I love having these gingerbread biscotti around the house during the holidays for snacking and last-minute get-togethers! They have the perfect amount of spice, a hint of citrus, and they’re lovely when dipped in hot coffee or tea.
I’ve always loved the idea of being someone who has cookies ready at all times for when friends and family randomly drop by. Never mind the fact that when the doorbell rings, I drop down to the floor like a spy during a shoot-out scene in an action movie, but I digress. If we were the kind of people to have unexpected guests stop by, we’d also be the kind of people to have biscotti ready at all times. It’s that kind of cookie that you can have sitting on your counter just waiting for guests because it lasts practically forever and is lovely with coffee or tea or brandy, whatever you’re into.
These gingerbread biscotti are basically like if a holiday cookie met breakfast, and it rocks. They also remind me of Marc’s great grandpa who always needed ‘something to dunk’ into his coffee. It’s very Italian and I’m here for it!
About this gingerbread biscotti
These cookies are the ultimate holiday snack situation. They’re spiced with lots of cinnamon and ginger plus some molasses for that classic ‘gingerbread’ flavor. The biscotti are light and crisp (not rock hard) so that you can dunk them into coffee, tea, eggnog, and what have you. They’re low maintenance, they’re simple, and they come together so quickly. And, they’re just lightly sweetened so that you don’t have a sugar crash immediately after eating one. The best Christmas cookie situation if I do say so myself.
Also, you can either glaze the cookies with white chocolate and lemon or just leave them plain, they’re super delicious either way. If you like a sweeter cookie, add the glaze. Otherwise, you can sprinkle them with lemon sugar before baking or just leave them as-is. Let’s get on it and make some lovely, spiced holiday cookies yeah?
Ingredients you’ll need
To make gingerbread biscotti, make sure to grab these ingredients:
- Baking basics – flour, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, white sugar, and eggs.
- Spices – cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and vanilla.
- Brown sugar – since we can only add a little molasses to the cookies without affecting the texture, using brown sugar will help enhance the gingerbread flavor.
- Unsulphured molasses – to give us that classic ‘gingerbread’ flavor! I recommend ‘full flavor’ since we’re only using a couple of tablespoons in this recipe.
- White chocolate – opt for a higher-quality white chocolate for drizzling.
- Lemon zest – for sprinkling over the tops of the cookies. You can also use lemon oil but more on this later.
- Coarse sugar – for sprinkling over the cookies. This is optional!
How to make these cookies
I tested these cookies a million times so that you don’t have to. (Unless you love them so much that you just want to make them a million times, of course). Luckily, I learned all the tips and tricks to baking the best gingerbread biscotti! Here’s how to make them:
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, eggs, and vanilla extract. Then, stir in the dry ingredients until you have a stiff, but sticky, dough.
- Using damp hands, divide the dough into two pieces on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Press the dough into two long, skinny logs that are about 7x4x1-inch thick. Place the sheetpan on top of another sheetpan.
- Bake the cookie logs in the top 1/3 of your oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until the top is dry and the edges are just starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and lower the oven to 300°F.
- Then, transfer the logs to a cutting board, and slice at a diagonal into 3/4-inch cookies. You should have about 14-16 cookies total. Place the biscotti back on the parchment-lined sheet pan cut-side up.
- Place the cookies back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the tops of the biscotti are dry. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cookies are dry and crisp. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a microwave in 30 second increments until just melted.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the tops of the cooled biscotti. Sprinkle with lemon zest and coarse sugar, if desired. Serve with hot coffee or tea.
Sulphured vs. unsulphured molasses
Sulphured molasses is made from unripe sugar cane. Since it’s not ripe, it needs sulphur dioxide to help preserve it. Unsulphured molasses, on the other hand, is made with ripe sugar cane and doesn’t require any additives.
The reason we opt for unsulphured molasses in this recipe is that it tastes a bit cleaner and higher quality. Sulphured molasses can have a chemical note in it which may cause the cookies to taste a bit odd. Whenever possible, always choose unsulphured molasses for the best results!
Lemon zest vs. flavoring oil
If you choose to make the glaze, you have the option of either using lemon zest or lemon oil. I tested the recipe a few times by mixing the lemon zest into the white chocolate, but oftentimes, the moisture from the zest would cause the chocolate to clump and seize. The only time I didn’t notice this problem was when I used dried lemon zest that had been sitting in the fridge. It worked great but the lemon flavor wasn’t as prominent. My favorite method was just to sprinkle lemon zest and coarse sugar on the cookies after I drizzled the white chocolate. It’s the easiest method and the crunch from the sugar is so delicious!
