gingerbread biscotti recipe (gluten-free version, too!)

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gingerbread biscotti (gluten-free version, too!) | pamela salzman

I have been offered A LOT of biscotti in my life.  When everyone you are related to is Italian, biscotti appear more often than Oreos.  They’re called “biscotti” because they literally translate to “twice baked.”  You bake them in logs first, then you slice up the logs and bake them again. They have this tell-tale shape you see here and they are a bit dry and crunchy and not overly sweet.  There are infinite flavor combinations ranging from lemon to almond to chocolate chip to raisin to you name it.  I remember my parents and all the other grown-ups dunking them in espresso or, if they were really feeling festive, dipping the cookies in a sweet Italian liqueur called Vin Santo.

dry ingredientschopping crystallized ginger

Now that sounds dreamy to me for sure, but when I was a kid, all I wanted was a normal chocolate chip cookie for goodness sake!  Or one with M&M’s or some other junk.  I’m all grown-up now and I much prefer homemade cookies, especially ones that don’t contain M&M’s and lots of sugar.  Even though I try not to indulge in sweets very often, I do like to bake cookies for the holidays.  My favorite holiday “flavor” is gingerbread.  Every year in my December classes I teach some sort of gingerbread dessert, two of which have been posted on my site.  These gingerbread biscotti might very well be my favorite so far!  One of my complaints about the biscotti of my youth is that they were B-O-R-I-N-G.  What kid gets excited about orange zest in a cookie or fennel seed?  Yaaaaawwwwnnnn.  That’s not a dessert.  But gingerbread biscotti are something else.  These pack a spicy punch from both crystallized ginger and powered ginger and a double crunch from the whole almonds.  Even Mr. Picky loves these.  He just walked by the computer and said, “isn’t it about time we make those gingerbread biscotti again?”  I absolutely swear he just said that!

bake the logs firstslice the baked logs

Biscotti are fantastic to make for the holidays because they last a good long time (a week or more?) without getting stale, so they’re perfect for gift-giving!  If you need to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan folks, read through both recipes because there are options.  If you’re not sure how to do this, please leave me a comment below and I will help you out.  I’ll tell you the truth — I like the gluten-free biscotti better than the wheat flour ones.  I think they’re lighter and crispier, although both have that great gingerbread flavor.  I love the extra boost from crystallized ginger, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it.  And if you’re feeling extra naughty, you can go right ahead and dip these cuties in some melted white chocolate and let them harden before you store them or wrap them up.  Are you feeling the holiday spirit now??

gingerbread biscotti | pamela salzman

Gingerbread Biscotti
Serves: makes about 24
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or room temperature unsalted butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat coconut oil and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, shape each portion into a log 3-inches wide and 1-inch high.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 25 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to a wire rack, and set aside until cool to the touch.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into ½-inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices on the same parchment-lined cookie sheet.  If you want long cookies, cut on the diagonal.
  6. Bake 7-8 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 7-8 more minutes.  If you cut them thick, you will probably have to bake them a little longer.  Cool completely on wire racks.

gluten-free gingerbread biscotti

makes about 24

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup cane sugar ½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

¼ cup sweet rice flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired

½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Dough will be very sticky so you can refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes and/or flour your hands while you split the dough into two logs, about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the edges and just slightly soft in the middle.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into half-inch slices with a serrated knife.  Place slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.  Cool completely on wire racks.
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  1. Katy says

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to find your post!! A longtime baker, I am new to the world of GF baking. These look perfect for the holidays!
    A question: Do you know if any other flours would be an acceptable substitute? I live in a very small town and have yet to find sweet rice or sorghum flour. I can get rice and white rice though. Should you strongly recommend these in particular, I shall find them!

    • Pamela says

      I am sure you could use your favorite GF all-purpose flour, like King Arthurs. Do you have that around? I came up with that flour combo on a whim, and I didn’t try anything else. You can of course buy either of those flours online from amazon if you really wanted to make these according to the recipe. Otherwise tell me what premixed GF flour blends you have in your town and I’ll weigh in if I think they’ll work!

  2. Maria says

    I made the GF and vegan (applesauce) version of these and they turned out very gummy in the middle. I have tried making GF vegan quick breads in the past and end up with the same result. What did I do wrong?

