Candy Cane Biscotti
When you’re on a biscotti making binge - with a special focus on holiday themed biscotti recipes - you’ve GOT to make a candy cane version, right?
Ok, I may have gotten a bit silly with things, but really... this is the season for food colouring.
Reds and greens everywhere, why NOT bring that to your biscotti making?
Not all biscotti needs to be brown, you know! 🙂
Candy Cane Biscotti
When going on my recent biscotti odyssey, I thought to myself “I wonder if Candy Cane Biscotti is a thing?”, so I Googled.
Yes, it is... just not in the way I was picturing.
Plenty of recipes out there of biscotti dipped in chocolate and coated in crushed up candy canes.
... and nothing that involved messing around with colourful dough.
So, let’s fix that!
While I originally considered stripes ... I just love marbling recipes.
I have a few marbled cake recipes on the blog:
Back in the day when I was doing cake design, I LOVED marbling my Marshmallow Fondant as the base for cake designs.
Sometimes this would be beautiful pastels as a base for sugar orchids, and sometimes it would be marbling chocolate fondants to produce a “rocky” base for the Grabboids on a Tremors Wedding Cake.
You know how it goes. LOL.
I even have a recipe for Marble Rye Bagels - really fantastic base for smoked salmon, btw!
Yeah - marbling instead of striping! 🙂
Anyway, while this biscotti is super easy to make - the recipe is at the end of this post - there ARE a few things to go over that will make the whole process go smoothly.
And, you know, some general education type stuff, to appease the Google gods 🙂
What are Biscotti?
Biscotti is a traditional Italian cookie that’s been around for a couple hundred years.
It’s a loose dough baked as a loaf, then sliced up and baked a second time, yielding a very dry, crunchy cookie.
They’re generally served with a beverage, with the intent of it being a cookie to dunk in the beverage.
In Italy, this is typically a fortified wine, served after dinner.
In North America, it’s more of a “with afternoon coffee” thing, though you can really eat them anytime.
In its original form, biscotti was just flour, sugar, eggs and nuts - with no yeast, other leavening agents, or fat.
These days, biscotti recipes can go in different directions, with leaveners, fat, and all/or kinds of other additions added to them. (Though generally not yeast!)
I like to make them fairly close to the traditional base ingredients - with no butter or oil added - but with the addition of baking powder and baking soda as leaveners.
... and all kinds of nonsense when it comes to flavour additions, obviously 🙂
How do you Make Biscotti?
Making biscotti the traditional way is SUPER easy.
You have a bowl of the dry ingredients, and a bowl of eggs and sugar that you’ve beaten together. Mix them together - you can do this by hand! - form them into loaves, and bake.
Then you just slice them up into fingers and bake again - simple!
How do You Serve Biscotti?
As these are made the traditional way - as a VERY dry, crunchy cookie - you definitely want to serve this alongside a beverage to dunk it in!
Try it with coffee, hot chocolate, tea, or hot apple cider.
Or, you know, with fortified wine - as the Italians do!
While I generally wouldn’t serve this with tea, cider, or wine, this particular recipe does go really well with coffee and hot chocolate!
How Long Does Biscotti Last?
Due to its ingredients and dry finish, biscotti has a much longer shelf life than most cookies.
When kept in an airtight container, expect your biscotti to stay fresh for about 2 weeks.
Note: It doesn’t *spoil* after this, it will just go stale.
Alternately, you can put your (FULLY COOLED!) Biscotti into a freezer bag, suck most of the air out, and freeze it for a few months, if needed.
How to Freeze Biscotti
There are two ways to freeze biscotti:
- Freeze the finished biscotti
- Freeze the biscotti after the first baking / slicing.
Either way, when you’re taking the biscotti out of the freezer:
- If you froze biscotti after the first bake, just proceed with the second bake after they’ve fully thawed.
- If you froze fully cooked biscotti, you can eat them after they’ve thawed, or you can re-toast them.
To re-toast them - really more of a drying than a toasting - arrange them standing up on a baking sheet, rather than on a side.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or so, at 225 F.
Tips for Making this Candy Cane Biscotti
Biscotti may be very easy to make in general, but there are a few things you can do to ensure it goes smoothly:
- I use gel food colouring, rather than grocery store or Wilton food colouring. It produces a much more intense colour, which is especially important when it comes to red.
- The dough will look kind of scraggly after you mix it together; it really does benefit from a LIGHT kneading.
Don’t over-handle it, though - you don’t want to develop the gluten in the same way you do when making bread or pasta.
I like to wear Nitrile Gloves when kneading it / transferring to the pan / forming the loaves.
- Know that the dough is supposed to be sticky once it’s been kneaded together. Don’t add more flour!
- While parchment paper is generally nonstick, this dough WILL stick to it.
If you spray the parchment in your pan before putting the dough on it, you’ll have an easier time forming the loaves.
