Perfectly crunchy, authentic Italian Gluten Free Biscotti (Cantuccini), studded with almonds, pistachios, apricots and cherries. Or… Make the biscotti plain or add dried fruit and nuts that you love the most. Dairy free.
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My PERFECT recipe for Gluten Free Biscotti
Whether Italian or not, we all love deliciously crunchy biscotti. THIS is my recipe for Gluten Free Biscotti which has been worked and reworked until they are PERFECT… Crunchy without being too hard… Crisp without being too crumbly… The perfect texture and structure for dunking… Not over-sweet… And made so that whether you are Coeliac or not, you’d NEVER KNOW they were gluten free. And that’s a promise!
Why pick this recipe for gluten free Biscotti? Because it’s reliable, versatile and created by someone with Italian heritage, who will accept nothing less than authentic Italian baking perfection!
What are Biscotti (Italian Cantuccini)?
Biscotti (also known as Cantuccini) are an iconic Italian cookie originating in Tuscany. Translated, ‘biscotti’ means ‘twice cooked’, which is indeed how they are baked… First as a log-shaped dough… before being sliced into individual biscuits and baked again. This process both cooks and dries the biscotti so that they are crisp and lasting.
Cantuccini were traditionally studded with almonds in their early days… But as with so many recipes, over time they have morphed to incorporate a variety of nuts, dried fruit, citrus, spices and even chocolate. They are all delicious whether eaten ‘as they are’ or dipped (the Italian way) into a divinely tipsy sweet dessert wine… Cantucci e Vin Santo.
Authentic Italian Biscotti are baked without fat. And the recipe shared here for Gluten Free Biscotti follows that authenticity. Adding fat is unnecessary… It’s about the balance of gluten free ingredients and how the Cantuccini bake that ensures the perfect flavour and traditional texture… whether they contain gluten or not.
Ingredients to make Gluten Free Biscotti
The list of ingredients for making gluten free Biscotti is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Plain gluten free flour blend… I use my Gluten Free Alchemist home-mixed White Flour Blend A (which can be found at the bottom of my Gluten Free Flours and Flour Blending page). But the recipe should still work fine with a commercial blend such as Doves Freee plain white flour.
- Ground almonds… (the type made from blanched, de-skinned almonds). These offer structure to the dough, as well as a subtle nuttiness.
- Xanthan gum… A very small amount! This acts as a binder. If you cannot tolerate xanthan gum, it’s fine to switch it for ground psyllium husk at 1½ to 2 times the amount. Leave out the xanthan gum if your flour blend already contains it.
- Baking powder… For leavening and to give the biscotti a light, crisp texture.
- Sugar… I use caster sugar (either white or golden).
- Salt… Just a pinch!
- Eggs… The recipe has been developed using UK large eggs. Given that egg size varies around the world, you may want to check how mine compare with those where you are. Head over to my International Egg Size and Weight Comparison Chart.
- Vanilla & Lemon Extracts… Offering depth of flavour and citrus notes to the baked Cantuccini. But it’s fine to sub with almond extract or any other extract you prefer.
- Fruit and nuts… I like a combination of blanched almonds, unsalted pistachios, dried apricots and glacé cherries. But it’s fine to use different nuts and/or fruit or none at all as you wish.
- Milk… I add ½ to 1 tablespoon as needed for moisture only. Dairy free milk is perfect!
How to make PERFECT Gluten Free Biscotti – Tips for success
Gluten Free Biscotti are easy to make and don’t require any fancy mixers or equipment. As long as you have some scales, a mixing bowl, spoon, fork, fridge, baking tray, baking paper, sharp knife and an oven, you’re good to go!
As always though, it’s helpful to have a little know-how up your sleeve to ensure the best bake…
Tips for mixing the dough…
- Pre-mix all the dry ingredients and the nuts and fruit first to ensure an even blend.
- Beat the eggs (using a fork) with the extracts and milk, until well-blended and airy and then add this to the dry ingredients.
- Work the mixture together with a firm wooden or silicone spoon until the mixture becomes a thick, well-blended paste.
