We often get asked the question, “What exactly is biscotti? Is it bread, a cookie, or something else?” While biscotti doesn’t exactly fit neatly into either of these categories, it falls somewhere in between them. Biscotti is a delicious, often lightly sweetened snack that is great on its own, served with coffee or tea, or even as a post-meal dessert.
If we look at how biscotti is made, it does fall quite close to the bread family, but it tastes more like a dense, crunchy cookie. Bakers craft biscotti in a loaf, then put it in the oven for the first bake. After that, they slice the loaf into individual biscotto, before putting them back into the oven to achieve that iconic cookie-like texture.
Whether you categorize biscotti as a cookie or a bread, there’s no question that it is a unique delicacy with an interesting history. Read on to learn more about biscotti, from its ancient origins to its modern hey-day as a staple anytime dessert in the U.S.
A Brief History of Biscotti
Biscotti as we know it originated in the Italian city of Prato, located 17 miles northwest of Florence in Tuscany. The word “biscotti” derives from the old Latin word “biscoctus,” meaning “twice cooked.” Earlier forms of what led to biscotti in its modern form were carried by Roman armies as provisions, as the double baking process rendered them non-perishable.
The second bake gives biscotti their signature dry, crunchy texture — and makes them perfect for storing, as it draws any moisture out. Sailors, including Christopher Columbus, packed biscotti on long journeys because they stored so well.
From its ancient origins, biscotti maintained its spot as a go-to food. The popularity of biscotti skyrocketed once again in the 1990s, as Italian food and espresso rose in popularity within the U.S. Gourmet magazine dubbed these Tuscan delicacies “the cookies of the ‘90s,” in its December 1992 issue. And the rest is history — you can now find biscotti almost anywhere, from grocery stores to a glass jar on the counter of a coffee shop.
How Do You Eat a Biscotti?
You can eat biscotti any time of the day. For breakfast, or with your afternoon coffee, dessert; or whenever you have a hankering for a sweet treat.
Because of their dry, hard texture, they pair well with a drink, and won’t get soggy if you decide to dip it in your latte.. The rise in popularity of biscotti in the U.S. was synonymous with that of espresso drinks. We recommend you try the delicious combination of coffee and biscotti, if you haven’t already. In Italy, biscotti are sometimes served with fortified wine as an after-dinner delicacy.
Is Biscotti Healthy?
Biscotti are a much healthier alternative to most baked goods. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming all the calories of a donut or cookie. Biscotti comes from a rich culinary tradition that values sourcing the highest quality ingredients and making food with care. Italy is home to the Slow Food organization, which started in the 1980s but derived its core values from long-standing beliefs about food.
One of its missions is to support local food cultures and traditions, with an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients. Baked By Bibis honors this culinary tradition, crafting each biscotto with care and sourcing the best gluten-free ingredients possible.
We started out as a mother-daughter duo baking in a kitchen in Brooklyn, and every baked good we make is made with care and natural, unrefined ingredients.
What Does Biscotti Taste Like?
The most traditional biscotti, like you would find in Prato, are made with a very simple recipe containing anise and almonds or pine nuts. Today, there are hundreds of flavors of biscotti available to buy that deviate from this original recipe.
You can even find savory biscotti! Baked By Bibis makes flavors for every palate, like our glazed Birthday Cake biscotti, Apricot, and Chocolate Chip.
Is Biscotti Kosher?
Everything at Baked By Bibis, including our biscotti, is kosher certified. We are under the strict supervision of Rabbi Yechiel Babad to ensure that our delicious treats are always 100% kosher.
Biscotti has maintained its popularity for thousands of years, and for good reason. Its unique texture and taste makes it a delicious snack any time of the day. At Baked By Bibis, we uphold the Italian tradition of using top quality ingredients and crafting our baked goods with care.