A staple in any Italian café or bakery, biscotti is a tasty almond cookie beloved for its crunchy texture and sweet, nutty flavor. Also known as cantuccini, this Italian essential is more famous for its role as a vessel for dunking into hot liquid (traditionally coffee or sweet wine) than for its place on a dessert platter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on its own. We do it all the time!
Traditional biscotti, whose name comes from the Latin word for “twice-cooked,” is made using a recipe derived from famous Tuscan biscotti chef Antonio Mattei, who helped make this cookie famous from his bakery in Prato, Tuscany in the mid-1880s. It combines flour, sugar, eggs and almonds or pine nuts and is then fired in the oven twice to reinforce its crunchy texture and make it more shelf-stable. This is why, according to baking lore, Christopher Columbus stocked it on his ships for long voyages.
Biscotti Flavors and Makers
As you can see from exploring our selection of biscotti and cantuccini, there’s a lot more on the biscotti table than just your typical sweet, nutty mainstay. If you’re looking for a great way to expand your palate and spice up your cookie tray, be sure to grab a fun flavor or new style from our Italian marketplace.
The versatile flour, sugar and egg recipe makes biscotti the perfect base for all kinds of mix-ins that go beyond the traditional almond and pine nut flavoring. Today, you’ll find biscotti in flavors such as chocolate, honey, lemon, orange, cranberries, figs, black cherries, pistachio and hazelnut. Just like many modern foodstuffs, there’s even pumpkin spice biscotti available for the lover of fall flavors!
If you want a little more out of your Italian cookies, look to offerings made by traditional Italian cookie purveyors like Chiostro di Saronno, Sapori, Pan Ducale, Borgo Del Biscotto and Biscottificio Belli.
Styles of Biscotti
If you ask an Italian purist, they’ll likely tell you that there’s only one kind of biscotti — the twice-baked cookie made using Mattei’s original recipe. But if you’re interested in branching out, we recommend the following styles:
- Traditional Biscotti — As we’ve already covered, traditional biscotti is relatively simple in its ingredients, using sugar and almonds to create a sweet, nutty flavor. If tradition is your thing, stick to simple ingredients or buy from Tuscan suppliers who have been in the business for generations, such as Chiostro di Saronno and Sapori.
- Jeweled Biscotti — If you love a pop of sweetness in your biscuit, don’t underestimate the power of a fruity biscotti cookie! Bakers use all sorts of fruits to enhance their double-baked confections, but some of the most popular include candied cherries, pineapples, apricots and more. Biscotti with candied or dried fruit mixed in is often referred to as “jeweled” biscotti due to its bright, colorful speckles.
- Breakfast Biscotti — If you’re in the market for some delicious Italian breakfast cookies, look for a biscotti flavor that pairs well with coffee. Stick to a sturdy, twice-baked recipe to ensure maximum espresso-dunking potential. We love nutty and fruity mix-ins to give our breakfast biscotti a pastry-like flavor.
- Chocolate Biscotti — We don’t know about you, but we think chocolate makes everything better! While it may not be a part of the original recipe, chocolate chips or cocoa mix-ins give cantuccini a decadently sweet flavor. You can grab chocolate biscotti for your dessert platter or dunk it in some hot chocolate for a sweet treat.
- Baby Biscotti — Did you know that there’s even biscotti for the bambini? Plasmon makes a special baby-friendly biscotti cookie designed to help introduce little ones to this yummy mainstay starting at just six months old!
Whether you’re a traditionalist or love a modern twist on an old staple, we’ve got a cantuccini cookie in a flavor and style that suits you. Not only do we have basic boxes imported straight from Italy, but we’ve also got amazing gift tins and boxes by Italy’s most famous biscotti makers. Explore our complete variety to find the perfect pick for you or your favorite biscotti fan.