- Do NOT add extra flour. It may feel tempting when the dough is sticky, but adding more flour will dry the dough and alter its structure, so that it becomes very crumby and unpleasant when baked. Instead…
- Chill the dough for 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge. This is ESSENTIAL. Gluten free Biscotti dough is soft and sticky and needs to have time to hydrate properly and for the dough to firm up before it can be rolled into a log shape. The chilling process can be quickened by placing the dough in the freezer rather than the fridge.
shaping the dough…
- Once chilled and firm, the dough is ready to be shaped… It helps to scrape it out onto good quality baking paper first, for ease of handling.
- Dust your hands or the surface of the dough VERY lightly with flour (we are not adding flour, just avoiding any undue stickiness!). And then, pull the dough together with hands and work it into a ball.
- For ease of shaping and baking, it helps to divide the dough in half.
- Using lightly floured hands, work each dough half into a log shape (about 8 inches (20 cm) long). Shorter, fatter logs make bigger Cantuccini. Longer, thinner logs make smaller Cantuccini. They don’t need to be obsessively neat. Home-baked and a bit rustic is a good look!
- Once the dough is shaped into logs, pop them on a lined baking tray and gently manipulate to ‘neaten’ as you wish.
baking Biscotti – the first bake
- Biscotti dough can be prone to over-baking, so it’s important to watch it closely while in the oven. Bake the logs at 170 C/325 F for around 30 minutes… But if they look like they’re browning too quickly, turn the oven down a notch.
- At the end of the first bake, the logs should be firm to the touch and an even golden brown colour. They will have ‘risen’ and may (or may not) have a few cracks on the surface.
- It’s important to let the baked Biscotti logs cool for 20 to 30 minutes on the tray (until just warm to the touch and easy to hold and handle) before cutting them. Cutting when still hot will result in lots of broken cookies as the logs are still too fragile at that stage.
cutting gluten free Biscotti…
- When cutting the baked logs into slices, use a sharp, serrated knife. The crust of the logs will be slightly firmer than the middle. Thus, it is essential to use a very gentle and patient sawing motion to cut through and avoid too much cracking.
- It helps to cut on a completely flat surface such as a chopping board.
- Avoid pressing down too firmly on the top of the log, as this is liable to result in breaking the cookies as they cut. And…
- Hold the sides of the log firmly with your other hand while cutting, to keep the log steady.
- Cut the log into slices 1½ to 2 cm thick. Thicker slices may be sturdier if you feel less confident. You’ll work out what works for you as you go.
- As the cookies are cut, transfer the slices to lined baking tray(s), flat (cut) side down. Leave a slight gap between each to allow for heat circulation.
- Don’t stress if some of the cookies break… They will still be just as delicious!
The second bake… for the perfect texture
The second bake is predominantly about drying out the cookies. It is essential that this is done at a very low oven temperature to avoid excessive browning. But equally, the bake time needs to be monitored to avoid the gluten free Biscotti becoming too crunchy.
With this in mind, bake the cut cookies at a temperature of 130 C (250 F) for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through for an even bake and texture.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the biscotti to cool on the baking sheet(s) (where the residual heat of the tray will complete the drying process).
Variations on a theme… gluten free Biscotti (Cantuccini)your way!
As mentioned above, this recipe offers the perfect gluten free Biscotti base to build your favourite cookies. And while the recipe shared is written as I made them, if you want to switch out the fruit, nuts and extracts listed for other options, then feel free to do so. I would nonetheless advise keeping within the combined weights and ratios to avoid impacting the biscuit structure. And judge by looking at the dough when enough is enough! Why not try:
- Just almonds for traditionally classic almond biscotti.
- Any variation of nuts including pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, peanuts, cashews or pecans. To avoid the nuts becoming burnt, use raw or blanched nuts in the mix.
- Dried and preserved fruit – cranberries, apricots, sultanas, blueberries, cherries.
- Chocolate chips in the dough – dark, milk or white.
- Half-dip the cookies in chocolate. (White chocolate with lemony biscotti is DIVINE)
- Citrus zest – finely grated.
- Switch the extracts – almond, vanilla, lemon and orange are my ‘go to’ favourites.
- Add some spice – cinnamon, ginger, allspice, mixed spice, and cardamom are all good!
