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Gluten Free Pistachio Biscotti

|| byKat|3 Comments

These gluten free pistachio biscotti are super easy to make and incredibly delicious. They’re perfectly dry, crisp and crunchy, and packed full of orange zest and pistachios. They’re a wonderful addition to your Christmas cookie box, though they’re certainly a great treat to enjoy the whole year round. Here, I’ve included all my top tips for making the rather soft biscotti dough easier to handle, as well as for preventing your biscotti from being too crumbly.

Overhead view of gluten free pistachio biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

Out of all the different biscotti variations, pistachio biscotti are by far my favourite. In addition to having the most amazing flavour, I also love the way they look – the pistachios just add a wonderful burst of colour and brightness, like little jewels embedded in the cookie dough.

To make the biscotti slightly more festive and even more aromatic, I’ve added plenty of vanilla and orange zest into the cookie dough. The result is an explosion of flavour that makes your kitchen smell simply heavenly.

This recipe is based on my go-to gluten free biscotti recipe that I published a few weeks ago. It gives biscotti that are perfectly dry, crisp and crunchy, without being too crumbly or prone to breaking. Even when you add a whole cup of pistachios, they are still sturdy enough so you can easily slice the initial cookie log into the individual biscotti without too much breakage.

But if a few cookies break or crack as you slice them – don’t stress out too much! Any broken pieces are a wonderful snack that you can enjoy while the rest of the biscotti are drying out in the oven.

While I like my biscotti fairly simple and without too many decorations, you can definitely dip them into a bit of chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate would all work well in this recipe) and sprinkle it with some extra chopped pistachios, sprinkles, flaky sea salt or a bit of orange zest.

And, or course, if you’re not the biggest fan of pistachios, you can definitely use other nuts as well! Hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts and pecans all work great in biscotti.

Gluten free pistachio biscotti as part of a Christmassy table setting.

What are biscotti?

Biscotti, also known as cantuccini when made with almonds, are Italian cookies (or biscuits) that originated in Tuscany. The name “biscotti” means “twice cooked”, referring to the fact that these cookies are baked twice during their preparation. First, the cookie dough is shaped into logs that are baked until fully cooked through, and then they are sliced into individual cookies and baked again.

The second round of baking dries them out, resulting in their characteristic dry, crisp and crunchy texture. Because of the second bake, they have a very long shelf life. They are a wonderful accompaniment to coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and absolutely perfect for dipping.  In Italy, they are often enjoyed dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine.

Traditionally, biscotti don’t include any fat at all (no butter, oil or milk) and they usually contain some form of nuts (most commonly almonds and/or pine nuts). However, nowadays there are hundreds (or, more likely, thousands) of different biscotti recipes out there made with all sorts of delicious add-ins.

Close-up of gluten free pistachio biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these amazing biscotti – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How to make gluten free pistachio biscotti

Making these gluten free pistachio biscotti is incredibly easy. You don’t need any special equipment (no stand or hand mixers) and the recipe uses only the usual gluten free pantry staples.

Here’s a video that takes you through the process step by step:

 

If you find step-by-step photos more useful than a video, I recommend that you have a look at the Easy Gluten Free Biscotti blog post, which includes detailed photos of the whole biscotti making process. Have a look here!

Top tips for PERFECT gluten free pistachio biscotti

  • Adding xanthan gum and butter to the dough prevents the biscotti from being too crumbly. Don’t be tempted to omit or reduce the amount of xanthan gum and/or butter in the recipe. The xanthan gum acts as a binder (gluten replacement) and prevents the biscotti from being too crumbly. If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, you only need to add about ½ teaspoon (and not 1 teaspoon as per the recipe). The ratio of flour to butter is equally important. While traditional biscotti recipes don’t include any fat, in this recipe the butter prevents the biscotti from being too crumbly and also gives them a richer flavour.
  • Chill the dough to make it easier to handle and shape into a long log. Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together, the initial dough will be VERY soft and perhaps even slightly sticky. Trying to shape the dough at this stage would be frustrating and messy. Instead, chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. This cools and sets the butter in the dough, and also gives the gluten free flour in the dough some time to properly hydrate. Both of these things help to make the dough more manageable. Once chilled, you can easily shape the dough into a long log, ready for the first bake.
  • Allow the baked cookie log to cool until warm or at room temperature before slicing. Immediately out of the oven, the log will be fairly delicate. If you tried to slice it while still hot, your biscotti would be far more likely to break and crumble. Instead, allow the log to cool on the baking sheet for 20-25 minutes before slicing.
  • Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into the individual biscotti. In my experience, a serrated knife gives the best results and the neatest slices, as it easily cuts through both the baked cookie dough and any add-ins (pistachios in this case). Use a sawing motion when you cut, this gives the cleanest slices and the least amount of breakage.
  • Dry the biscotti at a low oven temperature of 265ºF (130ºC) for 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through. The purpose of the second bake is to dry out the biscotti, giving them their characteristic crisp and crunchy texture. Baking them at a low temperature for a long time ensures that they dry out thoroughly without burning or browning too much. Flipping them over after 20 minutes helps to ensure even moisture evaporation from both sides of the cookies.

