Butter Pecan Biscotti Cookies are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges and for sharing! One of my favorite ice cream flavors is butter pecan, so I wanted to turn it into a biscotti for giving away as homemade gifts for friends this holiday season.
This post has been updated. It was originally published on December 18, 2016
How long can biscotti be stored?
Normally, I am too busy to do much baking during the holiday season. This year is no different. I’ve been catering a ton of events and cooking for clients, so my fun baking time has been limited. Baking loads of Christmas cookies is something that I really enjoy and as soon as my schedule slows down, these biscotti cookies are going to be in the rotation. They received rave reviews around here when I made them and this house is well versed in cookie consumption. Biscotti are an excellent option if you ship cookies to friends and family, like I do. They hold up well and remain fresh much longer than normal cookies. I kept ours for almost two weeks and they were still perfect. I’m surprised they lasted that long to be honest.
Speaking of cookie exchanges, these are perfect for sharing. Because the recipes makes about two and a half dozen, it is enough to share in a cookie exchange and you can make them ahead of time.
Are biscotti supposed to be hard?
The short answer is yes. Biscotti are baked twice, which makes them crunchy. These may be a new cookie for some people. Generally, they are not as sweet as cookies we are used to and they are a smidge drier. This doesn’t make them sound appealing, I know, but hear me out. They are magical when you dunk them into a hot cup of coffee or tea. These butter pecan biscotti have plenty of butter so they are not dry and crumbly, but they are crunchy. I have a wicked sweet tooth, but I don’t enjoy desserts that are too sweet. These biscotti mimic that buttery, nutty goodness that we love in butter pecan ice cream.
How to cut biscotti cookies without breaking
The best advice on this topic is to use a sharp, serrated knife. The serrated knife that I own is the one I just linked to. It isn’t inexpensive, but I’ve had this knife for 15 years and it still slices through bread, biscotti and whatever else I throw at it with ease. One of the reasons I prefer this particular knife to other serrated knives is the blade. It is thinner than many other knives, which means it easily goes through whatever you’re slicing. When the blade is thicker, it doesn’t seem to glide through things quite as easily and when we’re talking about delicate cookies that we are trying not to break, that makes a difference. The blade on a regular knife will not work as well, it tends to crush the biscotti instead of slicing.
The other important factor is to let the cookies cool between the first and second bake. The cookies need to set enough to be sliced. Think about trying to pick up a cookie off of the hot cookie sheet. It usually falls apart, doesn’t it? Same concept here, you need to let them cool enough to handle before trying to slice.
Can you freeze biscotti dough?
Absolutely! This is good news for someone like me who is usually too busy the first weeks of December to make cookies. If this sounds like you, make your dough ahead of time and form it into logs. Then wrap it tightly and freeze until you’re ready to bake.
How to make biscotti cookies
There are two things I’d like to address about the recipe. Do you have to brown the butter? Yes. When you brown butter, it takes on a nuttiness that transforms the cookie from good to amazing. Do I have to toast the pecans? Yes. Read the answer to the butter question. While the biscotti will still be good if you skip these two steps, it won’t be amazing. Let’s be honest, we want amazing!
Making biscotti isn’t difficult. It is actually really easy. If you’ve never made them before, take your time and let the dough cool before you attempt to slice it for the second bake. It is the same basic concept as making most cookies. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix to combine.
How to avoid over-mixing the dough
Don’t overmix your dough. Why? How do I know if I’m overmixing? What will happen if I over mix? These are all great questions and here are a few guidelines that will help alleviate this confusion.
First of all, why does it matter? When you add liquid to flour and start mixing, you are activating the gluten in the flour. Too much of this will toughen the dough resulting in a tough cookie. Here’s a visual cue – as soon as you no longer see pockets of flour in your dough, you’re done. Stop mixing.
In this recipe, and any other recipe, where you have mix-ins (like pecans or chocolate chips), you want to see a few spots of flour because you will continue to mix after you’ve added in the goodies.
We love biscotti around here and last year I made a different flavor to ship to friends and family. I made Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti and shipped them 3,000 miles. I am happy to report that they arrived without being broken, so I can say with confidence that biscotti make the ideal treat for shipping.
If you live in a nut-free house, or you are baking for someone with nut allergies, you can omit nuts and add chocolate chips, seeds or dried fruit instead.
Used to make Butter Pecan Biscotti Cookies:
- sheet pans
- cooling racks
- parchment paper
- Stand Mixer
- piping bags
- mixing bowls
- cookie boxes for shipping
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 cups AP flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, sub vanilla extract if you don't have paste
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Lay pecans on a sheet pan in a single layer and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and set aside to cool before chopping.
- Put butter in a small sauce pot and melt over medium heat. Continue cooking for 5 or 6 minutes until it is foamy and starts to deepen in color to a light brown. You will smell it's deliciousness. That's your cue. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Do not cook butter past light brown, it burns very quickly.
- In a medium bowl: combine flour, salt and baking powder
- In a separate bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer): Combine browned butter and brown sugar, then add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla bean paste. Continue mixing for 3 or 4 minutes, then add dry ingredients. Mix until barely combined, then add pecans and mix until nuts are incorporated. You may not get them all in, that's ok. You will do it when forming the logs.
- On a parchment lined sheet pan, form 2 loaves of dough roughly 3" wide by 3/4" thick.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Slice logs into approximately 1/2" slices and lay them on their sides.
- Reduce heat to 300F and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes.
Optional: Chocolate Drizzle!
Melt 1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in two 30 second increments. It should only take 1 minute total, the chips will not be completely melted. Stir until chips are melted and chocolate is smooth.
Using a piping (pastry) bag or zip-top bag with the corner snipped off, drizzle melted chocolate over biscotti. Let chocolate set at room temp for about 30 minutes before moving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72 Cholesterol: 16mg Sodium: 114mg Carbohydrates: 9g Sugar: 5g Protein: 1g
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Looking for more cookie recipes?
- Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- Rum Balls
- Thai Ginger Key Lime Cookies
- Double Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- All Butter Tea Cake Cookies
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