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.
1tspxanthan gum(If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, add only ½ tsp.)
125g(1 cup) whole, raw pistachios
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.
The gluten free pistachio biscotti keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Recipe by The Loopy Whisk (www.theloopywhisk.com).