on top of a mug of coffee

Vanilla Bean Biscotti in Step-by-Step Photos

Before you begin the full written recipe below, let me walk you through the process with some photos and quick explanations. I know you’ll find all this helpful when you begin the biscotti in your own kitchen.

Get your oven preheated. Again, there’s no dough chilling needed so you can get the oven started right away. You’ll bake two trays of biscotti at the same time, but you can also bake in batches if your oven isn’t large enough.

Start the dough. Combine the dry ingredients including the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. I find 1 teaspoon of baking powder is plenty to provide enough lift, but still keeps the cookies dense and crunchy. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in cold and cubed butter until the mixture is crumbly. See the left photo below? Just like that. Then pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk eggs, oil, and vanilla together. Pour over the flour/butter mixture, as pictured on the right below:

a side by side photo showing a bowl of flour with cold butter crumbles worked in and then beaten eggs poured on top

Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to bring the ingredients together. It will be a crumbly mess. Don’t over-work or over-think this! Pour it out onto a lightly floured work surface:

crumbly dough in glass bowl and on pink work surface

Using lightly floured hands, mold the dough into a ball. Do this by kneading (folding) it all together several times. Assuming you followed the recipe, I promise the crumbly mess will come together. Cut the ball in half:

a ball of crumbly dough cut in half

Flatten both halves into slabs directly on lined baking sheets. You want 8-9 inch long slabs, each about 1/2 inch thick.

two baking sheets each with a slab of biscotti dough before baking

Brush with egg wash, which is 1 egg beaten with a little milk. If you don’t have a pastry brush, just spoon a little on each slab and spread it around to coat. See all those teeny vanilla bean specks in the dough? Flavor!

brushing egg wash on shaped biscotti dough slab

Biscotti are twice-baked cookies. Bake the slabs of dough until lightly browned, remove from the oven, then cut the slabs into 8-9 1 inch wide slices. Set slices (cut sides upright) on the baking sheets and return to the oven. You’ll bake them for about 16 more minutes, flipping each cookie after 8 minutes.

biscotti slices before 2nd baking

You’re done! Vanilla biscotti are crisp right out of the oven, but become crunchier as they cool. A dip in white chocolate is totally optional, but adds a little something extra especially if you’re serving these for dessert. (As opposed to breakfast or afternoon tea, where you may not want something quite as sweet.)

Imagine these at a tea party along with petit fours or tea cakes. So fun!

vanilla bean biscotti on cooling rack

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vanilla bean biscotti dipped in white chocolate

Sweet Vanilla Bean Biscotti

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A twice-baked cookie with a deliciously crunchy bite, these vanilla biscotti have sweet vanilla flavor and taste exceptionally indulgent with a dip in white chocolate.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface + hands
  • 1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar or granulated sugar* (see note before starting)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60gunsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional: two 4 ounce (226g) white chocolate bars, coarsely chopped*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, oil, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the flour/butter mixture and gently mix together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until everything is just barely moistened. It will be very crumbly, see photo above for a visual.
  3. 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 sticking all over your hands, 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 8-9 inch long slab, 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.
  4. Bake in batches (or together) 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 wide slices. Set slices cut sides upright, ¼ inch apart, on the baking sheets. (It’s tricky to set the end slices upright, so just turn them over.) 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.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool the biscotti for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before dipping in white chocolate. The biscotti becomes more and more crunchy as it cools. It’s helpful to save the baking sheets for the next step.
  6. Optional White Chocolate: Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or carefully use the microwave. For the microwave, place the white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each cookie in the melted chocolate and place back onto the baking sheets. Allow chocolate to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  7. Biscotti stays fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled 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 white chocolate and/or serving. You can also freeze the slabs of dough before brushing with egg wash and baking. If doing this, I recommend patting down/flattening the dough slabs directly on a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil so you don’t have to transfer it. Wrap it up in the plastic wrap/foil, then freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature before brushing with egg wash and baking.
  2. Vanilla Sugar/Sugar: I strongly recommend making this biscotti with vanilla sugar. What exceptional flavor it adds! Vanilla sugar is very easy to make and you can find my tutorial here. If you don’t have or don’t want to make vanilla sugar, use regular granulated sugar. For pronounced vanilla flavor, though, add the seeds scraped from half of a vanilla bean. Whisk the seeds in with the 3 eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. If you have vanilla bean paste, you can use that instead of vanilla bean. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste with the vanilla extract. If you want to replace the vanilla extract with vanilla bean paste too, use 1 Tablespoon paste and whisk it in with the 3 eggs + oil.
  3. Reduce Sweetness: These are relatively sweet biscotti, so feel free to reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup (100g) if you’d like. If doing so, I recommend adding 2 Tablespoons (16g) of all-purpose flour. The biscotti will taste a little plain.
  4. White Chocolate: Use pure white chocolate baking bars. You can find them right next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. They are sold in 4 ounce bars, so you’ll need 2. I like Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. I use and recommend white chocolate so it doesn’t overpower the vanilla, but you can semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate instead.
  5. Want an add-in in this biscotti? When you’re finished step 2 and before you turn the dough out onto a work surface to shape, fold in 1 cup of any of the following: dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, chopped hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts, cinnamon chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Keywords: biscotti, vanilla biscotti

