A Holiday Biscotti Bar is the perfect combination of holiday party and delicious Christmas cookie baking and decorating; dip biscotti in luscious chocolate and then decorate them wildly in Holiday sprinkles! It is especially fantastic for kids because with these cookies there is no such thing as too many sprinkles! Keep reading to find out what the rest of our Creative Cookie Exchange bakers did with biscotti this December. Affiliate links have been used in this post to link to items I am discussing. Happy Holidays!
I was on Facebook the other day when my friend Kristy of The Wicked Noodle posted some photos of the pretzel dipping bar she had set up for her kids. They would dip the pretzel rods in chocolate and then roll in sprinkles. I was instantly captivated–except Alex and I hate pretzels. Like no amount of chocolate will fix that kind of hatred. I was bemoaning this fact when, perhaps spurred by the theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange, my brain just leapt to biscotti.
And just like that, my previous idea was saved for later–maybe next year–and I knew that I wanted to make plain jane biscotti and then dip and decorate in a Holiday Biscotti Bar!
I knew the kids would be excited for my Holiday Biscotti Bar, because they had been begging to decorate cookies. We used to paint cut-out cookies a lot, but the truth is that I just don’t love cut-out cookies the way that I love my shortbread and biscotti. So this seemed like a great compromise. And if you have ever bitten your tongue while your child dumped a huge pile of sprinkles onto a cookie? This is for you! The cookie that encourages excessive sprinkling!
For variety in appearance, I decided to do dark chocolate and white chocolate, but because we all find white chocolate a tad too sweet and we all adore peppermint, I made the white chocolate peppermint. And even though I don’t decorate cookies often, I tend to collect sprinkles like they are going out of style. I have no idea why, I just love them. So the kids had a blast rooting through the Christmas baking box and looking for sprinkles. There, ah, may have been some duplicates. I was especially excited to use the absolutely gorgeous but kind of impractical (because they cannot be baked) pearlized sprinkles, like these Wilton Pearlized Snowflakes Sprinkles.
The chocolate is the trickiest part of the Holiday Biscotti Bar. Just because it needs to be deep enough to dip. I kept a very wide (14 inches) and deep (3 inches) skillet with simmering water on the stove. I melted the chocolate in mugs (i.e., something narrow and deep, not shallow and wide), and then a few more times while we were decorating I re-added them to the pan with some fresh chocolate chunks. Then, when we had about 20 biscotti left to do, I declared no more dipping and decorating, and drizzled the remaining chocolate on the biscotti. I did this because otherwise there would have been wasted chocolate at the end, and since I am a chocolate snob, I was using stuff expensive enough to not be ok with wasting it!
If you are curious, my personal recommendation is a mix of Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) and Scharffen Berger 62% Semisweet Chocolate for the dark chocolate and Green & Black’s White Chocolate mixed with some Candy & Baking Peppermint Oil. Whatever you choose (including milk chocolate!) be sure that it is a chocolate you like to eat and be sure to use flavoring (safe for culinary uses) oils, not extracts as they will cause the chocolate to seize.
In some ways I prefer the more understated flavor of the drizzled biscotti, but that is ok. I also love the in your face cheerfulness of the dipped biscotti, and my family had a wonderful time making them. We even convinced John to join us!
For the actual biscotti, I turned to King Arthur for their American style (i.e., made with butter) plain vanilla biscotti. I left out the almond extract and increased the salt, and then I also added shaved cocoa beans to give it a subtle chocolate aroma. Now I would love to tell you where to get shaved cocoa beans, but the truth is that my mom had them, “maybe from her trip to Aruba” and while it is clearly made by or somehow affiliated with Hotel Chocolat, I cannot find out anything else about it or where for you to buy it. You can either leave your biscotti plain, or you could add cacao nibs. Note that they will change the texture of the biscotti, they will give a mouth feel similar to chopped nuts. I love Scharffen Berger Cacao Nibs. And by the way, no this post is not sponsored, I just like to give guidance where chocolate is concerned in case anyone is curious.
I really hope you give this Holiday Biscotti Bar a try, especially if you have kids. Happy Holidays!
- For the biscotti:
- 6 T unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 2 cups (252 g) AP Flour
- 3/4 t salt
- 1 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 T heaping shaved cocoa beans or 2 T cacao nibs, optional (see notes above)
- For the Holiday Biscotti Bar:
- Holiday themed sprinkles, at least 4-5 different kinds
- Chopped candy canes, optional (we used)
- 12 oz minimum chocolate, chopped (if you use more than one kind of chocolate just use 6 oz of each), with more in reserve in case you need it
- 1/2 T shortening, optional, if you use a good quality white chocolate with real cocoa butter, they often can be almost too thick to stir and the melted shortening will help loosen it
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Beat the butter until creamy, and then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to incorporate after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat in the vanilla. The mixture will look a little curdled now but that is fine.
While the mixer is running, measure the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt, baking powder and shaved cocoa beans or cacao nibs if using. Whisk thoroughly.
Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and mix on the lowest speed to combine. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Stir the dough such that it forms a sticky ball in the bowl, and then scrape that ball onto the center of the cookie sheet. With damp hands, shape the ball into a log. You want the log to be 3-4 inches wide and nearly as long as the pan. The wider the log, the longer the biscotti will be for dipping.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the log is risen and set and just turning golden.
Let the log cool completely. This biscotti slices nicely--I did not wait overnight as I often do.
Now preheat the oven to 300 F. Slice the biscotti about 1/2-inch thick (I rarely get this perfect).
Place the biscotti upright back onto the cookie sheet with a little space between them to allow for air circulation. A few of my biscotti toppled over, so I flipped them over halfway through the second baking period.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until they are slightly browning and fragrant.
Let cool completely before dipping and decorating.
For the bar: melt the chocolate(s) until it can be whisked smooth. Keep extra chocolate reserved in case you need more.
Lay out parchment paper for placing the dipped and decorated bisotti onto. It is your preference, but because biscotti are flat, we only decorated one side.
Let the chocolate set completely before moving and storing.
Do not leave dogs unattended near the biscotti on the counter or they may counter surf and steal some.
Biscotti (or mandelbrot or any other twice baked cookie by any other name) are one of the perfect Holiday tin cookies! They last forever, and there are so many ways to make them festive. So we’ve got you covered–sweet, savory, low fat, loaded with decadence, you name it, we’ve got it! Happy Holidays!
You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Almond Lemon Biscotti by Basic N Delicious
- Banana Walnut Biscotti by Upstate Ramblings
- Chocolate Almond Biscotti by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate Toffee Biscotti by Live Bake Love
- Currant Walnut Biscotti by Magnolia Days
- Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti by Flours and Frostings
- Gingerbread Biscotti by Food Lust People Love
- Gluten Free Chocolate Biscotti by What Smells So Good?
- Holiday Biscotti Bar by The Spiced Life
- Honey Beescotti by Oven Delights
- Mocha Biscotti by A Baker’s House
- Orange Pistachio Biscotti by 2 Cookin’ Mamas
- Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti by A Shaggy Dough Story
- Peppermint Kahlua Chocolate-Dipped Biscotti by All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- White Chocolate Glazed Gingerbread Biscotti by Christmas Tree Lane