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chocolate pecan biscotti with raisins

The Best Pecan Biscotti with Chocolate and Raisins

I hope it says something good about this pecan biscotti that I’m munching on it as I type up the final recipe. Stuffed with crunchy pecans, juicy raisins and chunks of chocolate, it’s hands down the best biscotti recipe I’ve ever made. I’m excited to share it with you.

A chocolate biscotti recipe wasn’t even on my radar, to be honest. Though I usually put a nut or cranberry biscotti in the foodie gift boxes I create, I’d never thought to bake a chocolate version of the classic Italian cookie.

Cue author and food stylist Susan Spungen, whose brilliant newsletter I subscribe to (as should you – there’s a free version and a premium paid one that’s worth every cent).

Susan’s chocolate cherry pecan biscotti caught my eye because I had a handful of sour cherries to use up. Turns out I didn’t have enough cherries but by then I was all in. I’m so glad I kept going because we ended up with this. Pecan biscotti with chocolate and raisins.

pecan biscotti close up

Tips for baking the best biscotti

I’ve baked a lot of biscotti in my life. In fact, in my twenties I made it in factory quantities to sell to stores! The most popular flavor was cranberry biscotti, and yes, I still bake it today in smaller quantities.

If you’ve never tried it, biscotti is Italian in origin and is a twice baked cookie. The first bake is done as a loaf or log, then the loaf is cooled before being cut into slices and baked again. What you end up with is a crunchy, slightly crumbly cookie with incredible keeping qualities; it’s equally at home dunked into coffee, tea or Vin Santo (dessert wine).

I don’t know if my tips would impress an Italian Nonna, but here are things I’ve found which take biscotti from dry, boring cookies to the kind of treat you can’t pass up.

  • More mix-ins. Inclusions, bits, chunky stuff. The biscotti I love best are ones that are stuffed with nuts, fruit and in this case, chocolate. More bits make it harder to cut the loaves into neat slices, but that’s a small price to pay for amazing chunky biscotti.
  • Mix-ins can be varied. Most nuts are great in biscotti, as are most dried fruits. Change things up depending on what you have. Swap dark chocolate for milk (not white, it gets chalky and burned). I also love cocoa nibs, pumpkin seeds (the little green pepitas, not big pale ones) and poppy seeds in biscotti. Stick to roughly the same total volume of nuts, fruit and chocolate overall.
  • A little butter. Not too much. I’ve seen many biscotti recipes which don’t have any butter. They’ll last longer without, but the butter adds sandiness and richness to the dough that’s worth the trade off. And your cookies will still last for weeks anyway.
  • Nut biscotti with more nuts! Instead of just using nut pieces in the biscotti, keep back a small portion of your nuts and grind them finely to mix into the dough. This bumps up the flavor of whichever nut you’re using. It also has a benefit in the biscotti’s texture, making the cookies less hard and dry but still sturdy and crunchy. It’s the difference between a biscotti you need to dunk in a drink vs biscotti you can just eat anytime.
  • Use enough flour to form the biscotti. This is a sticky dough and can be unwieldy. Dust your counter and your hands with plenty of flour before forming the dough into logs. If you do end up with huge caked-on bits of flour when the logs are formed, just brush them off lightly with a pastry brush.
  • Cool the logs before slicing, but not too much. Let the biscotti cool until you can handle it with bare hands, but don’t let it go cold or it’ll be rock-like and crumble into pieces when cut.
  • Watch the second bake! You need to bake the biscotti enough to dry them out fully, but don’t go too far because the nuts will burn and the cookies will be hard. The time it takes depends on how thickly you slice the pieces. For reference, mine are about 3/8 inch or 1cm and took 9 minutes on each side.

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How to make pecan biscotti with chocolate and raisins

The full biscotti recipe and directions are in the printable card at the end of the post. Keep reading for the visual walk through!

ingredients for biscotti recipe

Get all your ingredients assembled before you start. This is a simple recipe but it has got numerous ingredients and will move quicker if you’ve gotten everything out.

Mixing pecan biscotti dough

dry ingredients for biscotti

Start by whisking your dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the pecans (leaving some aside for the next step!), chocolate and raisins and stir to coat all those bits with flour. Set aside.

pecans and sugar in food processor

Put your extra pecans and granulated sugar into a food processor or blender and process to grind the nuts finely.

eggs, sugar and butter in a bowl

Tip the pecan/sugar mix into another bowl and add your brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, whole eggs and egg yolk. Give that a whisk and scrape it into the bowl of dry ingredients.

You’ll need to mix the biscotti dough thoroughly here and it’s hard work because of all the bits. A solid spoon or spatula helps, or you can get into it with your hands if you don’t mind getting sticky. I don’t recommend using a mixer for biscotti because it kind of mashes the inclusions and makes the dough muddy.

