The 12 Days of Biscotti

I took on a HUGE baking challenge for this holiday season.  Just part of that was challenging myself to make 12 different types of biscotti.  (You’ll see the other part soon).  I had some help coming up with a dozen flavors, but each were hand-crafted with love.  I turned my apartment into a mini biscotti factory.

If you have never had them before, biscotti are these hard, Italian cookies eaten with coffee.  My dad probably doesn’t go a day without eating biscotti.  He will eat them morning, noon, and night.  We started making biscotti together at Christmas time when I was in college.  It probably wasn’t until last year around the holidays that I started getting really serious about making biscotti.  I had nailed a couple flavors last year, and I made them repeatedly for a couple months.  I made so many batches of biscotti that I was practically giving them out at every turn.

Biscotti are fairly easy to whip together for the dough, but you have to be smart about the baking process.  You want them to get hard and crispy on the inside, but you don’t want them to burn on the outside.  I find the best strategy is to bake them in two long logs on a baking sheet at 350 for 30 minutes.  Then, let them cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into strips.  Finally, bake the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet for another 25-30 minutes at 300, flipping them halfway through.

This year, I decided I wanted to make 12 different batches, so I could expand upon my skill and develop new flavors.  For my own recipes, I will be posting the full recipes soon!

Chocolate-dipped Cranberry

This is the first flavor of biscotti I mastered using our family recipe, and it is one of my dad’s favorite.  He specifically requested this one again this year.  This was actually the last batch I made before coming home for Christmas.  I was dipping them in chocolate late Friday night while I was wrapping presents and packing.

The base of this biscotti uses my grandmother’s recipe.  I normally add vanilla and almond extract, but I forgot to add the almond this time.  They still tasted quite good, especially when dipped in dark chocolate.  These ones are especially made for my dad, so I hope he enjoys them.

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Lemon Poppyseed

This is another flavor my dad requested.  I used this recipe from Cooking on the Front Burner.  The only differences were that I doubled the poppy seeds (at my dad’s request) and I didn’t make the glaze.  Lemon poppy seed has become one of his favorite biscotti flavors.  He has been making them for himself so much that my mom started to complain a bit that she can never keep sugar in the house.  When I decided to tackle this flavor, the one piece of advice my dad said was to double the amount of poppy seeds the recipe says to use.  He likes it heavy on the poppy seeds.

I had never had lemon poppy seed biscotti before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  They were quite delicious though.  You could definitely taste the lemon without it being overpowering.  I didn’t make the glaze because I didn’t want them to be too sticky or too sweet.  I think these turned out just right.

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Cranberry Orange

This is one of the biscotti flavors I came up with this year.  Cranberry orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  I can’t resist a good cranberry orange scone or muffin.  My work gets bagels every Monday, and I always try to grab one of the cranberry orange ones.  To be honest, no one else really seems to like that flavor, so I am normally safe.  Now that I can’t eat the bagels, I don’t know who is going to eat them.

I found this recipe on All Recipes, and it seemed simple enough.  This was my first time ever using orange extract.  I was really hoping it wouldn’t be too overpowering, since I know using these extracts can end up tasting medicinal.  These were not like that though.  The orange flavor was present but subtle, and it reminded me of my favorite bagel!

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Amaretto

I also came up with this flavor.  When I think of classic Italian flavors, amaretto definitely comes to mind.  It is one of my favorite gelato flavors.  I had actually never baked with amaretto or even bought it before.  I had no idea what makes a quality bottle of amaretto, but also knowing that I was just baking with it, I figured I couldn’t go too wrong.

I used this recipe from No Thyme to Cook, but I replaced the whole almonds with a small package of sliced almonds.  I am not really a fan of nuts, so I didn’t want whole almonds in this.  I did still want those almonds to go with this classic pairing with the almond liqueur.  I have to be honest with you.  As much as I love my grandmother’s recipe, these are my favorite biscotti I have ever made.  The flavor was just divine, and it had the perfect crisp and crunch I want from a biscotti.  Now that I have an entire bottle of amaretto, I might have to keep making these.

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Nutella Chocolate Chip

I started making chocolate hazelnut biscotti last year.  I adapted my grandma’s recipe to get this nice Nutella flavor into this biscotti.  I will shortly be posting my recipe so you can make these yourself.  Last year, I used chopped hazelnuts in this recipe.  I decided to not do that this year because I was making so many flavors.  Hazelnuts are expensive, and they are a lot of work to peel.

This year, I used chocolate chips to get more chocolate into this recipe because who doesn’t love more chocolate?  This will always be one of my favorite biscotti flavors, because I am a nut for Nutella.  These turned out just as great as last year.  I think I actually like the chocolate chips in it more than the hazelnuts.