On the other hand, you can also flavor the white chocolate with lemon candy flavoring. You can find it online or in the baking aisle of a local craft store. Just follow the instructions according to the package directions to flavor the white chocolate and drizzle on the cookies.
If all of this sounds like too much, you can always just drizzle plain white chocolate over the biscotti. Or make lemon sugar and sprinkle it over the cookies before the first bake!
Storing & freezing gingerbread biscotti
To store the cookies, simply place them in an airtight container. Leave them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. After this, they will become stale.
If you want them to last a little longer, I would definitely recommend freezing the biscotti. Just place them in an airtight container in a single layer. Then, separate each cookie layer with parchment paper, ending with a layer of parchment to protect the cookies from the cold. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost uncovered for 30-60 minutes before serving.
You have a lot of options when it comes to decorating gingerbread biscotti. Here are a few ways:
- White chocolate + lemon zest – drizzle the white chocolate using a piping bag or the tines of a fork. Or, you can dip the biscotti (bottoms or halves) in the white chocolate for a sweeter cookie. Sprinkle the white chocolate with the lemon zest before the chocolate hardens.
- Sprinkles – after you drizzle the biscotti with the white chocolate, sprinkle them with sanding sugar or holiday sprinkles for a little fun.
- Nuts – or, if you don’t like sprinkles, you can add finely chopped hazelnuts or pistachios for crunch.
- Powdered sugar – after the second bake, finish the tops of the biscotti with some powdered sugar.
- Nothing – if you don’t want to mess with any of this, you definitely don’t have to! The gingerbread biscotti is great on its own.
A few tips
- Zest the lemons before you start baking the cookies. This gives it time to dry out a bit, which makes it easier to sprinkle!
- The dough will be sticky but it’s easy to smooth it by flouring or misting your hands. I have a spray bottle with plain water in my kitchen that I use to spritz my hands. Then, when I pat and smooth the biscotti, it doesn’t stick!
- To prevent the biscotti from burning, double up the sheet pan during the first bake. A lot of sheet pans are too thin for the long bake time, so I usually just stack two sheet pans together for extra enforcement. I also like to bake the cookies on the rack above the middle rack of my oven.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before you slice them. If you wait too long, the biscotti will become too hard. If you try to cut too soon, the cookies will fall apart.
- Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the biscotti after the first bake. This will prevent the cookies from cracking and crumbling.
- Cool the gingerbread biscotti completely to get the ultimate crisp factor. Then, drizzle the cookies with the white chocolate.
- If you like a softer cookie, bake the sliced gingerbread biscotti for closer to 3-5 minutes per side, rather than 5-10 minutes.
More delicious holiday cookies
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Gingerbread Biscotti with White Chocolate & Lemon
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 c white sugar
- 1/3 c brown sugar
- 2 Tbs unsulphured molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, room temperature
Lemon White Chocolate Topping
- 3 oz white chocolate
- 1 Tbs lemon zest* (about 2 lemons)
- 2 Tbs coarse sugar or sprinkles (optional)
To make the biscotti…
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, and nutmeg.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the molasses and vanilla extract. Then, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture until you have a stiff, but sticky, dough.
- Using damp or floured hands, divide the dough into two equally-sized balls. Place the balls of dough next to each other on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Then, working one at a time, shape each ball into a smooth rectangular log that is approximately 7x4x1'', leaving a couple of inches of space around the logs. Continue wetting or flouring your hands as needed. The logs should be parallel on the sheet pan.
- Place the sheet pan on top of another sheet pan so that you have a double pan (this will prevent the bottom of the cookies from burning). **Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through until the top of the logs are dry and the edges are just starting to turn golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Lower the oven to 300°F. Meanwhile, slice the biscotti at a diagonal into 3/4'' cookies using a sharp serrated knife. Discard the very ends or save them for a snack!
- Place the sliced biscotti cut-side up on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are dry, but not burnt. Flip the biscotti, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the tops are dry and crisp.
- Let the cookies cool on a rack. They will crisp up more as they cool.
Drizzle & decorate…
- In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate in 15-30 second increments, stirring in-between, until it's just melted. Place a piece of parchment paper under the cooling rack topped with the biscotti to prevent a big mess!
- Using a piping bag or the tines of a fork, drizzle the white chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Immediately sprinkle with lemon zest and coarse sugar. Let the white chocolate harden, 15-20 minutes.
- Enjoy the biscotti with hot coffee, tea, or brandy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Mistletoe & Holly by Frank Sinatra