Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I made this biscotti recipe yesterday - Fruity Christmas Biscotti. It contains plain flour, baking powder, mixed spice, golden caster sugar and eggs. The recipe also calls for raisins, dried cherries and nuts which I substituted dried cranberries and white chocolate chips for.

I love the recipe but it was a bit hard - I know biscotti is supposed to be hard but is there any way I can make it chewier or softer? I'm really looking for an ingredient to add, or to change the quantity of something that is already in the recipe rather than storage suggestions like putting an apple in the box with the biscuits.

share|improve this question
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

My kids love a similar recipe, but they also like them softer. What I do is reducing the second baking time by half.

Be aware that the shelf life of the biscotti is also reduced! ... Not a problem in my case since they don't survive more than two days ...

Edit

Some history:

Though modern biscotti are associated with the Tuscan region of Italy, the popular Italian cookie traces its origins to Roman times. The word biscotto derives from “bis,” Latin for twice, and “coctum” or baked (which became “cotto,” or cooked). The Roman biscotti were more about convenience food for travelers rather than a pleasurable treat for leisurely diners. Unleavened, finger-shaped wafers were baked first to cook them, then a second time to completely dry them out, making them durable for travel and nourishment for the long journeys—Pliny boasted that they would be edible for centuries. Biscotti were a staple of the diet of the Roman Legions.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in 455 C.E, the country was repeatedly sacked by the Visigoths, the Vandals and others. The people did their best to survive; there was no culinary development. But with the Renaissance, cuisine also flowered. Biscotti re-emerged in Tuscany, credited to a Tuscan baker who served them with the local sweet wine. Their dry, crunchy texture was deemed to be the perfect medium to soak up the wine (and how much more flavorful than dunking a donut in coffee!). Centuries later, many still agree that dipping biscotti into Vin Santo is a perfect way to end a meal, or to while away an hour at a café.

share|improve this answer
    
Ooh, good tip, thank you! I will try this one. –  Bluebelle Nov 19 '10 at 15:51
add comment

I use my regular biscotti recipe, and then I make a simple powdered sugar icing (1/2 cup powdered sugar to 1- to 1 and half teaspoons water, liquor or juice, depending on the flavor of the biscotti). I drizzle the icing on the biscotti, and let the icing dry just until the outside is hard enough it won't smudge, then store them in an airtight container. The moisture of the icing is just enough to take the hard 'crispy crunch' off the biscotti, while still getting a nice texture. I think of it as the perfect biscotti... firm and toasty enough to dip in coffee, but if I take a bit without dunking, it doesn't hurt the roof of my mouth.

share|improve this answer
add comment

To make cookies chewier, try more egg yolks. For that recipe I'd consider substituting one full egg for two egg yolks. This adds fat, which inhibits gluten development and increases chewiness.

In general, though, if I was going for soft I'd not make biscotti. I'd make drop cookies.

share|improve this answer
    
You mean substituting two egg yolks for one full egg, right? –  Jefromi Nov 19 '10 at 15:48
    
@Jefromi - yes, so it becomes 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks instead of 3 eggs in that recipe. –  justkt Nov 19 '10 at 15:58
add comment

Couldn't you just shorten the cooking time (or lower the temperature) for one or both of the baking stages?

share|improve this answer
add comment

I love baking biscotti and trying those made by my friends. Over time, I have tinkered with a few biscotti recipes. There is a fine line between making biscotti that are crisp versus biscotti that are hard. In general, I got a better texture (not as hard) by reducing the quantity of flour. To make the biscotti crisp, I slice them quite thin (about 1/4 inch) using a serrated bread knife.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.