While pan spray is best for the parchment, wet hands work better for forming the dough than oiled hands do.
I’ll run my (gloved) hands under the tap, shake them off well, and then form the loaves.
How you form the loaves affects the final shape.
If you like long, narrow biscotti, aim for a relatively even thickness when forming your loaves.
If you like more of a curved top to your biscotti, form the loaf so it’s mounded up a bit more in the middle, along the length of the loaf.
Know that the biscotti with get a LOT harder and drier as they cool.
Don’t expect / wait for full hardness when you take them out of the oven after the toasting - if you do, you’ll end up with burnt biscotti in the end.
Peppermint is a strong flavour, and it has a tendency to “stick” to other items. I definitely recommend storing this biscotti separately from other items, or everything could end up tasting like peppermint!
Mini Candy Cane Biscotti
Instead of dividing the dough into 2 loaves, divide it into 4 loaves.
When forming them, keep them the same length as you would have, so you have 2 long skinny loaves.
These will require much less in the way of cooking time, so check for doneness at 12 minutes, and bake longer if needed.
Keep an eye on it!
Not feeling the marbling?
Feel free to roll each colour of dough into long snakes, then twist together before forming loaves from it.
This recipe is for traditional style, VERY crunchy biscotti.
If you’d like softer biscotti, there are two ways you can do this:
The Easy Way
When toasting your sliced biscotti, do 5 minutes per side, rather than 15.
Decrease the eggs by 1.
When starting, instead of mixing the eggs with the sugar, beat the sugar with ¼ cup softened butter, until fluffy.
THEN add the eggs in, and continue with the rest of the recipe.
When doing it this way, let the baked loaves cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Sugar Topped Biscotti
You can sprinkle coarse sugar - or coloured sugar - on top of the unbaked loaves, for extra crunch / texture / a pretty finish.
Be sure to pat down slightly on the sugar before baking.
Biscotti - especially holiday themed versions like this recipe - make great holiday gifts!
Not only do they have a great shelf life - and are pretty durable! - they can look really pretty in the packages.
I like to buy long, thin clear plastic baggies, and package 1 biscotti per bag.
Then I tie it off and arrange a selection of these individually packaged biscotti in a gift bag with some tissue paper.
One nice thing about biscotti being so easy to make, is that you can make several varieties at once, and mix / match them for variety packages to gift!
I can make 4-5 batches in a morning, easily. I just make a batch, get it in the oven, and make the next batch while that’s baking.
When the first batch is done, I take it out of the oven, and put the second batch in.
While the second batch is cooking, I slice up the first batch and put it aside, then make the 3rd batch of dough.
I’ll continue this way until all of them have had the first cooking / slicing.
Then I turn the oven down and do the second bake for all of them, in batches.
More Holiday Themed Biscotti
Want to gift a variety of biscotti? Here are a few more recipes!
How to Make Candy Cane Biscotti
Full recipe follows at the bottom of this post, but here's the pictorial overview:
Preheat oven to 350F, Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and peppermint extract until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, stir to combine.
Divide dough into 3 even pieces. Take one of the three, divide it in half. Set one of those halves aside - this will be dyed green.
Split the remaining half into 2 even pieces, add one each to the original 2 pieces that had not been further divided. You should have 2 larger pieces and one piece much smaller.
Use green food colouring to tint the smallest piece green, and red food colouring to tint one of the larger pieces red.
Divide each dough up into a bunch of pieces, pile together randomly. Gently squeeze together and knead/fold a few times to marble. Don’t overhandle, or the colours will go muddy.
Divide dough in half, form into 2 long, wide loaves on the prepared pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 250F.
Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes.
Cutting on a slight diagonal, slice each loaf into ½" slices. Arrange slices on the pans.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip each piece over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until desired texture.
Remove from oven, allow to fully cool.
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Candy Cane Biscotti
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 4 Large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon Peppermint extract
- Red and Green gel food colouring
- Preheat oven to 350F, Line 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and peppermint extract until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, stir to combine.
- Divide dough in 3 even pieces. Take one of the three, divide it in half. Set one of those halves aside - this will be dyed green.
- Split the remaining half in 2 even pieces, add one each to the original 2 pieces that had not been further divided. You should have 2 larger pieces and one piece much smaller.
- Use green food colouring to tint the smallest piece green, and red food colouring to tint one of the larger pieces red.
- Divide each dough up into a bunch of pieces, pile together randomly. Gently squeeze together and knead / fold a few times to marble. Don’t over handle, or the colours will go muddy.
- Divide dough in half, form into 2 long, wide loaves on the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 250F.
- Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes.
- Cutting on a slight diagonal, slice each loaf into ½" slices.
- Arrange slices on the pans. Bake for 15 minutes, flip each piece over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until desired texture.
- Remove from oven, allow to fully cool.