It’s official. I’ve been obsessed with making biscotti ever since I was first inspired by a recipe on KingArthursBaking.com about four months ago. We both love the crunchy texture and the not-too-sweet but subtle flavors. Oh — and the creative possibilities!
Even if you’re not big-time into baking, I think you’ll want to try these Lemon Pistachio Biscotti. They’re made from simple ingredients that you can customize to your liking. Use what’s in your cupboard — mix different nuts, dried fruits and extracts. (Keep scrolling for some ideas.) It’s hard to go wrong when making biscotti and that’s part of what I love about it.
What is Biscotti?
If you’re not familiar, biscotti is a twice-baked cookie that originated in Italy many centuries ago. Biscotti is the plural for biscotto — which was traditionally a hard almond biscuit dunked most often into sweet wine.
In modern Italy, biscotto refers to any type of cookie and biscotti (as most of us know it) would be called cantucci. It gets even more complicated than that — but let’s forget the linguistics for now and just get baking!
This delicious cookie freezes and stores well — which makes it great to make ahead. And while traditional Italian biscotti can be quite hard (like tooth-chipping hard, unless you dunk it in a beverage) — that’s not the case with this recipe, thanks to the addition of butter.
A Quick Primer on Making Biscotti
It’s not hard to make biscotti; it just takes a little extra chilling, cooling and baking time. Don’t be daunted by all the steps in the recipe — but do set aside about 75 to 90 minutes to make it. Most of that is hands-off time — phew!
Biscotti is made like a normal drop cookie dough. You’ll be adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients, then chilling the dough for a short time before shaping them into two logs on a baking sheet. Bake the logs (the first time) for about 25 to 30 minutes, then remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before slicing them into individual biscuits.
Next, you’ll return the biscotti to the oven for the second bake (at a lower temperature) for about 15 to 20 minutes. This is what gives them their nice crunch and allows them to keep for a long time.
The biggest challenge with making biscotti (for me) is baking them twice without overbaking them. But it’s hard to say if they’re overbaked or just doing what biscotti naturally does. We always manage to devour them either way!
Tips for Success with Biscotti
- Be sure to bring the eggs and butter to room temperature before getting started. I’ve learned this really does make a difference.
- The dough will be sticky. To make it easier to work with, you can chill it in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes before shaping and baking it. If you’re impatient and don’t want to chill the dough — you can dust your hands and work surface with flour and dive right in. [I’ve made it both ways and usually choose to chill it, if I have time.]
- Shape the dough into two equal size logs — about 8-inches long by 2-inches wide and 3/4-inch thick. Use a wet spatula to help you smooth and shape the dough — otherwise the logs are apt to crack on the top when baking.
- After the first bake, let the biscotti cool about 10 to 15 minutes before trying to slice them. It will crumble when cut if it’s too hot.
- Dampen the biscotti slightly before attempting to slice it. You can use a spray bottle or a basting brush for this. Softening the crust with water makes it easier to slice.
- Use a sharp serrated knife when slicing and be sure to cut straight up and down so that your slices are mostly even. You don’t want the slices toppling over during the second bake.
- My recipe uses a reduced baking time and oven temperature for the second bake, which is a deviation from King Arthur’s baking recommendations. Oven temperatures vary, so you can play around with this. The key is that you don’t want to “pop it in the oven, set a timer and just walk away.” You will want to keep a casual eye on the biscotti as it bakes.
Baker’s Tip: If you prefer your biscotti a little on the softer side, always look for recipes with butter. Also, cut down on the baking time if you find them too hard for your liking.
Get Creative With the Recipe
To make a successful biscotti, start with the basic ingredients — in this case, flour, salt, baking powder, butter, sugar and eggs. From there, you can easily change things up without affecting the final texture of the cookies. Here are a couple of ideas for swaps or add-ins for Lemon Pistachio Biscotti:
- Add in white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
- Add Limonicello (about 2 TBSP.)
- Replace the almond extract with lemon or vanilla extract — or mix up more than one flavor
- Add some cardamom or other spices
- Use any combination nuts or dried fruit that you prefer
Lemon Pistachio Biscotti RecipeCourse: Dessert, Snack
This recipe has a subtle lemon flavor and hint of almond, along with tasty pistachios. You can customize the extracts and spices to make it your own.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 TBSP. butter (salted or unsalted), softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla, if preferred)
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped or left whole
- For Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) one large baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is creamy.
- Beat in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and almond or vanilla extract.
- Using the low speed of your mixer, add in the flour mixture in small increments and mix until smooth.
- Add the pistachios and any other add-ins (such as white chocolate, etc.) into the dough. The dough will be sticky.
- Chill the dough for about 20-30 minutes to make it easier to work with. Or alternatively, dust your hands and work surface with flour and continue with step 8.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts on the baking sheet and shape each part into a log about 8-inches long x 2-inches wide by 3/4-inches thick. Since they expand during baking, space the logs apart on the baking sheet. Smooth the tops and sides of the logs; a wet spatula works well for this.
- Bake the logs in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the biscotti logs from the oven and let them cool about 15 minutes. Then spray or lightly brush them with water to make them easier to slice.
- Use a serrated knife to cut the logs crosswise into 1/2-inch to 3/4 inch slices. When you cut the biscotti, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan. You don’t want the biscotti being thicker on the top or bottom, since this might cause them to topple over during the second bake.
- Set the biscotti slices on edge (standing up) on the prepared baking sheet. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until they are dry to the touch and turning golden. They might still be a little moist in the center, but the biscotti will continue to dry out as it cools.
- After removing the biscotti from the oven, transfer it to a rack to cool. Biscotti will keep for several weeks when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to three months. Be sure to wrap it tightly before placing it in the freezer.
- For Glaze
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork, drizzle the glaze over cooled biscotti.
I am not a licensed nutritionist, medical professional or cosmetics expert. The information provided on Honest + Simple is for general informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food + Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease. Before making decisions about your health or other concerns, please consult a qualified professional and do not rely on this website for medical advice.
Now it’s your turn? Have you made Lemon Pistacho Biscotti? Please share your results in the comments below.