Sweet and simple! This homemade vanilla biscotti is surprisingly easy to make, and has a perfectly crisp snap to it. Ideal for enjoying plain or with a cup of coffee or tea!
We're doing it. We're finally making homemade biscotti!
I absolutely love making biscotti at home - mostly because it's perfectly crispy and crunchy, without being break-your-tooth crispy and crunchy. Most store-bought biscotti that I've had was rock solid, which is basically why I decided to start making my own.
Best. decision. eveeeerrr.
It's practically impossible to go back to store-bought once you try biscotti homemade!
This recipe has gone through a bazillion tests.
I'm not exaggerating ... I've been trying to get homemade biscotti juuuussst right for over two years.
I've FINALLY got a recipe worth making again and again! So buckle your seatbelts because I have a whole host of lessons learned to share with you.
What is biscotti?
Biscotti are twice baked cookies. They're long, baton-like biscuits that are super crisp and crunchy.
Biscotti was originally twice baked to help preserve it - the cookie would be dried out to increase its shelf life. Today, it's just a darn good, crunchy cookie!
How crunchy should biscotti be? It's pretty crunchy - like cracker-level crunchy. That's what helps it last for so long!
Biscotti SHOULD NOT be break your teeth level crunchy!! The key to a perfect biscotti is a crisp snap when you first bite into it, and then it should almost dissolve after a few chews.
Vanilla biscotti ingredients:
• flour: for the biscotti and a tiny bit for shaping the biscotti dough
• baking powder: for a bit of lift during the first bake and it also helps crisp the biscotti up during the second bake
• salt: to balance out the sweetness
• sugar: granulated yields a perfectly crisp biscotti
• butter + oil: I like a combination here. Ultra traditional biscotti doesn't usually include butter or oil, but modern recipes have started incorporating one or both. I like adding both for a better combination of flavor (thanks to the butter) and texture (thanks to the oil). The butter makes it rich and delicious, while the oil helps keep it from drying out to the point where it's too crunchy!
• eggs: for structure
• vanilla: for flavor
How to make biscotti:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Cream together butter, oil, and sugar.
3. Whisk eggs and vanilla into sugar mix.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. The dough will be thick and sticky!
5. Shape logs. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 logs on baking sheets. I find it easiest to do this by lightly flouring my hands and patting it. You can also use a spoon or spatula. Take care not to add toooo much flour! Just enough to keep it from sticking to your hands or utensil.
6. First bake. Bake the logs until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes, or until you can comfortably handle the logs, before moving onto the next step.
7. Slice & bake again. Use a serrated knife to slice ½ to ¾ inch thick strips on a slight bias. Arrange (cut side up) on your baking sheet, leaving a tiny bit of space to allow air to circulate. Bake a second time to crisp and dry the biscotti. The biscotti tops and bottoms should be lightly browned.
8. Cool completely. The biscotti centers will be slightly soft while they're warm, and firm as they cool. Cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack to allow it to firm and dry thoroughly before enjoying!
Customize your biscotti!
There are a TON of biscotti add-ins you can incorporate into your dough to make a million and one different biscotti variations! Some of my favorite add-ins include:
• nuts (almonds are super popular, but you can also use walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, or whatever else you like!)
• dried fruits (like cranberries, apricots, raisins, etc.) - just make sure to chop any larger fruits
• citrus zest
• spices (like allspice, cloves, nutmeg, anise, and the likes!)
• chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet, milk, or white chocolate all work amazingly - use one or mix and match!)
• extracts (almond is super popular, but you can also try out peppermint, citrus, or a bunch of others)
• orrrr you can drizzle/dip your cooled biscotti in melted chocolate!
Vanilla biscotti tips:
• Pat the log into the thickness you want your cookies to be. It puffs up slightly while it bakes, but not a significant amount. The height of your log will essentially be the width of your biscotti - so plan accordingly!
• Use a mix of butter and oil. For the best flavor + texture!
• Don't use too much flour. You can use a bit of flour to prevent sticking while flattening the dough into logs. But don't be tempted to add any to the dough itself!
• Use a serrated knife to slice the biscotti. It's kind of a crumbly mess if you try to use a smooth edged knife!
• Cool the biscotti enough to handle, but slice while hot! If the biscotti cools too much, it'll become difficult to get clean slices without it crumbling all over the place. If it doesn't cool enough ........ ouch. just ouch.
• Keep distance between the sliced biscotti during the second bake. The sliced biscotti pieces aren't going to puff or expand anymore, but they need a tiny bit of room for air to circulate so they can dry and crisp evenly.
• Flip the biscotti halfway through the second bake for even browning and crisping!
• Cool the sliced biscotti on a wire rack right after the second bake. This allows air to circulate around the biscotti to continue drying it out.
How to store biscotti:
Keep biscotti stored at room temperature in a lightly sealed container or plate. Airtight containers will cause your biscotti to soften more quickly. Leaving a small opening for air to hit the biscotti will keep them crisper, longer!
Biscotti will keep for up to 3 WEEKS at room temperature! Do NOT store biscotti in the fridge as it will also cause the biscotti to soften more quickly.
Is biscotti better with oil or butter? I'd say both! Butter adds a lovely flavor and crumbliness, while the oil helps prevent overly hard biscotti!
Is biscotti dough supposed to be sticky? For this recipe, yes!
How long should biscotti cool before cutting? 10 minutes is usually the golden time. It should still be warm (this helps you get the cleanest cuts!)
Why are my biscotti not crunchy? Soft biscotti usually comes about due to one of 2 possible reasons: 1) they weren't baked and dried out for long enough during the second round in the oven, or 2) they weren't cooled on a wire rack. Soft biscotti can be re-baked until crisp, and it should be good to go!
Are biscotti supposed to be hard? Yes! They're meant to be crisp and dry - ideal for dipping in coffee or tea!
Do biscotti harden as they cool? Yes. You may find your cookies are a bit soft in the centers after the second bake, but they continue to firm as they cool.
Check out these other recipes!
Simple Vanilla Biscotti Recipe
- 1 & ¾ cups (210g) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (½ stick / 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to incorporate and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, and oil. Using an electric or stand mixer, or a wooden spoon, cream together until the sugar has fully dissolved and you have a relatively smooth mixture. Some graininess is normal and fine!
- Whisk the eggs into the sugar mixture, one at a time, until incorporated. Add in your vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Pour your dry ingredients into the sugar/egg mix. Fold everything together until you get a thick sticky dough.
- Divide the dough in half and transfer each half onto its own parchment lined baking sheet. With lightly floured hands or a spoon/spatula, pat each half of dough into a log that's about ¾ of an inch thick and roughly 6 inches long.
- Bake the logs in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Take the logs out of the oven (but leave the oven on). Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet, or until cool enough to handle. The logs should still be quite warm to get the cleanest cuts!
- Transfer one of the baked logs onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut the log into slices (on a slight angle) that are about ½ an inch to ¾ of an inch thick. Arrange the slices cut side up on your baking sheet, leaving about ¼ inch space between each one to allow for air to circulate. Repeat with the second log.
- Transfer back into your preheated 350°F oven, and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes. Flip the biscotti about halfway through the bake so they dry evenly. The biscotti are ready once they're crisped up and lightly browned on top. The centers will still be soft, but they will firm up as they cool.
- Take the biscotti out of the oven, and transfer onto a wire rack while they're still hot. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature before serving!