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 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 and vanilla bean shamrock cookies, 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 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:
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:
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:
Flatten both halves into slabs directly on lined baking sheets. You want 8-9 inch long slabs, each about 1/2 inch thick.
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!
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.
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!
More Biscotti Recipes
- Almond Biscotti
- Mocha Chip Biscotti
- Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti
- White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Sweet Vanilla Bean Biscotti
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Yield: 18 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
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.
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-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 (60g) unsalted 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*
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Biscotti stays fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
- 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.
- 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 in my vanilla sugar post. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
This recipe has great flavor. I used homemade vanilla bean paste and the flavor really came through nicely.
However, I did have to refrigerate the dough because even after adding additional flour while kneading, it was still too wet, to the point where I almost just made drop cookies from it. My hands are always really hot, though, so this was my own fault for working the dough with my hands. But, 10 minutes in the fridge helped and I’ve learned for next time to stick with my pastry cutter or a fork to blend in the butter.
I just made these for my Italian-themed Christmas dinner. They are delicious. We might have to eat them before dinner. I followed the recipe and dipped each biscotti in white chocolate.
These are amazing! I gifted some in cookie tins to my family in other provinces, but the leftovers I’ve been enjoying with my morning tea 🙂 I do have a question though, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve made biscotti (last recipe I used was your cranberry/pistachio one) and I don’t recall it being quite as sticky, nor do I remember the biscotti slabs spreading as much in the oven.. does the vanilla bean recipe spread more due to 1 cup of sugar? Or am I just misremembering my last biscotti bake?
Hi Stephanie, this dough will spread more because there aren’t any add-ins like nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit to help bulk it up. Nothing you’re doing wrong! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
I’m contemplating making an eggnog-infused biscotti to ship back home for Christmas… I keep tripping over the fact that that’ll be adding a bunch of liquid and fat and will probably throw off the wet to dry ratios, etc. Any suggestions on that front? Of note I have a giant carton of eggnog that I’m trying to use up so my preference would be to use actual nog, not like rum flavoring/added nutmeg, etc. But of course am open to suggestions from the pros!
Hi Sarah! I think that sounds delicious. Unfortunately I would have to really test it, so I can’t give any specific instructions. You could try replacing some of the eggs with some eggnog. (But again, have not tested it.) If you try anything, let me know!
i really enjoyed this recipe, added it to my holiday cookie list. add holiday sprinkles over the chocolate – festive!
I was prompted to make these after my Mom almost bought a small bag of biscotti at the store for $10! This was my first time making biscotti and they came out delicious. I didn’t even do any additions, white chocolate or even the vanilla sugar to see how the basic recipe turns out. I did have a question though, when kneading my dough it was very sticky already so I added 2 more TBL of flour and I swear it got worse so I abandoned the kneading and just formed the slabs. They still came out great but any comments on the kneading issue is appreciated. Thank you!
Hi Michelle, it is a sticky dough! Did your dough look like the photos in the step by step photos above in the blog post? You want to be very careful not to overwork the dough and keep the butter cold (start with very cold butter!) to keep it from melting into the dough. You can definitely add a bit more flour to make it workable.
Can you use a good processor instead of a pastry cutter?
Hi Kat, A pastry cutter is helpful for cutting in the butter, but you can get away without one. You can use a fork instead!
These are delicious and came out perfectly. I made a batch of vanilla sugar a while ago from a used bean, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it. The vanilla sugar really elevates this cookie.
Thanks for another great recipe!