The techniques for making biscotti are not the easiest to master. I ended up with many a crumbled biscotto before I got them down. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours baking something only to have it turn to dust because your knife is too dull or you haven’t let the loaf cool for long enough. I’ve included below a handy biscotti-making cheat sheet that will help ensure that you’re prepared before you begin baking your first batch.
Eight Biscotti-Making Essentials for Success
• Use the freshest ingredients whenever possible: fine chocolate, whole unroasted nuts, pure extracts, kosher salt, and high-quality flours.
• Roast nuts first and give them time to cool before adding to the mix.
• Calibrate your oven—temperatures and baking times should be as exact as possible.
• Test the log after the first bake: it should be firm but yield just a bit to the touch.
• Let the log cool for at least twenty minutes between the first and second baking to allow the ingredients to stabilize.
• Slice biscotti at an angle to avoid breaking the log. I’ve found a sharp serrated knife works best.
• Flip the cookies during the second bake: after baking for twelve minutes on one side, turn them over and bake for another ten minutes to get an evenly browned, dry, crisp (but not rock-hard) biscotto.
• Refresh biscotti that has softened due to high humidity or the residual moisture in dried fruit by popping it in the oven for a quick ten minutes at 300ºF. Just don’t try this with chocolate-covered cookies or you’ll have a big mess!
If you bake regularly, you will likely have many of the tools you’ll need to make biscotti, though there are a few special tools that will make the process easier. Before your get started, do a quick inventory of your kitchen to make sure you’ve got everything you need.
• Electric mixer with a beater attachment and mixing bowl (either a handheld or an upright mixer will work)
• Food processor with a blade attachment
• Rolling mat, preferably one with a ruled edge (you can also use a ruler)
• Measuring spoons and measuring cups (both dry and liquid)
• Rubber spatula
• Cutting board(s) for chopping nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate and slicing biscotti
• Chef’s knife, serrated knife, paring knife
• 17 by 10 by 2-inch baking pan
• Small mixing bowl
• Small whisk or fork for beating the egg wash
• Small basting brush for glazing the biscotti
• Double boiler or improvised double boiler (small pan with small metal bowl that fits snugly on top) for melting chocolate
• Pot holders
Nonessential Tools (but Nice to Have)
• Bench scraper to scrape sticky dough off the mat while forming
• Nut chopper (especially if you make lots of biscotti)
• Parchment paper (you can also use lightly greased foil)
• Taylor 5983N Candy / Deep Fry Thermometer for tempering chocolate