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.
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!
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??
- 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)
- 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.
- Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.