Italian Biscotti…An Italian Cookie and Family Favorite!

By Jodee Weiland

Every year at Christmas time, baking and eating Italian Biscotti cookies were a favorite part of the Christmas tradition in my family. When I was a child, I would watch my mother prepare and bake her slices, as we called them, with care.

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The anticipation of biting into that first slice once done kept me and my sisters very attentive through the whole process. When we finally were able to eat our first biscotti, it was always a piece of heaven as I remember it, filled with the delicious flavor of our Italian Christmas!

http://learnfromyesterday.comOnce I had children of my own, I continued the family tradition every Christmas. Italian Biscotti was one of many family cookies baked, but it was always a favorite. We would bake the biscotti slices and enjoy them throughout the entire Christmas holiday, savoring each bite! During those years I had a friend, who also grew up in an Italian family, so I tasted her family recipe as well. They were very much like ours, except for a few things.

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My family always used vanilla extract, while my friend’s family used anise.  It was good as well, but I never stopped using vanilla because that tasted like home to me.  Strangely enough, when people eat my slices, they love them, and they still claim to taste the anise which I do not use.  Anise certainly can be substituted for the vanilla.  It’s really just a matter of personal preference. Besides the use of anise in my friend’s family, they also used a little more baking powder, so their slices were a little larger and more airy.  I liked this effect, so I increased the amount of baking powder in our family recipe and added the one more egg and a little more vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla.  With these slight adaptations to amounts, not ingredients, I was able to make my Italian Biscotti larger and more airy as well. My mom tasted them when I first tried this and assured me that she approved! I know we all love them, so I’m sure you will, too.

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Italian Biscotti…An Italian Cookie and Family Favorite!

8 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
8 to 9 cups all-purpose flour (I used 8 1/2 cups)

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With a hand mixer in a large bowl, blend together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, and baking powder.  Stir in with a spoon the chopped walnuts next.  Once done, begin adding flour one to two cups at a time.  At some point, you will need to mix this with clean hands because it will become too thick to stir with a spoon.  Make sure you have the flour measured and ready to add in gradually at this point because your hands will be sticky with dough.  Mix the dough together adding flour gradually until it becomes a workable dough and slightly sticky.  Divide the dough into four sections, one for each loaf (two long loafs to a pan). The cookie loafs will be flat and about 1/2 inch thick at most unlike bread before cooking them.  This recipe will make four loafs that will be sliced warm from the oven.

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Bake the cookie loafs at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until done but not overly done.  These cookies are twice baked.  When done remove from the oven and slice immediately while still warm. Take each slice and turn it on its side on the cookie sheet. Return to the oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer until lightly toasted on sides.  You do not need to turn them.

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Italian Biscotti is an Italian cookie and a family favorite in our home! In Prato, Italy, where they originated, Biscotti is an Italian word that means twice cooked or in this case, baked.  They are also known as cantuccini or coffee bread. Originally, these “biscuits” were twice baked to make them dry and crunchy and consequently, able to be stored for longer periods of time. When served, Italians here and abroad, love to dunk Italian Biscotti in their coffee or even wine.

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My father loved to dunk them in either, as did most of our family.  The children would dunk them in milk unless Poppy, my father and a lovable character, decided to introduce the grandchildren to the wonders of a little coffee in a lot of milk with plenty of sugar. He did this with my sisters and me when we were little as well.  It certainly didn’t kill any of us, although I would not recommend it.  Still, before you upbraid him for this lovable gesture, you should know both he and my mother lived to be ninety.  My father’s mother and his grandmother lived to be 100 and 103 years old. So I guess the fact that they all were avid coffee drinkers didn’t kill them, but that said, give the children milk.  They’ll love these cookies with their milk for sure! You’ll love them with whatever you choose to drink as well, so enjoy!

24 thoughts on “Italian Biscotti…An Italian Cookie and Family Favorite!

  1. Jodee, I read this post word for word, and then read it again. I have wanted to make biscotti for a long time. When you said they were a Christmas tradition with your family, I thought to myself, “I want them to be a tradition in my family, too!”. So I must make your biscotti. 🙂 Pinned!

    I watched Giada on the Food Network make biscotti the other day, and I must say, yours look prettier and tastier!

