When I was learning to bake, one of the things I was most excited to learn was biscotti. Those crunchy, chocolate dipped cookies, perfect for dunking in my coffee. But they were also one of the most intimidating. Something about all that forming and slicing and double baking made me hesitant to try, but when I finally tackled it, I found my worries to be unfounded. It’s so easy! Even though there’s lots of steps, they are easy to do.
Forming the log you are going to bake can be tricky to get right. What I do is coat my hands and my surface with a light layer of flour and shape my piece of dough into a rough snake about the length I want my log to be. Then I put it on my parchment lined pan (I lay it diagonally) and pick up the edges of the parchment to help me roll the dough into a more even shape. Now all you have to do is flatten it out.
Another problem I’ve seen is in slicing the log after you bake it. I let it cool about 10-20 minutes. Some recipes ask you to let it cool completely, but I’ve found that it doesn’t crack as bad if its still warm. Another debate is serrated or non serrated knife. Your biscotti is going to be crusty like bread, so I use a serrated bread knife. This can leave some crumbs, but I get around that by spritzing the top of my loaf with water just before I cut it. Not enough to make it soggy, but enough to keep the crust from shattering.
You also want to make sure you don’t under bake. After your first bake, the loaf should be cooked all the way through. When you cut into it, it should have a nice, cakey texture, and be springy but not wet. If your log is under cooked, your sliced cookies are going to swell out from their sides and be really ugly. So just let it bake. You’ll know its done when its a nice golden brown and springs back when you press on the top.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add pumpkin seeds. Toast, stirring constantly, until seeds are turning brown and starting to pop. Set aside nuts and butter to cool completely.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Whisk to remove lumps.
If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can use this blend instead:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
In the bowl of your mixer, combine, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until fully combined and slowly stir in flour mixture. Add in all of the butter/seed mix and stir to combine.
Place on a lightly floured surface and divide into two even portions. With hands, carefully form each half into a log about 10 in long. Place on a parchment lined pan and flatten to about 3 in wide. Smooth the top and sides to make it even. Repeat with the second log on another pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and let cool on pans about 15 minutes, or until it's cool enough for you to handle comfortably. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Lightly spray the surface of your loaf with water, or use wet hands to dampen the top. Slice with a serrated knife on a diagonal so your cookies are about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. You can make them larger or smaller according to your preference.
Return sliced cookies to the pans (I use new parchment for this, but you don't have to). Stand the cookies upright, so that the sliced surfaces are on the sides, about an inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are dry and firm. They'll harden the rest of the way as they cool. Leave them on the pans to cool completely.
Note: if you prefer soft biscotti, you can just skip this step! I would freeze the cookies before dipping, just so they don't fall apart in my chocolate!
Dip the cooled cookies in melted chocolate (white or dark) any way you like. I prefer dipping the bottoms, so I get a little chocolate in every bite, but if you don't have a dish wide and shallow enough, you can dip just the ends or only one half or you can drizzle the chocolate over the top.