Several years ago, I agreed to make homemade biscotti for the favors, to be placed in perfect little white drawstring pouches and given to guests at a reception.
There were something like 200 guests and each bag got two. And I’d never made that many biscotti before.
I’d never made food for anything so important before, either, so this was a serious undertaking.
Luxuriously, only working part-time while attending grad school two nights a week. My schedule was mostly my mostly, and so I planned to make some cookies ahead of time, to ensure I’d get everything done.
There were three kinds: chocolate chip anise, double chocolate, and lemon pistachio. In the end, the pistachio is what nearly put an end to me.
The memory is crystal clear: my dad and I sitting on the couch, he with a bowl of shelled pistachios, I with a bag still to crack, a waste basket on the floor between us.
We were slowly, methodically working our way through the massive bulk-purchased bag, trying to achieve however many cups of shelled nuts I needed for the batches at hand.
I learned a few things that day: cracking and scraping the skin off hundreds of pistachios will give you blisters; only inexperienced amateurs would purchase the in-shell nuts for that very reason; and mostly, my dad is the nicest man I have ever known.
Surprisingly, I did not recoil when I found a new biscotti to try: chocolate pistachio. Can you believe I still had pistachios from two years ago, which had not gone bad? [Editor’s Note: We typically wouldn’t recommend keeping them quite this long, though there can be exceptions, especially if stored in a deep freezer. See our article on nuts for snacking for more tips and ideas.]
That very same massive bag, the one we’d labored through for hours, had not yet come to an end. I almost threw them out – it had been two years, after all. But I tasted a few before baking, and they were delicious.
This may garner criticism, but I figured the heat of the oven would cook out anything else I didn’t notice.
Sitting at the counter, alone this time, I cracked shells and rolled nuts between my hands to remove the brown skins coating the bright green nuts.
After at least an hour of this, I was done. I didn’t achieve a cup of pistachios as the recipe requested, but I would make do. As in life, one learns to work with what’s available.
The result, after baking and double-baking the dough: a container filled with beautiful, delicious biscotti, with a refined, more subtle flavor than previous batches I’ve made.
The pistachios, which filled only half of my total lot, give the cookies a slightly salty flavor that works beautifully with the chocolate.
These desserts are so easy to make that I always feel a little embarrassed when people praise them. “You make biscotti?” they say, as if I’m some sort of gourmet.
“Look,” I want to respond, “can you make cookies? If so, you can make these. I promise. They are forgiving and delightful and impressive. Try them.”
Martha Stewart’s Cookies available in Paperback and Kindle from Amazon
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup salted and roasted pistachios with shells removed
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add flour mixture - you may need to use your hands if the dough gets too grainy/dry - to form a stiff dough. Add chocolate chips and pistachios.
- Transfer dough to baking sheet and form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 by 4 inches in size. Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, and reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
- On a cutting board, using a serrated knife, cut biscotti log into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange cut side down on baking sheet. Bake about 8 minutes, until cookies are slightly soft in the center but crisp overall.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In small batches like this, I like to use a large sized convection-capable toaster oven. In this case I’m using my beloved Breville Smart Oven Pro (note that they just introduced an even larger Smart Oven Air that is on my must-have list).
Line a cookie sheet with a silicone liner such as a Silpat, or with parchment paper.
Chop your pistachios and arrange your mise en place.
Step 2 – Mix the Ingredients
Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisk together.
Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer, or use your stand mixer on medium until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Switch to low speed and incorporate the eggs.
Add the remainder of the dry ingredients. The dough should stiffen. If your machine does not have enough power, you may need to use your hands to finish up (and look at upgrading to a stand mixer with some power).
Finally, add the pistachios and chocolate chips.
Step 3 – Form and Bake
Form the dough into a 12-by-4-inch slightly flattened log. Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and allow the log to cool.
Step 4 – Cut and Bake Again
Place the log on a cutting board and use a good serrated bread knife to cut it into 1-inch-thick slices.
Place the slices cut side down back on the baking sheet, and bake for an additional eight minutes.
The biscotti should still be slightly soft in the center but nice and crunchy throughout the rest of the cookie.
The cookies will last for about a week before becoming stale if stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen if placed between layers of parchment or waxed paper.
But they won’t last that long.
Let me tell you:
These things are revolutionary. It’s like a band of angels suddenly appeared on your tongue. They are life changing.
And there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that goes better with chocolate biscotti than a good cup of French pressed coffee.
If you love biscotti, then don’t forget to check out these other glorious recipes:
- Double Chocolate Biscotti
- Ansie Biscotti
- Italian Biscotti with Dried Cherries, Raisins, and Pistachios
Don’t forget to Pin It!
Photos by Mike Quinn, © Foodal / Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published August 22nd, 2008 by Shanna Mallon. Revised and updated November 5th, 2017, with additional writing by Mike Quinn.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
14 thoughts on “Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti: You’ve Been Missing This in Your Life”
oh my, i loooove biscotti and i must make these! they look drool-worthy!
My parents always bring me a couple of bags from italy when they visit (they are called cantucci there – as biscotti is more of a general term for cookies) and i am nearly done with my most recent batch!
ps: thanks for linking to my blog! you’re too kind!
ive been wanting to try biscotti ever since you last wrote about it… two yrs ago… 🙂
wow! looks great
Thanks, guys! Amy and Rachel: yeah, you really have to try them. SOO easy, and you won’t be able to stop eating them!
You are quite the dedicated baker.
Mmm…pistachios. Even the way the word “pistachio” rolls off the tongue is delicious.
I WILL try this recipe! I love to make biscotti and have found the same thing you did … they make a big splash. 🙂 Oh, and I say don’t worry about the nuts — you’ll know if they went rancid and if they didn’t, eat up!
Jacqui: dedicated nothing. I just like eating them! 🙂
Kelley: Yeah! Please do! You’ll have to tell me how you like them!
I’m making these for my Christmas cookie mix!
I think I am, too! I was going to say you’ll love them, but you’ve had them, haven’t you? I feel like I took them to book club once?
Yes, you did! And I did love them. I was telling my mom about them. Why did it take me three hours last night to shell nuts, though. My thumbs are sore this morning. What a labor of love 🙂
You aren’t kidding. Oh, the peeling! Those pistachios are stubborn. But yeah! You made them! 🙂
Am making these as I write, but I believe there’s an error in the instructions, second paragraph, where it says “add pistachios to half the log.” The nuts were already added to the main blend of ingredients and I don’t see where they are separated. Can you clarify?
Yes that line was an error. I just removed it (I remade these and I’m the photographer of the current batch you see above). Sorry about that.
Here’s a great hack for the future. Open your first one, save half the shell. Use the half shell to wedge into the bottom opening of each one and wiggle it until it opens. This saves you time and fingernail damage.