Sometime last Spring, we were talking about Christmas Cookies. I know… Spring and Christmas don’t necessarily go together in most households, but… welcome to ours.

I think we had just made a batch of biscotti and thought about how many different variations on a theme there actually were. And then we had one of those aha moments – what if we just made biscotti for Christmas?!? A dozen different varieties. We could go crazy and have fun!

And then it became December and that’s exactly what we have done – except we’ve made more than a dozen different varieties.

The basic recipe starts with Uncle Rudy. It’s a classic Italian anise biscotti that is as much sheer simplicity as it is totally delicious. Over the years, we have taken that basic formula and played with it to come up with a lot of variations – but never quite as involved as we have done this year!

The year of the Biscotti, indeed!

First, we have:

Butter Rum Biscotti

A simple biscotti with Heath toffee chips pieces and Meyers rum.

Butter Rum Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Meyers Rum
  • 8 oz Heath Toffee Chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add rum and toffee chips.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

The next biscotti is one Victor has thought about forever – and finally made – and I am one happy camper!

Cannoli Biscotti

The classic cannoli flavors in a cookie – how could it possibly be bad?!?

Cannoli Biscotti

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbsp candied orange peel
  • 1 tbsp candied citron
  • 1 tbsp candied lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add ricotta and mix. Add candied fruit, cherries, and chopped chocolate.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

We’re still in Italy for our next biscotti – flavored with Fior di Cedro! We brought it back from one of our Italy trips.

Cedro / Citron Biscotti

Citron in liquid and candied form along with a few almonds for crunch.

Citron Cedro Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Fior di Cedro
  • 3 tbsp candied citron
  • 1 cup blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add fior di cedro, citron, and almonds.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

This once came about because of these ridiculous cherries from Trader Joe’s. There is nothing subtle about this cookie!

Chocolate Amarena Cherry Biscotti

Cherries and chocolate – along with some Kirsch – make for a hellava biscotti.

Chocolate Amarena Cherry Biscotti

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Kirsch
  • 1 jar amarena cherries, drained and chopped, syrup reserved
  • 2 tbsp reserved cherry syrup
  • 6 oz chocolate chips

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add cherries, cherry juice, kirsch, and chocolate chips.  Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

And then there’s one we’ve made before – but different, this time around. First time was using Peppermint Bark. This one uses peppermint candy and peppermint extract. And lots of chocolate, of course!

Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

We added brandy, but a peppermint schnapps would be really good, too!

Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peppermint candies
  • 6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add brandy, peppermint extract, peppermint candy, and chocolate chips.

Mix in flour. Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

Staying with the Chocolate theme for a moment, we thought about what went with Sambuca. Coffee, of course, is classic – and chocolate, just because!

Chocolate Sambuca Biscotti

And if coffee and chocolate weren’t enough, a cup of walnuts add some crunch! Add more espresso powder if you want a more pronounced coffee flavor.

Chocolate Sambuca Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Sambuca
  • 1 cup walnut pieces

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add sambuca and walnuts.  Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

This one came about because we were thinking about classic Christmas flavors. Gingerbread came to mind and a biscotti was born!

Gingerbread Biscotti

All of the classic flavors in a biscotti. This one will get a powdered sugar dusting.

Gingerbread Biscotti

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugars and butter. Add molasses. Add eggs one at a time.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

This is a biscotti flavor we’ve made before, but in a slightly different form. It’s a classic.

Orange Macadamia Biscotti

This will work with Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or even Triple Sec. It will be dipped in orange chocolate.

Orange Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 3 tbsp candied orange peel
  • 1 6 oz Macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • Orange chocolate for dipping, optional

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add Grand Marnier, candied orange, and macadamia nuts.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

This is the biscotti that really sent us off on a culinary adventure. It was a little tourist bottle of pistachio creme liqueur we picked up in Italy that sparked several bottlings of liqueurs and batches of biscotti.

Pistachio Biscotti

Pennsylvania doesn’t sell pistachio cream liqueur  but it is readily available elsewhere. Or… do like we do and make your own!

Pistachio Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cream of pistachio liqueur – or pistachio liqueur
  • 8 oz pistachios, roasted – unsalted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and pistachio cream. Stir in flour. Stir in pistachios.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

Pistachio Cream Liqueur

  • 8 oz pistachios, roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 750ml Everclear or 100 proof vodka
  • 1 1/2 qts whole milk
  • 3 lbs sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Pour alcohol over pistachios and let sit for a week to infuse. Shake or stir now and again.

On day 7… Bring sugar and milk to a boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved and mixture gets syrupy – about 10 or 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Strain pistachio alcohol through several layers of cheesecloth. Discard pistachios.

Mix cooled milk syrup with liquor. Add vanilla.

It’s done.

The liqueur itself tastes pretty good. Over ice it would make a nice martini of sorts…

We thought a pure orange biscotti might be interesting. No extraneous flavors – just orange. And if one orange source is good, four of them should be fantastic.

Quadruple Orange Biscotti

We originally thought about adding white chocolate chips. I’m glad we didn’t.

Orange Biscotti

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tbsp candied orange peel
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add orange juice concentrate, orange zest, orange extract, and candied orange peel.

Mix in flour. Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  rush tops with egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

There’s a bottle of Patron sitting atop the liquor cabinet. It wanted to be included in the fun. There was also a tiny splash of grenadine liqueur left over from something years ago that was just taking up space. Together, they became…

Tequila Mockingbird Biscotti

Okay… Tequila Sunrise probably would have been more apropos, but I liked the name of this one.

Tequila Mockingbird Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp tequila
  • 2 tbsp grenadine liqueur
  • 1 cup blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add tequila, grenadine, and almonds.

Mix in flour.  Divide dough in half.  With floured hands, shape into logs.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven for another 15 or so minutes.

This is our homage to our neighbor in the north, Justin Trudeau. It came about after having a great Canadian Whisky – Forty Creek – in Niagara Falls.

The Justin Trudeau Biscotti

We came up with the recipe while sipping the whisky and eating dinner.

The Justin Trudeau Biscotti

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp Forty Creek Canadian Whisky
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, whisky, and maple syrup.  Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Brush tops with egg and sprinkle liberally with maple sugar. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

And then we have the biscotti that started it all.

Uncle Rudy’s Biscotti

This is his classic recipe that Victor has made for years and years. It is perfect just as it is, but, as you can see, it lends itself to scores of different flavor combinations.

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cube (stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp anisette (or more…)
  • 1 tbsp toasted anise seed
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, anisette, and anise seed.  Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half.  Shape into logs.  Place on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Cool completely.  Slice into 1/2″ slices and toast on both sides in 350° oven.

We have a couple more ideas to come. We want to do a savory biscotti and we still need to come up with an apricot – and maybe a lemon.

Stay tuned.

 

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