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Chocolate espresso

I came up with this flavor with my dad in mind.  He loves anything coffee, so I thought this would be a great flavor to add to my mix.  I found this recipe on The Monday Box.

I have a few comments about these biscotti.  They definitely taste good, but the chocolate was overpowering.  I could barely if at all taste the espresso.  I am going to experiment a bit and find a better combination to get the coffee flavor to come out more.  I even added some coffee extract, but the chocolate was still stronger.

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Chai Latte

This is a flavor idea I got from my friend Desiree. I came up with my own recipe for this, and I think it needs a little adaptation before it is ready for public consumption.

This ended up being a bit of a tragic batch of biscotti.  I ended up with not a significant amount of dough, so I made one large log instead of two.  This was a huge mistake, especially since I had another tray of biscotti in two smaller logs baking at the same time.  When I took these biscotti out, they appeared on the surface to be done, but in reality, it was not baked all the way through.  The bottom and inside was still primarily raw.  I was feeling tired and just wanted to be done for the night, so I decided to go ahead and slice them instead of putting the tray back in the oven.  Cutting them at this point resulted in them just breaking into a bunch of pieces.  I put them back in the oven until the inside were baked through.

I was in no way going to give these ones to anyone, so I put the pieces in my freezer.  I think these deconstructed biscotti could make a great crunchy element in another dessert.  I will just pretend I am on one of those baking shows on the Food Network where they give the contestants some baked good and tell them they have to make something completely different with them.  It should be a fun experiment at least.

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Cherry Pistachio

This was one of the last flavors I came up with when I was running out of ideas.  I’m becoming more into pistachios lately, and cherries and pistachios seemed like a good pairing.  I used my grandmother’s biscotti recipe and them added some chopped pistachios and dried cherries.

These ones got a little bit over-baked on the bottom, but fortunately they were not burnt.  This is not my favorite flavor that I made, but they are a tasty treat to add to the rotation.  I needed to adjust the fat content a little bit so that I can get the hard texture I really want in a biscotti.

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Snickerdoodle

This was the first batch of biscotti I made this season.  I had the idea to make a snickerdoodle-inspired biscotti, as that is a cookie that I see a lot during the holidays.  Plus, cinnamon sugar is always a hit!

I made this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.  This is a food blog I discovered recently.  I have been making some of her old recipes from a few years ago.  I definitely trusted her recipe would be good.  I definitely love the cinnamon sugar topping, but my favorite part of the recipe is the cinnamon in the dough.  That crispy cinnamon cookie just melts my heart a bit.  I definitely recommend trying this recipe.

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Gingerbread (GF)

The last three biscotti batches I made were gluten free.  I wanted to make these for my friend Ashley, who is allergic to gluten.  I can now more than every understand the feeling of wanting to find to be able to enjoy delicious foods that are typically off-limits because you can’t eat one of the main ingredients.  I wanted her to be able to enjoy these delicious homemade treats.  I used an all purpose gluten free flour blend by Cup4Cup, and I must admit, I really couldn’t tell that these were gluten free.  I was still able to get the texture I wanted from the standard flour.

The gingerbread flavor was another idea I got from Desiree.  I will have to remember what I did to make these and write down the recipe.  I must say though that these turned out great.  It was a fantastic 2 in 1 treat.  It was the best of gingerbread and biscotti all in one.  They were nice and crunchy and had all the classic flavors in a good gingerbread.  I really must make these again next year.

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Double Chocolate (GF)

This was the flavor that Ashley requested, and of course I wasn’t going to deny her of her wishes.  This was a great flavor idea, because chocolate is just the perfect way to anyone’s heart.  I used this recipe from Once Upon a Chef.  The great thing about the Cup4Cup flour is that it already has a binding agent in it, so you can just replace the same amount of regular flour for this flour in any recipe.

These biscotti turned out great, and the chocolate chips were a great treat in these biscotti.  I will definitely be making these again.  I was so excited to give these to Ashley, and I really hope she enjoys them!

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Funfetti (GF)

The final flavor I made were funfetti, another idea from Desiree.  I used this recipe from The Spruce Eats, and also made these gluten free.  I decided to replace the rainbow sprinkles with festive red, white, and green sprinkles.

In an attempt to get these as hard and crunchy as I wanted them, the edges got a little too brown.  I ended up dipping them in white chocolate and adding some more sprinkles to mask some of the brown edges.  I do think they still tasted well, even if a little too crispy.

 

Well, my mission was accomplished, and I got all of my biscotti made.  I am going to have biscotti in my freezer for awhile, but I also am giving a lot of these away.  Baked goods can make a great present, and you can even find cute packaging to give away your treats. Stayed tuned for my own biscotti recipes!
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