biscotti base

I love biscotti in just about every form, from sweet to savory. This is my go-to base for a sweet biscotti dough; you can customize it to your liking with almost any mix-in you desire. Any type of nut, dried fruit, chocolate chip, or combination will work — just keep it to the specified amount.

You may wonder why I choose to use olive oil instead of butter. It’s simple — this recipe makes so many biscotti that it takes me a while to eat them all. Using olive oil helps them to keep longer without tasting “off” while the butter slowly goes rancid. Olive oil is also heart-healthy and brings an interesting fruity/peppery flavor to the cookie.  If you’re not into the flavor of EVOO, you could sub some or all of it with canola oil (or any other oil for that matter). You could also use melted butter, but up the amount to 4 TB (since it’s only 80% fat). Try browning your butter – this, too, makes a spectacular biscotti.

This recipe is for a pretty hard – but not tooth-crushing – biscotto; intended for dunking, though I eat them out of hand without a second thought.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon dry spice(s) (optional — cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, even lavender)
2 large eggs+ 1 egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon other extract (optional – but almond, lemon, anise, orange flower water, or peppermint are all very nice options)
3/4 cup mix-ins (slivered almonds, cranberries, pistachios, apricots, chocolate chips etc.)
1 citrus fruit, zested (optional – yet another way to bring flavor to the party)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Whisk flour, baking powder, any dry spices, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Whisk eggs, yolk, and sugar together until pale yellow and very foamy. Add olive oil and whisk vigorously until incorporated. Add extracts and zest (if using) and whisk again.

Toss mix-ins into the flour mixture to coat. Add wet ingredients and fold together until thoroughly combined, but be careful not to mix too much.

Halve dough and turn each portion onto an oiled cookie sheet covered with parchment. Using floured hands, quickly stretch each portion of dough into a rough 13-by-2-inch log, placing them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat each dough shape to smooth it. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes.

Cool the loaves for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cut each loaf diagonally into 3/8-inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about 1/2-inch apart on the cookie sheet, top down, and return them to the oven. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and cool completely.

Some possible flavor combos:

  • walnuts, cranberry, orange zest
  • cinnamon & raisins
  • powdered ginger & crystallized ginger
  • orange zest & anise seeds
  • sesame seeds, cardamom, orange flower water
  • chocolate chips & espresso powder
  • chopped apricots, sliced almonds, and almond extract
  • dried blueberries & lemon zest
  • dark chocolate, cinnamon, & cayenne pepper (just a dash)
  • white chocolate chips & peppermint extract
I could go on, but you get the idea — there are a ton of options.  Feel free to share your favs in the comments…

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