Handmade biscotti is a great treat for holiday parties (try dunking them in dessert wine!), and an impressive gift to bring when visiting friends. No matter what the season, they serve as elegant companions for espresso, cappuccino, latte or tea. Traditional biscotti in Italy are firm, toast-like biscuits flavored with anise or almond, but there are many other, more decadent varieties. This double-chocolate recipe has a rich flavor and always gets rave reviews.
(To make this great recipe, just click through the screens here and you'll have a visual guide to the best biscotti ever).
These homebaked goodies are also fresher, healthier (no pesticides, preservatives or transfats) and more affordable than what you'll probably find in a café. Prices of some store-bought biscotti range from 40 cents to more than $1 per cookie, and you won't get a break for buying a bunch. We found some online costing even more, up to $1.50 per cookie.
By comparison, the cost of the ingredients in our homemade biscotti, made from USDA Organic and fair trade certified products, came to only 45 cents per cookie. The recipe yields about 30 biscotti and the whole prep and baking time takes less than an hour. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them for weeks, or just keep in an airtight container for several days. For a lovely gift, show off the biscotti in recyclable containers or other packaging that's eco-friendly. We've included some suggestions. (Text by Lindsay Kurz. This article originally appeared in Plenty in December 2008.)