vanilla biscotti cookies dipped in white chocolate and pictured with a jar of vanilla sugar

42 Comments

  1. This recipe is amazing. My entire family loved it. I have a question next time can I substitute the white chocolate bar with white chocolate chips? Also, can I just use granulated sugar and just add vanilla extract? Thanks!

    1. Hi Natalie! White chocolate chips don’t melt down into a thin enough consistency for dipping, so that’s why I recommend pure white chocolate baking bars. You can add white chocolate chips to the dough if you’d like. See my recipe note about that. Also, see my recipe note and recommendation if you want to use regular granulated sugar.

      1. Okay, Thanks!

  2. I am going to try this recipe based on the picture provided. I find the retail brand Nonna or Nonni brand of biscotti the perfect biscotti. It is crisp but light. I’ve been searching for a copycat recipe but have not found one that is close. Hopefully these may fit the bill.

    Thank you

    1. I would love to try that biscotti sometime. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Hey Sally!
    I had a quick question for you. I love all of your recipes but for my personal taste most of them are a little bit too sweet. Is there any rule i could apply to all the recipes that cuts the sugar but does not drastically change the texture, look, etc of the baked good? I usually cut the sugar by a 1/3 and i would do more but i was afraid it would change the bake. Thoughts? Thank you so much! And these biscotti look amazing!! Very classy!

    1. Hi Tiana! Desserts are usually pretty sweet, but you can reduce the amount of sugar depending on the recipe and if the recipe doesn’t depend on the sugar for total structure and texture. (Reducing by a little is usually fine.) Reducing by 25% should be fine for some recipes. Unfortunately it’s going to be a case-by-case basis! Baking can certainly be complicated and picky, can’t it?!

      1. Thank you so much! This is very helpful! Yes it is very picky sometimes! Happy Holidays!

  4. If I wanted to cut the recipe I half, how would I reduce the 3 eggs? I’m not sure how to halve an egg! Thanks.

    1. Hi Laurel, my general rule for halving an egg is to crack it open, beat the yolk and white together with a fork, measure the volume (should be a few Tbsp), then use half.

  5. Hi Sally, I have vanilla sugar but it doesn’t have bits of vanilla as I see in your sugar. Mine is in small packages. Are the packages ok to use?

    1. Hi Beverly, as long as it’s vanilla sugar and suitable for baking, you can use it. Is it fragrant of vanilla? If you’re questioning it, I would use regular granulated sugar and add vanilla bean seeds as detailed in the notes.

      1. Thank you, yes it is fragrant.

  6. Simple and delicious! Made these on a whim today because I had everything around, and the easy recipe fit in nicely between work calls. I went a little rogue – after making the vanilla sugar in my food processor, I made the dough in there as well, being careful not to over pulse. Turned out great – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Dipped half in white chocolate, half in dark, then added some sanding sugar and nonpareils as well (’tis the season)! Can’t wait to share with friends – I know they’ll be a hit !

    1. I bet they were beautiful, Sidney! Thanks so much for giving these a try.

  7. I will be trying that because I really love crunchy cookies, but, not over crunchy. I would like them a little bit softer in the middle, how are they?
    Also!!! I loved your snickerdoodle recipe, i covered some in cinnamon-sugar and some in plain sugar with sprinkles just to try, amazing!)

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Yulia, Have you ever tried any of the other biscotti variations? The centers are softer and more crumbly then the edges – but not as soft as a chewy chocolate chip cookie 🙂 Let us know if you try them!