    • Pamela says

      I’m not sure what went wrong here, but you probably could have just baked these a little longer. Biscotti are meant to be dried out a little. In general, when you don’t use an egg or any other binder with GF vegan baking, you need to have something acidic to activate the baking soda, even a little apple cider vinegar. Also, I like to use a little xanthan gum to help give the baked item some structure. Have you ever tired xanthan gum?

      • Maria says

        Thanks for responding! I have used xanthan gum before and I used it in this recipe. I will definitely try the apple cider vinegar next time and I might limit the amount of liquid that I use. I will try it next time and let you know. FYI I cooked them a bit longer on a low temp in the oven to dry them out and although they are still a little gummy, they are very tasty!

  3. Bridget Young says

    I have now made both versions and the Gluten free one is much tastier in mine and my family’s opinion. I also made both of them vegan. This made a great Christmas gift for my friends. Thank you so much Pamela. I’ll make these every year!

    • Pamela says

      Thanks so much for your feedback, I so appreciate it! I actually prefer the texture of the GF one myself. :) Happy to hear you’ll make these again!

  4. Elisa says

    I’ve just made your Gingerbread Biscotti and noticed the large difference in the amount of butter between the GF and Wheat recipes. I decided to go with the 8Tbsp in the Wheat as it seemed to need more. Not sure if this was the right thing to do. Is there a difference? Going to try the GF next.
    Thanks & Merry Christmas!

    • Pamela says

      That’s just way I tested the recipes. I never tried the wheat recipe with more butter than what is listed here. If you check back, let me know how it turned out! Merry Christmas!

  5. Andree Friedman says

    Dearest Pamela, I just discovered your website and blog before Thanksgiving. I have made the Delicta Squash and Apple Salad several times and the Perfect Apple Pie twice (and the second one is in the oven now). Tonight was the perfect one to try the Gingerbread Biscotti. I used all Whole Wheat Flour and the coconut oil but the dough was very crumbly, not as beautifully pictured as in your recipe. I wonder if my flour was bad. I am so determined that I want to try again, perhaps with regular flour this time. Will you share your thoughts? Warmest Regards, Andree

    • Pamela says

      I love hearing about your successes in the kitchen, Andree! I am sure your gingerbread biscotti dough was crumbly because you used whole wheat flour, which is heavy and dry. In the photographs you see here, I used whole wheat PASTRY flour, which is lighter than whole wheat flour, with a more tender crumb. All-purpose works, too! Just make sure you don’t overcook the logs the first time around. :)

      • Andree Friedman says

        Pamela: I realized that and tried it again with all purpose flour and they are as you described–perfect! I melted white chocolate and added a bit of coconut oil as you did in your frozen chocolate dipped bananas. I am wondering if I ought to place the biscotti in the refrigerator to help the chocolate dry or will it occur on its own on the counter. Thank you for your beautiful blog and recipes. The Mediterranean Turkey and Zucchini Burgers are tonight’s dinner! Grazie Mille!

        • Pamela says

          Oh good! I knew they would turn out perfectly with the right flour! To coat the cookies in white chocolate, I don’t know that I would have thinned out the chocolate with coconut oil, although that is good for dipping the bananas. If your kitchen is warm, the white chocolate may stay a little soft. But you can definitely hasten the firming of the white chocolate by refrigerating the cookies. Once the chocolate coating is firm, it should stay that way at room temp provided it’s not too warm.

    • Pamela says

      You probably baked them too long to start. They should NOT be cooked all the way after the first baking. Also, you need a sharp knife!

  6. Dalia says

    I made this just now and they are so amazing.. I never made biscotti before and was always very intimated by the process but your step by step instructions made it so easy. I may turn into a baker! Thanks Pamela!

  7. Bridget Young says

    In the gluten free version will coconut oil work in place of the butter. Or perhaps Earth Balance ? What do you think? Can’t wait to try them!

      • Bridget Young says

        So I made them with 4 Tablespoons of Earth Balance and 4 of Coconut Oil. They taste wonderful but during the first baking they spread way too much. So I have very long, skinny Biscotti. Still delicious! Next time I’ll try it with all Earth Balance and see what happens.

  8. says

    This makes me so happy! Brings back many childhood memories. For whatever reason I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth so biscotti have always been right up my alley. Perfect with my afternoon tea. Thank you for bringing baking into my life. Can’t wait to try.


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