i first came across a recipe for gingerbread biscotti a few years ago and was eager to a) try it and b) immediately start messing around and increasing the quantities of the spices and adding molasses. because one of my governing principles in life is that if some ginger is good, more is better.
whether it’s always true (my husband does beg to differ), it was true in this case. and while seeing how much i can get away with increasing the spices is my general baking MO, it actually serves a purpose here.
since biscotti is baked twice (first as a semi-flattened log and then again after it has been sliced), the spices do need to start off quite strong to compensate for all of that baking, which dulls the impact and flavor of the spices. done and done.
also, since i know the word “biscotti” can conjure up memories of almost chipping a tooth on some nearly impenetrable ovalular thing that looked like it was meant to be eaten but then turned out to have the texture of a bone meant for dogs to gnaw on all day, let me assure you: these are not those biscotti.
don’t get me wrong, these gingerbread biscotti are definitely yummier dunked into a warm beverage (if you want to go all in on the gingerbread flavor, celestial seasonings bengal spice herbal tea is my personal forever favorite), but cozying up on the couch with a fluffy, warm blanket and a mug of something warm was always going to be the most enjoyable way to eat anything (even a dog bone).
but if you happen to not be into hot beverages or are running out the door and craving something sweet or some other scenario that precludes the whole fluffy blanket situation, these gingerbread biscotti will not land you in the dentist’s office if you eat them cold and dry (but doesn’t that just not sound nearly as nice?). options, you have options.
(actually, one more option: just bake the biscotti once, forgoing the second bake once the biscotti are sliced. they won’t last as long because they have more moisture left in them, but my husband prefers to eat them this way.)
and finally, speaking of options, you can certainly add either dark chocolate chips or chopped toasted pecans to these gingerbread biscotti. doing so will further improve the texture in those instances where you’re not dunking the biscotti in a warm beverage, since the chocolate or nuts break up the structure of the biscotti a bit so that it’s not as dense.
i’ve made these gingerbread biscotti with each (and both) of those optional add-ins and i’ve made them without and i like them all the ways. mostly it comes down to how i’m feeling at the time or to whom i’m gifting them (did i mention biscotti make excellent gifts since they stay fresh for several weeks when stored in an airtight container?). in other words, you do you (though i do strongly recommend the cozy couch scenario).
- 132 g. (1 cup + 2 tablespoons / 4 5/8 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus extra for your hands
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- a couple of fine grinds of black pepper
- 47 g. (1/4 cup packed / 1 5/8 oz.) dark brown sugar
- 50 g. (1/4 cup / 1 3/4 oz.) granulated sugar
- 50 g. (3 ½ tablespoons / 1 ¾ oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans (75 g.) or dark chocolate chips (112 g.), optional
- preheat the oven to 350° F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, white pepper, and black pepper; stir.
- in a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugars, butter, egg, molasses, and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
- add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. the dough will be soft and sticky. fold in pecans or chocolate chips, if using.
- flour your hands and transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. pat it into a semi-flattened log/rectangle, 11” (28 cm) x 2 ½” (6 ½ cm). the dough will spread quite a bit as it bakes.
- bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the log is golden brown. transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the biscotti cool on the sheet for 10 – 25 minutes, until just a bit warmer than room temperature. gently transfer to a large cutting board and use a sharp serrated knife to saw the log on a slight diagonal into ½” (1 ¼ cm) slices.
- brush any crumbs off the baking sheet/parchment so they don’t burn. arrange the slices, one of the flat/cut sides down, on the baking sheet. bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. turn each biscotti over and bake for another 6 – 8 minutes, until the final side is golden brown. immediately transfer biscotti off the baking sheet onto a cooling rack so they don’t form condensation on the undersides and get soggy. if you choose to forgo a spatula for this transfer and you used chocolate chips, watch out for the pools of molten chocolate that are much hotter than the biscotti. serve with a warm beverage in which to dunk the biscotti.
- cool thoroughly before storing. biscotti keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for weeks, making them an ideal homemade holiday gift.
you could easily double this recipe; be sure to use 2 large baking sheets or bake the biscotti in batches; they spread a lot.
as i mentioned above, my husband prefers these once baked, rather than the traditional twice baked. they are more cookie-ish and less like traditional biscotti, which he prefers. once baked “biscotti” don’t store as long since they have more moisture, but it is an option…
adapted from smitten kitchen’s gingerbread biscotti.