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Rustiche Biscotti Cookies

This festive, fruity, orange-scented cookie is designed to be baked until hard and dry, and eaten dipped in coffee or tea.
Servings 44


  • 1.5 cups whole unblanched almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted unbleached flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder such as Rumford or Argo
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Italian Candied Fruit Mixture:

  • 1/4 cup chopped Candied Orange Peel see recipe below
  • 1/4 cup chopped Candied Lemon Peel see recipe below
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tsp. coarsely ground fennel seeds grind in a spice or coffee grinder

VARIATION: Apricot-Cherry Fruit Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cherries chop coarsely before measuring if your cherries are very large
  • 1/2 cup chopped Quick Candied Apricots see recipe below
  • 1/4 cup diced candied ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. Candied Orange Peel see recipe, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons finely ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger



  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the almonds in a wide, shallow pan, stirring once for 13 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop coarsely.
  • Adjust 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Line two 12-by-15 1/2-inch cookie sheets with aluminum foil (shiny-side-up), Silpat silicone sheets, or parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl beat the eggs with the honey and the vanilla and almond extracts, mixing well, and set aside. Into the large bowl of an electric mixer sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Add the beaten egg mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and beat on low speed, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula until the mixture holds together. Slowly beat in the nuts and the Italian Candied Fruit Mixture. The mixture will be thick, gooey and rubbery.
  • Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the two baking sheets, at least 1-inch apart. The mixture will spread only slightly during baking.
  • Bake the cookies in the preheated oven 45 minutes, reversing the sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the baking to ensure even browning. This will make for a hard cookie that still yields slightly to the bite. For a harder cookie that's designed for dipping into coffee or tea, bake for an additional 15 minutes (for a total of 60 minutes). Watch out - you might chip a tooth on these if you try to crunch through them like regular cookies! And for an even crunchier, harder cookie, lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees after the 60-minute baking, and bake for an additional 15 minutes at 275 degrees (for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes baking time).
  • For the Candied Orange Peel and Candied Lemon Peel: Wash 6-8 organic navel oranges and 5 organic lemons. Remove the peel by cutting off the stem and opposite ends of the fruit and scoring the fruit into quarters with a small knife, as shown in this post. (Set aside the fruit inside the peels and eat or use in another recipe.) Scrape off some of the white pith inside the peels with a small sharp spoon or a small knife. Place the scraped orange peels in a 3-4 qt. pot and fill with water to cover. Bring the peels to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. Cover the orange peels with water and boil for 5 minutes as before, then drain and remove the orange peels to a cutting board to cool. Repeat the boiling process with the lemon peels, but boil the lemon peels one more time (for a total of three times). Slice the orange and lemon peels 1/4 inch thick (again keeping peels in two separate piles if you don't want to cook them together). In a 3-4 qt. pot, combine 1 cup of water with 2 cups sugar. Stir mixture until dissolved, and bring to a boil and cook until mixture reaches thread stage, about 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir in orange peel and lower the heat; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the peels from the sugar mixture and let cool on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, separating the peels so they don't stick together. Bring the sugar mixture back to 230 degrees F and stir in the lemon peels. Lower the temperature and cook the lemon peels for 10 minutes, then remove to another parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let the peels dry for about 24 hours and then toss in about 1/2 cup granulated sugar until lightly coated. (If you need to use the peels for baking sooner than the 24 hours, you can let the peels dry for at least 5 hours and then toss in sugar.)


  • In step 3 under "Instructions," replace the Italian Candied Fruit Mixture with the Apricot-Cherry Fruit Mixture. Prepare the rest of the recipe as directed.
  • For the Quick Candied Apricots (based on the recipe at this link): In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk 5 Tbsp. water, 3 Tbsp. honey, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice until dissolved, then stir in 1/4 lb. dried apricots. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Check once or twice: if there's not enough liquid, add another tablespoon or two of water. Remove cover, raise heat to medium, and cook apricots until syrup is further reduced and has turned into a glaze. Remove saucepan from heat, and remove the apricots to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and let cool.


Adapted from Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever