What Is Biscotti and Why Is It So Crunchy?

We’ve all been out at a coffee shop, next in line to make our drink order, and seen those alluring crunchy cookie-type things in the giant jars. “Ooo, I kind of want one of those!” you think to yourself as you sidle up to the counter. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll chicken out and keep to your regularly-scheduled coffee order, BUT other more adventurous types will seize the day and get that delicious biscotto! That’s right, biscotti (singular biscotto) are crunchy Italian almond biscuits that originated in the Tuscan city of Prato. They are twice-baked, thus uber-dry and crunchy, making them tailor-made to be dipped in a drink. 

How to make biscotti?

Like many traditional Italian recipes, there are many different viewpoints on the “right” way to make biscotti. However, it can be prepared quite simply by making a dough (sugar, flour, oil eggs, and the flavoring or mix-in of your choice), and forming it into a big oblong log shape on the baking pan. You bake it on the sheet until golden brown, then take it out to cool. Once cool, you slice the log crosswise into the standard biscotti proportions, and put the cookies back in the oven, toasting them on each side. After that, you can jazz them up however you like, or just eat them as is! 

What is in biscotti?

Aside from the basic ingredients in the dough, biscotti can contain a wide variety of things. Most modern biscotti recipes contain some form of nut, such as traditional almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts. They also often include flavorful spices such as anise or cinnamon, and sometimes dried fruit, like cranberries. There are also chocolate biscotti—that can mean biscotti made with chocolate in the dough or biscotti dipped into or drizzled with chocolate. 

How to eat biscotti?

The best and most traditional way to consume your biscotti is to dip it in coffee, cocoa, or hot tea. Or, you could also dip biscotti into a glass of sweet fortified wine as an after-dinner dessert…but who has the time to wait till then? I want my biscotti-fix now! 

How long does biscotti last?

Since biscotti are twice-baked to remove as much moisture as possible, they tend to have a longer shelf-life than many other baked goods. (By this metric, think of how long something THRICE-baked might last!) The average shelf-life of biscotti is two weeks for maximum crunchiness. However, if you store it carefully in an airtight container at room temperature, biscotti can last for up to a month. In the freezer, biscotti will keep at peak freshness for three months. 

Provided your teeth are strong enough (let’s face facts, these are some tough cookies), pairing biscotti with your morning brew of choice can transport you to a lovely Tuscan villa at sunrise…or at least somewhere other than your cramped apartment or the highway at rush hour! Ah, a delicious biscotto: your passport to anywhere else but your dreary routine! 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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  • Hello.
    I love how this article not only explains what biscotti is and how to make it, but also shares interesting facts about its history and how to enjoy it. It’s making me crave a biscotto right now!
    Thanks for sharing.