This is my favorite version of a beloved Italian cookie. This is a soft Italian Biscotti that often shows up during the holidays and at weddings or other family gatherings. It’s a favorite Christmas cookie in my house and I think it’s the best of the best!
This is the other biscotti…
I say “other” as though I might have made reference to it in the past, but I haven’t. This is Italian Biscotti, a name that simply means “Italian cookie*,” but in our house, it only means this Italian cookie.
It’s the “other” biscotti because it’s the only biscotti I make that is not a crispy, crunchy, waiting to be dunked biscotti like Chocolate Toffee Biscotti. This biscotti is soft and tender and has a light, pillowy texture. You won’t need to dunk it. It’s a perfect little cookie all on its own.
*Biscotti specifically means “twice baked,” but in modern Italian, can also refer to any cookie or cracker.
I may also be so bold as to say that it’s the best soft Italian Biscotti that I’ve ever made or eaten. Sometimes they are too dense, or too dry and crumbly, or they don’t have enough flavor… but this one…ahhh, this one…is perfect.
I’ve been making them since high school, after I discovered them at a friend’s house. During the holidays, she would open up tins and tins of homemade Christmas cookies and send me home with a plateful for my family; this one stood out to me.
I think the recipe came from her grandmother and she was generous enough to share it with me. It’s like an Italian version of the best frosted vanilla sugar cookie, but with a fluffier texture.
I had planned to make a double batch this year because the few cookies that end up as part of a cookie tray never seem to be enough, no matter how many other cookies are on the tray.
Everyone always asks if I could put just a few more of this one on their plate next time. A double batch would be certain to satisfy everyone’s need for a “just a few more.”
And then I started a blog (!) and found out how much longer it takes to make a recipe when you’re shooting or videotaping every step and then moving food and trays to where the best lighting is and then moving them back so you can finish making it and, and…well, the double batch never happened.
In fact, the 1400 cookies and candies I usually make for the season didn’t happen either. I made as many different kinds as usual, sixteen to be exact, just no doubles, triples or quadruple batches.
But, maybe this will be the right amount. Perhaps I won’t end up with hundreds of other cookies still in my freezer in January when almost no one wants “just a few more” anything because they’ve just made their New Year’s resolutions.
Then, we’re kind of stuck with a lot of leftover cookies #crymeariver. This year is different. I’m here with a prized recipe, colorful pictures and more video (yay!) but no extra cookies (boo!)
This recipe mixes up easily in one bowl. Cream your butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla then flour and baking powder. Done!
If I weren’t writing this post, I would be mixing up a batch right now. No refrigeration necessary, just move directly to the shaping step.
You may have seen this cookie shaped into little mounds or knots, but I prefer to make little twists with it. I think that’s how my friend used to make it and I think it’s very pretty that way. For years, I would scoop out a spoonful of dough and roll it into a log for each individual cookie.
Then I decided there must be a better way, so now I take bigger scoops of dough and roll them into longer logs and cut them into many lengths; this makes the process much faster.
Each log is rolled until it’s about the thickness of your pinky finger, about a 1/2 inch. then cut into about 5″ lengths. Pick each section up, bring the two ends together, then twist twice and place on your ungreased baking sheet.
Once you get going, it doesn’t take that long and your effort will be well rewarded. I’m going slowly in the video and it still doesn’t take that long.
You’ll bake them until they’re set but before the edges brown. When you turn them over, they’ll just have the slightest hint of brown on the bottom.
After they’re cool, I dip them in a bowl of vanilla icing then decorate with rainbow sprinkles.
I recorded my dip and scrape process with the icing, and while I’m sure you don’t need a visual of the sprinkle process, I included it anyway, because it’s the fun part, the part my kids love to do. (And they got their chance once we finished recording.)
Now they are beautiful, festive, iced and sprinkled twists, ready to brighten up your cookie trays.
If you love a good iced vanilla cookie, this recipe is for you. Once you try this soft, tender cookie,
you’ll agree that it’s definitely different than all the “others.”