These are just about the prettiest cookies you'll ever see.

And super-tasty, too.

So, tell me again why you've never made biscotti?

Or, don't tell me; I think I've heard it all – from “too difficult,” to “they hurt my teeth,” to “I didn't know you could make those at home!”

But never mind the nay-saying. Following please find the top 10 reasons you should bake biscotti.

10. Make long, elegant biscotti, or diet-friendly “biscotti bites” – it’s a simple matter of how you slice ’em.
9. Biscotti make wonderful do-ahead gifts. Bake, cool, and wrap – they’ll stay fresh and crunchy at room temperature for weeks.
8. Unlike most cookies, it’s hard to burn biscotti. You really have to work at it.
7. These cookies don’t crumble – perfect for mailing to your son in college 100 miles away, or your favorite serviceman overseas.
6. They’re MUCH easier to make than they look; your friends will be wowed by your expertise!
5. Biscotti dress up nicely. Stash in a cute bag, add a bow – instant hostess gift.
4. They go from simple (vanilla) to gourmet (chocolate, raspberry, and walnut whole wheat) in a snap. It’s all about the add-ins.
3. You like crunch? American-style biscotti are supremely crunchy – unlike their hard-as-rock Italian counterparts.
2. Biscotti’s flavor profile is eminently flexible. Your favorite combination is butterscotch-almond-apricot? Go for it.

And, the #1 reason to bake biscotti:
1. They’re light and crunchy and DELICIOUS. The question isn’t why… but WHY NOT?!

Why not, indeed. Here's a tasty place to start: Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti.

Here they are, the stars of this particular show: coarsely chopped pistachios, and dried cherries.

Don't want to spring for dried cherries? Go for the sweetened dried cranberries. Just as tasty.

If you're a fan of the flavor of pistachio ice cream or pudding, a bit of pistachio flavor in your biscotti is a nice touch as well.

Let's start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18" x 13") baking sheet.

Put the following in a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer:

6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (135g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor or cherry flavor, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Add 2 large eggs.

Beat them in; the batter may look slightly curdled.

Add 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Stir until well combined.

Add 1 cup (113g) coarsely chopped pistachios, and 1 cup (131g) sweetened tart cherries.

For a lower-cost alternative, substitute sweetened dried cranberries.

Beat gently until the fruit and nuts are distributed throughout the dough.

Divide the dough in half, and plop both halves onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between them.

Shape each half into a long rectangle about 10 1/2” x 2”; remember, you need to leave space for expansion between the pieces of dough.

Straighten the rectangles, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here.

The dough logs will be about 3/4” to 1” thick.

Sprinkle each log with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes.

Remove it from the oven. Notice how the logs have spread; that's why you need to leave sufficient space between them.

Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the two pieces of dough, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti without crumbling easier.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

If you've used parchment on your baking sheet, grab it at both ends, and carefully lift paper and biscotti off the pan.

Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef's or serrated knife to cut the biscotti crosswise into 1/2" to 3/4" slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti.

As you're slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they'll topple over during their second bake.

The biscotti have a tendency to crumble right around the edges as you cut them; start with an outside edge and work across the biscotti to the opposite edge, rather than cutting straight down through the center.

Cutting the dough crosswise will yield 3” to 3 1/2” biscotti.

If you cut on the diagonal, the biscotti will be 4” to 4 1/2” long.

Place the biscotti on the baking sheet, on edge; they can be very close together.

Here they are, ready to go back into the oven for their second bake.

Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 35 to 40 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They may still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they'll continue to dry out as they cool.

You'll want to start checking the biscotti around the 30-minute mark; the ones on the ends of the pan, or any smaller biscotti, may be ready to come out of the oven earlier than the larger/middle-of-the-pan biscotti.

Remove the finished biscotti from the oven, and cool them right on the pan.

When they're completely cool, store biscotti airtight at room temperature; they'll remain fresh for weeks.

See that open crumb? That's what makes these cookies light and crunchy – rather than dense and hard, like a classic tight-grained Italian biscotti.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.&nbsp...
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