  8. Pat Weidknecht says:

    Super easy to put together, and these turned out yummy. I drizzled the white chocolate across the tops of the biscotti. I froze half (for Christmas), and am going to share with friends…maybe! If I don’t eat them all first. Btw, first time making vanilla sugar…super easy. Thanks

    1. Thank you for the positive feedback, Pat! Isn’t the vanilla sugar incredible? I’m so glad you gave them both a try.

  9. I have searched this page multiple times and from multiple devices. I don’t see the recipe! Help please! I made the vanilla sugar and have these planned as a cookie exchange this weekend. I love your recipes and don’t want to google another that I don’t trust as much.

    1. Hi Jessica! Our server was experiencing an issue today where the recipes weren’t displaying properly. All has been fixed for a few hours now, so hopefully you were able to grab the recipe. Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy this biscotti.

  10. Made these today on a bright and cold Friday afternoon. I used vanilla bean paste because I love seeing the little specks in the dough. Love them – so simple to make and delicious, especially with a cup of tea. Will save half of the batch (maybe-LOL) for Christmas. Thank you.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this biscotti, Maria! There is something so lovely about vanilla bean specks in baked goods 🙂 Thank you for giving this recipe a try.

  11. Hi! I love biscottis, and I was looking through the recipe and totally missed the part where you bake the dough before you cut it. So I cut it then put egg wash and baked them, I put them in the oven for less time and kept watching them until the sides where crispy and they where fully baked. Does it change anything that I cut before I baked or will they bake normally?

    1. Hi Sophie, I’m unsure of the exact result without making the biscottis that way. There shouldn’t be a huge difference, but they may end up a little crispier.

  12. Mary Beth O'Hearn says:

    This recipe is so good! I have never been a biscotti fan and decided to try something new for Christmas and WOW! Amazing and the directions are spot on! Sally you make baking so fun and easy! Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you for the positive feedback, Mary Beth! I’m so glad this recipe changed your mind about biscotti 😉 Thanks for giving it a go!

  13. This recipe is very good! It was easy to make. It baked very well, and it was very easy to slice! I will definitely keep and make this biscotti recipe many times in the future. First time I’ve vanilla sugar.

    1. Love to hear that this recipe was such a success for you, Vickie – thank you for trying it!

  14. Hi, Sally!

    This was my first time making biscotti! I used my homemade vanilla that I started in September 2019 and scraped out some of the vanilla bean seeds. The biscotti was SO delicious! It was a pretty quick and easy recipe. I’m planning to make it again this weekend!

    1. I’m thrilled to hear that, Lauren! Thank you for giving this recipe a go.

  15. This is such a great recipe!! Thank you Sally! My whole family loved it and I must say – it tastes WAY better than buying biscotti from the store! It was fun, but maybe because I’m a beginner baker, it took quite a while to make :/ I’m glad I tried it though, will be taking it to a christmas party to share!

    1. Yay! I’m so happy to hear this recipe was a success for you, Rose. What a great addition to your Christmas party!

  16. I would love to make this recipe! I don’t have vanilla bean paste or a vanilla bean to scrape for seed, is it necessary for the recipe? Can I just use vanilla extract?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, absolutely, you can use just the two teaspoons of vanilla extract in this recipe. Enjoy!

      1. Awesome! Thank you so much! And I love all the recipes of yours I’ve made so far! The soft m&m cookie is my favorite! Happy Holidays!

  17. My dough was SO liquid, I don’t know quite what went wrong for me. I weighed everything out right… just a bit sloppy! It still tasted good but it was entirely unkneadable – I had to bake it in a high lipped tray to get it the right height.

  18. I love this recipe. I made two batches both times I reduced the amount of sugar. I still got tons of vanilla flavor. One batch I made dipped in white chocolate and the other I made with semi sweet chocolate chips. Both were fantastic!

  19. I made these the night before a socially distanced coffee date. They were a HUGE hit, but overnight they lost that excellent crunch, though they still tasted excellent. I put them in a Tupperware and left them on the counter. Any advice for next time?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kaila, try storing them in the fridge next time. That helps them stay fresh for longer. So happy they were a hit!

  20. I have a question regarding storing them. When they came out of the oven they had a perfect crunch. I put them in an air tight box when completely cooled and left it on the counter. Now after 2-3 days later it has lost its crunch. How can I preserve the crunch as i would love to give as gifts? By the way the fresh biscotti tasted out of this world.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sasha, storing the biscotti in the fridge will help preserve their freshness. So happy you loved them!

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