Biscotti, a New Christmas Tradition?


Hello everyone! I haven't been writing much, but it's Christmas time and things can get pretty busy and crazy! I've been posting videos everyday on the Kimchi Kristy Channel, and just when I was about to bake something for a recipe our oven broke. We got it fixed the other day, after a few weeks of being without, and I was able to make some Biscotti!

If you haven't seen Biscotti, individually wrapped and stale in coffee shops, I'll explain a little about what they are. Biscotti basically means "Twice Baked", which is why they are harder than other cookies when it comes to texture. You bake them in a loaf, slice it into pieces, and bake them again (usually). The reason they are so hard is because they are meant to be dipped in tea or coffee, and they get soft without being soggy. It's a great accompaniment to hot drinks, which is why I love making them during the winter. They aren't necessarily a "Christmas Goodie", but for a few years now it has become my personal tradition to bake some every December!

I think that Biscotti may be one of the "cookies" that people have mixed feelings about. Some people have had a stale, bitter, one from a coffee shop when in a hurry (which was my first experience), other may think they are too difficult to make, and others make them all the time! They are really simple to make, and take very few ingredients. Also, though the baking takes a while, you don't have to be in the Kitchen the whole time, so it's not very stressful to make them. The best part is that you can make any flavor you like, just by adding your favorite ingredients in it. This year I made two kinds, that are my favorites! Chocolate Almond Biscotti, and Cranberry Cashew (because we had no Pistachios and couldn't get into town from the snow).


Others I have baked are Butter Brickle (Toffee) and Gingerbread Biscotti. There are so many kinds out there, including Hazelnut, Cinnamon Pecan, Orange Zest, Mocha, Walnut, Pumpkin, and more. Most flavors have just enough sugar to make them sweet, without being overwhelming. Most store bought brands don't have enough sugar, and overcompensate by dipping in it a lot of chocolate, but homemade Biscotti tend to have balance.

If it's your first time making Biscotti I wanted to give a basic recipe that you can add to, along with some tips that I've learned in the past couple of years.

Basic Biscotti (Full batch) 

- 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter, Softened.
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1. Beat together the Sugar and Butter until creamy.
2. Add the Eggs one at a time and beat on Medium speed for about 3 minutes.
3.Combine the dry ingredients and mix until well integrated, you will need a wooden spoon since it's thick, or just knead it by hand.
4. Divide the dough in half, into two loafs.
5. Bake as a loaf at 325°F for 30-35 Minutes.
6. After it cools for a minute, slice into inch thick pieces and bake for about 5-7 minutes, flip the Biscotti over and repeat.
7. Allow to cool on a cooling rack, and decorate!

Tips

1. Make half batches. Most recipes make about 4 Dozen cookies, and unless you are making them for a cookie swap or something, it's best to half the recipes. If the recipe calls for 3 eggs, to half it use one large egg instead of two. Because-

2. Biscotti dough should be really thick. Since it's more of a loaf, you want the dough to be pretty dense and moldable. It's should be more like sugar cookie dough than sticky cookie dough. If it's too thin, the loaf will spread out and make very thin Biscotti that can overcook.

3. A lot of recipes say to cut them diagonally and throw away the short ends. I found that if I shape the loaf a certain way, I can just cut them vertically/crosswise and use the whole loaf instead. If you have a good thick dough that won't spread out, shape it into a rectangle and have it raised in the middle, with the dough getting thinner towards the top and the bottom edges, and pat the sides of it flat. (I'm adding a picture to help explain the shape) This way it'll still have the recognizable shape, and all the pieces will be the same length.


4. If you can, buy Parchment Paper for baking them. If they stick to the pan it will make things very difficult, and the easiest way to make sure that doesn't happen is to use Parchment Paper underneath them. It's better than Wax Paper, and you can re-use it a couple times before tossing it.

5. Use a large sharp knife for cutting. You want them to be about an inch or so think, if you cut them too thin they will break and crumble. If you want too long for them to cool, there's more of a chance that they can break, so cut only a few minutes after taking the loaf out of the oven.

6. Make sure not to burn them the second time! It's especially difficult to tell if you make Chocolate Biscotti if they are burnt or not. Only about 5-7 minutes for each side is a good amount of time. They will get harder after cooling, so don't overcook them just to get that texture.

7. Use your hands for moving. If you try to use a spatula, there's a chance you will break the Biscotti in half while moving them around on the tray or to the cooling rack. Though they get harder after drying, Biscotti are brittle before that point and can break easily. Use two hands to grab both ends of the cookies when transferring them or flipping them over.

8. If you do break the Biscotti, you can use Chocolate to bind the pieces together. Most of the time you can't tell there's a break if you coat them with something. I like to drizzle across the entire biscuit instead of dipping one end entirely, but you can decorate any way that you would like!

9. Make sure that they are cooled before topping them, or things can get messy. Since they cook for a while, they come out of the oven pretty hot, and can melt the Chocolate you put on top. Also, use pure Chocolate, and don't add any shortening or thinner into it. It takes a bit for them to dry, but they stay better that way.

10. Always store them in something airtight! Cookie jars don't tend to be sealed enough, so I suggest transferring them to a zip-top bag once the chocolate is completely dry, and the Biscotti are cooled completely. If you don't store them that way, they will get stale instead of simply being crisp.


Those are my 10 tips for better Biscotti, along with a simple recipe for you! I hope you are able to try making a batch this year, and who knows, it may become a tradition for you as well! I love making, and eating, them every year, and they make great gifts as well. Christmas is only a few days away, and there's still a few more weeks (or months) of Winter left! So why not try something new, it's not like it's the end of the world!

See you next time you jump down the Rabbit hole,
-C.A.M.