How to store Gluten Free Biscotti
Gluten free Biscotti keep exceptionally well. They can be stored in an airtight container/tin at room temperature for at least 3 weeks (possibly longer, but I haven’t tried). Then grab and munch whenever you fancy one…
How to eat Biscotti…
Gluten free Biscotti are perfect eaten just as they are for the most delicious (not over-)sweet snack. And no… They’re not just for Christmas! Or they are fabulous…
- The Italian Cantuccini way… dipped in sweet dessert wine
- Dunked in coffee, real hot chocolate, tea or warm milk
- Serve alongside Real Chocolate Mousse or Vanilla Panna Cotta
- Utterly incredible with Lemon Meringue Ice Cream (or any other homemade Ice Cream for that matter)
- Dipped in a chocolate fondue
- Served with yoghurt or custard
Ready to make gluten free Biscotti?
And that’s it… Hopefully, you’ll now make the best gluten free Biscotti… The recipe is just below (scroll down a couple more inches). I hope you love them as much as we do…
If you make them, I’d love to hear how you got on… Leave a comment at the bottom, rate the recipe using the ⭐️ button or message me on social media (Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest (@glutenfreealchemist)).
For lots more gluten free baking and cooking inspiration, head over to our Gluten Free Recipe Index… It’s packed with drool-worthy photographs to help you navigate around the site. And it’s THE place to start your gluten free foodie journey.
All shared with my love
More AMAZING gluten free biscuits and cookies you’ll love
- Double Chocolate Biscotti (Gluten Free)
- Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
- Baci Di Dama Cookies (Italian Hazelnut Biscuits)
- Gluten Free Viennese Whirls
- Bakery Style White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
- Savoiardi Biscuits (Gluten Free)
- Custard Creams (Gluten Free)
Gluten Free Biscotti
- sharp knife
- sharp serrated knife
Dried Fruit-Nut Mix (this is optional)
- 30 g blanched almonds (not chopped)
- 40 g pre-shelled pistachio nuts unsalted (not chopped)
- 30 g dried apricots chopped into small pieces
- 30 g glacé cherries cut into sixths/eighths
- 170 g plain gluten free flour blend I use GFA blend A – See NOTES
- 80 g ground almonds (ground without skin)
- ½ tsp xanthan gum or ¾-1 tsp ground psyllium husk
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free)
- 140 g caster sugar
- pinch fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs At room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 1 tsp vanilla or lemon extract ) or combined 1 to 1½ tsp extracts of choice
- ½ to 1 tbsp milk (dairy free as required)
- Weigh out the fruit and nuts and chop the fruit into smallish pieces. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, ground almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Add the fruit and nuts and stir well to coat and separate the fruit pieces and ensure the mix is even.
- In a separate bowl, fork beat the eggs with the extracts and ½ tbsp milk, until evenly blended and lightly airy.
- Add the liquid to the dry mix and work the two together with a firm spoon until the mixture becomes a thick, even paste. If the dough feels at all dry, add the additional ½ tbsp milk.
- Pull the paste together into a mound in the bowl and chill for 30 to 45 mninutes (or until firm). This process can be quickened by placing the dough in the freezer for less time.
- When the dough is firm and ready to shape, preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F).
- Scrape the dough out from the bowl onto a flour-dusted sheet of baking paper and divide into two equal pieces.
- Using very lightly floured hands, gently work the dough pieces into two log shapes about 8 inches (20 cm) long.
- Place the two logs side by side on a large lined baking tray (leaving a good gap between them) and flatten very slightly.
- Bake immediately for about 30 minutes (at 170 C) until the logs are lightly risen, firm to the touch and an even golden brown colour. Keep an eye on them while baking and if browning too quickly, turn the oven down a notch.
- Cool the logs for 20 to 30 minutes on the tray, until they are still warm, but easy to hold and handle.
- Turn the oven back on and set at 130 C (250 F).
- Taking each log in turn, place on a completely flat surface (such as a chopping board) and using a sharp serrated knife, very carefully saw the log into slices 1½ to 2 cm thick. Hold the sides of the log firmly with your other hand while cutting, to keep the log steady and don't press down too hard.
- Transfer the biscotti slices to the lined baking tray flat (cut) side down. Leave a slight gap between each to allow for heat circulation.
- Bake the cut biscotti at 130 C for a further 45 minutes, turning the cookies half way through to ensure an even bake both sides.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the biscotti to cool on the baking sheets (where the residual heat of the tray will complete the baking/drying process).
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist