Christmas Biscotti – My take on an Italian classic

Biscotti are tasty Italian biscuits and the next of my Christmas bakes. They are great as a seasonal gift and very easy to make. They are also very moreish and so you may find them hard to give away. The secret is you make a double batch. That way you will have enough for both your friends and yourself.

Classic Biscotti

The origins of biscotti

Biscotti or cantucci ( most commonly used in Tuscany ) are delicious twice-baked Italian biscuits. They are usually made with almonds. Traditionally they are served with a sweet Italian dessert wine called Vin Santo. You might also find them on the side of a cappuccino or latte. To be honest I’m very happy dipping them in nothing more than a mug of tea. We always make several batches at home, in December, as they are a wonderful handmade small gift at Christmas time.

Traditional Biscotti
Traditional Almond Biscotti biscuits

“Biscotti” is derived from medieval Latin and literally means twice baked. It is also the origin of the English word biscuit, but these are just baked once. There is a long history of double baking. Roman soldiers ate twice-baked bread. Sailor’s rations used to contain the dreaded hardtack or ship’s biscuits. These were often riddled with beetles and weevils by the end of a long voyage.

What ingredients can I use?

Biscotti were traditionally made from flour, eggs, sugar, pine nuts, and whole almonds. Today you can find biscotti with a multitude of ingredients and flavourings. Including spices, nuts, dried fruits and can be dipped in dark chocolate. For this recipe, I’ve included nuts, fruit, orange zest, and some seasonal spices. You can experiment and add anything you fancy. Why not try chopped dried apricots, mixed peel, walnuts, hazelnuts, and chestnuts. You can even flavour your biscotti with liqueurs.

However you choose to make them I’m sure you will find them addictive. Enjoy.

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Christmas Biscotti

For a more traditional Biscotti recipe omit the spices and dried fruit. 
Course Cakes and Biscuits
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Biscuits, Christmas, Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 40 Biscuits
Author Christian Gott


  • 350 gram Self Raising Flour plus extra for rolling
  • 250 gram Golden Caster Sugar
  • 85 gram Raisins
  • 85 gram Dried Cherries
  • 50 gram Blanched Almonds
  • 50 gram shelled Pistachio Nuts
  • 3 free range Eggs beaten
  • Coarsely grated zest of one Orange
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • A generous grating Nutmeg


  • Heat oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4. Butter and line two baking trays with baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl, and mix well. Then stir in the eggs and orange zest until the mixture starts to come together.
  • Stop stirring and start to use your hand and knead until no floury patches remain in the bowl. Add the dried fruit and nuts and mix until mixed through the dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four. Sprinkle with a little flour and using your fingers roll out into long sausages. Place two pieces of rolled out dough on each prepared baking tray making sure they are spaced well apart.
  • Bake n the oven for twenty-five to thirty minutes until the dough has risen and spread and feels firm to the touch. Remove the cooked dough from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool.
  • Turn the oven down the oven to 275 F / 140 C / Gas Mark 1.
  • Using a serrated bread knife, cut into slices about three-quarters of a centimetre, then lay the slices flat back on the baking sheets. Return to the cooler oven and bake for fifteen minutes.
  • Carefully remove from the oven and using a small palette knife turn over, then return to the oven and bake again for another fifteen to twenty minutes until dry and golden. Return to the cooling rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight tin for up to one month.


The biscuits can be frozen sliced on trays before the second bake and stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.
The finished biscuits are great packed into boxes or cellophane bags as gifts.
Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour     Sulphites in dried fruit

Please see the Allergens Page

2 thoughts on “Christmas Biscotti – My take on an Italian classic

  1. Pingback: Start your Christmas Culinary Countdown on Stir up Sunday - An Island Chef

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