Butter pecan biscotti are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges and for sharing! These biscotti mimic the buttery, nutty goodness in butter pecan ice cream.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
They have a double hit of nutty flavor from both the toasted pecans and brown butter.
Biscotti are perfect for mailing to friends and family. They are a sturdy cookie that won’t break during shipping, so they are my “go to” for sending as gifts.
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How to make butter pecan biscotti
This recipe uses ingredients that are normally found in your pantry and fridge, which means you are only a short time away from eating them.
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.
This is brown butter. It sort of looks like a beer, with that amber color and bit of foam on top. It is also the color you are looking for – not too dark, but well past simply melted butter.
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!
Once your dough is mixed, it’s time to form the logs. Divide the dough in half and form two equal sized loaves of dough.
Bake the dough, then let it cool slightly before slicing and returning to the oven for the second bake.
Using a plastic piping bag, drizzle melted chocolate across the cooled biscotti.
Making biscotti isn’t difficult, it’s actually pretty easy. If you’ve never made them before, my best advice is to take your time. 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.
Are biscotti supposed to be hard?
Biscotti are baked twice, which makes them crunchy. This recipe leans more toward an “American-style” biscotti. It is crunchy, but not quite as hard as the Italian-style cookies.
Pro Tip: If you want to make your biscotti extra crunchy, let them dry out in a warm oven with the door cracked open.
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.
How to slice biscotti without breaking
The best advice on this topic is to use a sharp, serrated knife. The serrated knife that I own (pictured below) 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.
The blade on most serrated knives, like a bread knife, is thicker and they don’t glide through things quite as easily.
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.
Another helpful tip is to avoid too much “sawing” through the cookie. Position the front of the blade where you want to start cutting and slice through in a smooth motion. Don’t apply too much downward pressure – let the knife do the work.
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 hot cookie right out of the oven. 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 (for up to 3 months) until you’re ready to bake.
How long can biscotti be stored?
Biscotti are an excellent option if you ship cookies to friends and family, like I do. Last year, I packed them in these cute cookie boxes.
They hold up well and remain fresh much longer than the usual holiday cookies. Another recipe that is great for this are my rum balls.
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.
This recipe has become a reader favorite. Here’s what Alta has to say:
“I have baked your Butter Pecan Biscotti countless times and it always comes out perfect. I actually use it as a base recipe for any biscotti I make… no other recipes compare!”
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. You can also make these absolutely divine citrus biscotti or for the holiday season, try these gingerbread biscotti.
Helpful equipment for baking
- Cooling racks
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer – this is the exact model and color I own, it is worth every penny if you are an avid baker.
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Did you make these butter pecan biscotti? Give me a shout on Instagram @pookspantry and show me! I’d love to see your version.
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose 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 (6 oz. or 12 tbsp.)
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 4 ounces chocolate, melted, for drizzle (if desired)
- 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 4 - 5 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 18 - 20 minutes.
- Cool completely before drizzling with melted chocolate (if desired).
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.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published on 12/18/16, most recent update: 11/11/20