I’m super excited to share this biscotti recipe with you guys!
This is one of the recipes that led to my recent biscotti making binge - I’d originally wanted to make my cranberry orange, and pistachio biscotti, and somehow my brain drifted to fruitcake.
The thing is, I hate fruitcake.
I don’t mean in the typical “everyone hates fruitcake” thing, I have a very specific aversion to glaceed fruit.
While I’m fine with candied orange peel, those red and green cherries are one of the very few foods that I absolutely *cannot* deal with.
Yes, I use them in my Fruitcake Cookies Recipe, but I won’t eat those, myself. I just make them for friends, and - back in the day - orders.
Those? Those are FABULOUS.
Instead of using glaceed fruit, I start with dried fruits, and soak them in booze.
This is a million times better than those radioactive-looking cherries, IMHO.
I did a non-gluten-free, non-holiday version of the cookies, btw: Tropical Fruit and Rum Cookies.
Anyway, sometimes I’ll use rum - for the tropical cookies - sometimes I’ll use Southern Comfort (My FAVOURITE for this!), as I did with the gluten-free recipes.
Sometimes, I’ll use Jack Daniel’s. I’m not a fan of whisky, myself - my husband is - and I made these for him.
Whisky soaked raisins or dried fruit, though? LOVE IT.
While my biscotti recipes are generally incredibly easy to make (you don’t even need a stand mixer!), this one has one INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT element:
Not getting into the fruit as it soaks overnight.
I’m not kidding. It’s really hard to stay out of it.
I’m low carbing at the moment, and generally have a really good amount of willpower... but making these biscotti almost wrecked me!
Anyway, while they’re 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, like booze soaked fruit!
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.
Super quick, no special equipment needed.
Well, except willpower, in this case!
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!
This fruitcake biscotti is pretty neutral in terms of what I recommend serving it with. Best with hot apple cider, and would work well with coffee and tea better than it would hot chocolate, IMHO.
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 Fruitcake 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 like to use dried fruits that don’t have a ton of sugar added. Think raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.
These tend to work better than the ones that are crystallized with sugar, such as pineapple.
Be sure to prepare your fruit a day or two ahead of time - it needs a bit of time to soak up the alcohol!
- 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.
While I use Jack Daniel’s in this, you can use whatever flavourful spirit you like.
While there’s not much point in using something neutral - like vodka - you can use rum, bourbon, Southern Comfort, etc.
Mini Fruitcake 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!
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 Fun Biscotti Recipes
Want to gift a variety of biscotti? Here are a few more recipes!
How to Make Fruitcake Biscotti
Full recipe follows at the bottom of the post, but here's the pictorial walk-through:
A day or two before baking the biscotti, measure chopped dried fruit into a small, airtight container. Pour Jack Daniels over the fruit, cover, and shake to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F, Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, and until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, along with the soaked dried fruit. Stir to combine.
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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- 1 cup Finely chopped dried fruit
- ¼ cup Jack Daniels
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- ½ cup Chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Granulated sugar
- ½ cup Brown sugar packed
- 3 Large eggs
- A day or two before baking the biscotti, measure chopped dried fruit into a small, airtight container. Pour Jack Daniels over the fruit, cover, and shake to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F, Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, and until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, along with the soaked dried fruit. Stir to combine.
- 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.