This crunchy Lemon Almond Biscotti recipe, also known as Cantucci, has all the flavour of a traditional Italian biscotti and is topped with bright and zesty lemon glaze. Biscotti is also incredibly easy to make from scratch.
Lemon and almonds are among my favourite flavour combinations. They also happen to be a regular flavour combo in my favourite cuisine, Italian. So, when I was dreaming up this biscotti recipe, lemon and almonds were an easy choice.
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What Is Biscotti?
Biscotti is an Italian almond biscuit and the word translates to twice-baked. Biscotti is also the all-encompassing term for cookies or biscuits in Italian. The more correct name for this style of Italian biscuit is Cantucci or Cantuccini.
Should Biscotti Be Hard?
Biscotti is a dry and crunchy biscuit just perfect for dunking. They’re traditionally served in Italy at the end of a meal with a dessert wine for dunking them into but I think they’re even better dunked in coffee.
Whole blanched almonds are mixed into the dough before baking. When you take a bite, it’s impossible not to get an almond and that’s how I like it. Nay, that’s how it should be.
There are many different takes on biscotti. Some like them glazed like this Lemon Almond Biscotti, however, this isn’t traditional. I glazed these as I wanted to add a lemon icing to intensify the lemon flavour but also to add just a little extra sweetness. Of course, you couldn’t dunk the glazed biscotti into your coffee or you’d end up with lemon flavoured coffee, but unglazed, absolutely dunking material.
The other version of biscotti is very thin and crisp. I’m talking just a few millimetres kind of thin. Both versions are delicious.
If you’re interested you can see more about my love affair with Italian food in these recipe: Baci Di Dama (Italian Nutty Shortbread), Focaccia Di Recco, Authentic Ragu Bolgonese or Massive Chocolate Swirl Meringues.
How to make biscotti
- Biscotti is baked twice, at 2 different temperatures. The first bake is to set the dough enough to slice it, then the second bake dries those slices out.
- Cutting it while still warm will make it much easier to cut through, especially the almonds. But do allow it to cool for 5 minutes so as not to burn your hands.
- A serrated knife is best for slicing the biscotti
- If you make thick biscotti like these, then you can stand the slices up on their edges when they bake the second time round.
- If you want to make the very thin and crispy style of biscotti, you’ll need to lay them flat but will need to turn them over halfway through the second bake, so they bake evenly.
How To Store Biscotti
Biscotti have a good shelf life of 2-3 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the pantry. It’s because of their shelf life that they make a wonderful food gift as well – think birthday or Christmas gifts with a batch of biscotti in a nice glass jar.
Italian Biscotti is such a versatile cookie recipe. You can add all kinds of flavours and add-ins. Try some of these options.
- Lemon: swap the lemon for orange or even lime
- Almonds: use any of your favourite nuts in place of the almonds
- Chocolate: Try your hand at this Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
If you want a treat that’s big on flavour but low on effort, Cantucci or Biscotti are perfect. They keep well so they’re great to have on hand at all times ready for when friends pop in or to take on a picnic. They also make a brilliant food gift.
More Italian Cookie Recipes
Lemon Almond Biscotti
For the Biscotti
- 325 g (2 1/2 / 11.5oz) cups plain (all purp) flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds optional
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (200g / 7oz) white granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup (120g / 4.2oz) whole blanched almonds
For the glaze
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 cup icing (powdered / confectioners) sugar
For the biscotti
- Preheat the oven to 160C / 325F / 140C fan forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add the poppy seeds and mix through well.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium for 2-3 minutes until very light. Add the lemon zest and almond extract and beat well.
- Change the speed to low and gradually add in the flour until just combined. Add the blanched almonds and give it one more quick mix until they are distributed well.
- Split the dough in two and place both balls of dough onto your prepared baking tray. Shape each piece into a 1 inch thick log about 22x8cm (8.5 x 3 inch). Bake for 30 minutes until starting to turn golden on the edges.
- Let the logs cool for 5 minutes before using a serrated knife to cut them into 1cm thick pieces. If you cut them diagonally, you will get nice long pieces too.
- Now stand the biscotti on their edges back on the same baking tray and bake for a further 25 minutes until they are light golden in colour. Let them cool before icing.
For the icing
- In a small bowl, mix the sifted icing sugar with lemon zest and juice. Let it sit for a minute, then give it another stir and dip the tops of each biscotti into the glaze. Allow them to set for 1/2 hour before serving.
- If you plan to dunk these in your coffee, leave the icing off.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspooons worldwide)
- For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
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