    I loved your story about your father making coffee and milk for the children- my dad did the exact same thing with me when I was little, and it is one of my most treasured memories.
    Joy @ Yesterfood recently posted…Rustic Log CenterpieceMy Profile

    • Thanks, Joy! I know if you try this recipe, you will love it! In our family, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the biscotti! When I say family, I’m including not just my immediate family, but all my sisters’ families as well.

      My father was a character and many of my most treasured memories are directly linked to him! Sounds like your dad was a lovable character as well. I guess that makes us two very lucky ladies!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing some of your memories as well!

    • Thanks! It’s a wonderful and delicious family tradition that we all look forward to each year! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. That biscotti looks scrumptious. Jilda make it each year too.
    Several years ago a utility crew was in our yard trimming limbs off power lines.
    Jilda made several cups of hot coffee and took them a plate of biscotti.
    I went out to the side of the house to check our outdoor light and overheard one of the trimmers say “These cookies are stale.” His older and wiser coworker said they’re biscotti you idiot, you’re supposed to dunk them in your coffee.”
    I howled when I heard the exchange.

    • That’s so funny and so true! Many people do not understand the idea of dunking the biscotti in your coffee…or wine! I’m sure Jilda’s biscotti was delicious. This recipe has been handed down and adapted a little here and a little there for generations. We love it, and it never fails to please the family and guests at our tables. It is scrumptious! Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

    • Traditions are an important part of family life and how we make memories of those we love! I love sharing my memories, and I’m so glad you enjoyed sharing them with me. My father’s sweet coffee treat for all of us in my family is definitely a favorite memory, and I’m glad I have that memory to share!

  3. I have to admit that biscotti is my favorite of all cookies!!!! I usually make a batch during the holidays but having made them yet. This will definitely the recipe I use! What a great looking biscotti! Hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday Jodee!
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    • Thank you! It is a great recipe for biscotti and definitely, my favorite. We love biscotti. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. May you and your family have a Happy Holiday as well!

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked them! They are delicious. Thank you for linking back to my post as your source…I appreciate it! You made some interesting changes…I, too, love almonds as well. Enjoy the cookies and your holiday!

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  5. I adore biscotti….one of my favorite treats to have around, although I don’t make it nearly often enough! Thanks for sharing your recipe at SNF, can’t wait to try it, Jodee!
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    • I love biscotti, too. It’s always good to have around for a light treat. I so enjoy a good cup of coffee with biscotti after a good meal. It’s always just right! Always glad to have you stop by, Cathy!

    • Thanks, Julie! Family memories are always the best memories…so much of who we are. Thanks for stopping by to visit with me!

  6. I love biscotti!! Funny story… i made a recipe years and years ago and brought them to my daughter’s dance team. Most of the girls turned their noses up at the biscotti, they said the name was “funny” and most of them had never heard of it. One girl though exclaimed “I love biscotti!!” and took one. She smiled and took another. That piqued the interest of the other girls who all hesitantly took cookies, and they all loved them! Now I get requests for different flavors and we have so much fun creating. I try to name them after each girl, and the love seeing their name on the blog. I think I need to try this one though… and give them a taste of a biscotti with a story!
    Kim – Liv Life recently posted…Taylor’s Ultimate Triple Chocolate Rehearsal Biscotti… Dance Mom ApprovedMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your story about your daughter’s dance team and learning about biscotti…I love it! It reminds me of similar experiences with my own children, who are now grown up…such fond memories. Memories and stories are good to have and hold close to your heart. I’m glad you like my biscotti and my story. Thanks for stopping by to visit and chat with me…I love your story!

    • Thanks, Christy! You will love this tradition, because Italian Biscotti is the best. Thanks for stopping by to chat with me!

  7. I adore biscotti and coincidentally was just talking with a friend about why some biscotti recipes use oil or butter and others do not. Love your recipe – so simple but elegant. Thanks for stopping by our Happy Holidays Link Party – be sure to join us again this week, beginning on Saturday at 7 pm ET.

    • Thanks, Laura! We love biscotti here in our home, too. It’s the best! Thanks for hosting the Happy Holidays Link Party and for stopping by to chat with me!

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