Gluten free pistachio biscotti as part of a Christmassy table setting.

More amazing gluten free cookie recipes

As we’re nearing Christmas and we’re therefore officially in the cookie baking season, here are a few other gluten free cookie favourites:

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, friends, as I have another batch of cookies (for an exciting upcoming recipe!) waiting on me. Although making biscotti might seem like a fairly involved process (what with the two rounds of baking and having to slice the log into the individual cookies), there’s really nothing scary or difficult about it at all.

I like to enjoy biscotti with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa – they’re simply perfect for dipping. And, of course, they’re the star of any holiday cookie box. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Overhead view of gluten free pistachio biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

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Gluten Free Pistachio Biscotti

These gluten free pistachio biscotti are super easy to make and incredibly delicious. They’re perfectly dry, crisp and crunchy, and packed full of orange zest and pistachios. They’re a wonderful addition to your Christmas cookie box, though they’re certainly a great treat to enjoy the whole year round. Here, I’ve included all my top tips for making the rather soft biscotti dough easier to handle, as well as for preventing your biscotti from being too crumbly.
Print Rate
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook/Bake Time 1 hr 10 mins
Chill & Cool Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings 20 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 130 g (½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges (Ideally, use organic unwaxed oranges.)
  • 113 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 2 US large/UK medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 280 g (2 ⅓ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, add only ½ tsp.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g (1 cup) whole, raw pistachios

Instructions

Making & chilling the dough:

  • Add the sugar and orange zest to a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar. This helps to release more essential oils from the zest.
  • Add the melted butter and eggs, and whisk until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Add them to the butter-egg mixture, and mix well until you get a smooth dough. Note that the dough will be very soft, although it shouldn’t be very sticky to the touch.
  • Add the pistachios and mix well until evenly distributed.
  • Chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
    Tip: Before chilling, the biscotti dough is very soft and difficult to handle. Chilling firms up the butter in the dough and therefore the dough itself. It also gives the gluten free flour in the dough some time to properly hydrate, which also helps to make the dough more manageable.

Shaping the log:

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a large baking sheet with parchment/baking paper.
  • Transfer the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface.
    Tip: You don’t want to add too much flour onto your surface, but just enough so that the dough doesn’t stick to it.
  • Shape the dough into a short log. Don’t worry about its exact size or shape at this point.
  • Transfer the log onto the lined baking sheet and use a pastry brush to remove any excess flour.
  • Use your hands to shape the dough into a roughly 14 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (35 x 9 x 2cm) log. I usually do this so that the log lies along the diagonal of the baking sheet (note that the log will spread slightly and increase in volume during baking). Alternatively, you can shape it into two 7 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (18 x 9 x 2cm) logs, if you find it easier.

First bake & cooling:

  • Bake the log at 350ºF (180ºC) for 28-30 minutes or until it’s evenly golden brown in colour, fully baked through and hard to the touch.
    Tip: Because the dough contains baking powder, it will expand during baking, and you will see a few cracks running along the surface. That’s perfectly fine and to be expected.
  • Remove the biscotti log out of the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes, or until warm or lukewarm to the touch.
    Tip: Don’t be tempted to slice the log into individual biscotti while it’s still hot. It will be too fragile, and the biscotti will break and crumble as you try to cut them.
  • In the mean time, reduce the oven temperature to 265ºF (130ºC).

Slicing & second bake (drying out):

  • Once warm or lukewarm, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into about ¾ inch (about 2cm) thick slices. You should get around 20-22 biscotti in total.
    Tip: Use a sawing motion when you cut, this gives the cleanest slices and the least amount of breakage.
  • Arrange the sliced biscotti (cut sides down) on the lined baking sheet.
  • Bake them at 265ºF (130ºC) for 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
    Tip: The function of this second bake is to really dry them out, which is why it’s best to use a low oven temperature and a long baking time. By flipping them over after 20 minutes, you ensure even moisture evaporation from both sides of the cookies.
  • Once they finish baking, transfer them immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Tip: Cooling them on the baking sheet would cause condensation to form underneath, which rather destroys the point of being careful to really dry them out as much as possible.

Storage:

  • The gluten free pistachio biscotti keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

 

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3 thoughts on “Gluten Free Pistachio Biscotti”

  1. I’m currently a pastry student and gluten intolerant (talk about torture 🥲) and in class we recently made a cherry almond biscotti. I tried one and fell in love with the flavor and texture, and I knew I needed a gluten free version that I could safely eat!!

    These are perfect! Instead of just pistachios, I did 15g of pistachios, 20g of sliced almonds, and 30g of dried cherries. Best biscotti ever!

    Reply
  2. All recipes that I have seen for making biscotti or if you are Jewish, mandel bread call for baking them the second time with one side up and then flipping them over. I just separate the slices after cutting by 1/3-1/2 inch and leave them on their bottoms. Then they only need to bake for half of the time because both sides are exposed to the heat.

    Reply