Form biscotti into logs

biscotti dough being kneaded

Scrape the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it together a couple of times. If, like me, you find a little pocket of flour at the bottom of the bowl when you scrape it out, you can knead that in now. Split the dough in two and form each into a log roughly 12 inches (30cm) long and 2 inches (5cm) diameter. It’ll expand a lot in the oven so don’t make it too fat unless you want monster cookies.

biscotti logs on a sheet pan

Put the logs onto a parchment lined baking sheet with a gap of about 2 inches between them. See how floury my biscotti loaves are? That’s ok! You only need to worry if there are big thick blobs of flour, in which case brush them off.

sprinkling sugar on cookies

This next step is optional, but you’ll have the egg white sitting around anyway, plus it makes the biscotti pretty for gifting. Lightly beat the white and brush it over the tops of the loaves, then sprinkle very generously with extra granulated sugar or turbinado sugar.

First bake

Cook those loaves for 40-45 minutes or until they’re cooked through and ends are just starting to brown. They’ll be like puffy, sugary loaves of bread.

Let the biscotti cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Not too long or the loaves will be hard to slice.

Slice and bake again

slicing biscotti

Use a serrated bread knife to cut slices about 3/8 inch (1cm) thick. Use a sawing action rather than a pressing/crushing action so you cut cleanly through each slice.

Arrange the slices back onto the baking sheet. You can put them close together, though you’ll still need a second baking sheet to fit them all.

slices of biscotti on a tray

Bake the biscotti again, turning halfway through, until they’re toasty and firm. They won’t be crunchy/crispy but will firm up as they cool. My pictured batch got exactly 9 minutes on each side and they were perfect.

That’s it, you’re done! Pecan biscotti isn’t the fastest cookie recipe around, but it’s worth the effort. Now you’ve got dozens of crunchy, crave-worthy little slices of goodness to share around. These will keep in an airtight container for several weeks, or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 6 months. Bet you can’t keep them around that long!

pecan chocolate raisin biscotti

Happy baking, see you here again soon.

chocolate pecan biscotti with raisins
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Pecan Biscotti with Chocolate and Raisins

This perfect pecan biscotti is crunchy and crisp, packed full of nutty, chocolatey goodness and studded with juicy raisins. The recipe makes a large batch and they keep for weeks.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Food Gift
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: biscotti, biscotti recipe, pecan biscotti
Servings: 48 cookies
Calories: 105kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, conventional setting (that's no steam, those of you who are regulars here!). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Put flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, powdered ginger, and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly and break up any lumps.
    1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp flaky salt, 1 ½ tsp ground ginger, 3 Tbsp Dutch process cocoa
  • Add the chocolate chips, raisins and 1 ¼ cups pecans, and mix with a spatula or spoon to coat all the inclusions with flour.
    1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup raisins, 2 cups pecan halves
  • Put the remaining pecans and the granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
    2 cups pecan halves, 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Put the pecan sugar mixture into another bowl, then add the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, whole eggs, and the egg yolk from the separated egg. Whisk together until smooth then scrape into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients. Stir together until it forms a mass and there are no visible streaks of flour left.
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract, 2 large eggs, 1 large egg
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead it together a couple of times to make sure it's evenly mixed, then use a dough scraper or knife to cut the dough into two. Flour your hands and roll each piece into a thick log, about 10 inches (25cm) long and 2 inches (5cm) in diameter. Carefully transfer the logs to the lined baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between them as they'll expand during baking. Whisk the leftover egg white and brush the tops of the logs, then sprinkle generously with extra sugar.
    1 large egg, 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • Bake the biscotti logs until the center feels firm when you press it gently, about 40-45 minutes. Let the logs cool on the baking sheet just until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/165°C. Using a sharp bread knife, slice the biscotti about 3/8 inch (1cm) thick, on a slight angle, and lay them on the baking sheet, close together. You'll likely need a second lined sheet, or you can do this step in batches. Return baking sheet to the oven to toast and dry out the biscotti, about 9 minutes per side. Cool completely before packing them into an airtight container. Biscotti will stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks and can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 6 months.

Notes

  1. Mix-ins can be varied. Most nuts are great in biscotti, as are most dried fruits. Feel free to change things up depending on what you have, and add chocolate if you like (milk or dark work best, white tends to get chalky and burned). I also love cocoa nibs, pumpkin seeds (the little green pepitas, not the big pale ones) and poppy seeds in biscotti. Stick to roughly the same total volume of nuts, fruit and chocolate overall.
  2. Cool the logs before slicing, but not too much. Let the biscotti cool until you can handle it with bare hands, but don’t let it go cold or it’ll be rock-like and crumble into pieces when cut.
  3. Don’t be afraid of using flour to form the biscotti. This is a sticky dough and can be unwieldy to work with. Dust your counter and your hands with plenty of flour before forming the dough into logs. If you do end up with huge caked-on bits of flour when the logs are formed, just brush them off lightly with a pastry brush.
  4. You need to bake the biscotti enough to dry them out fully, but don’t go too far because the nuts will burn and the cookies will be hard. The time it takes depends on how thickly you slice the pieces. For reference, mine are about 3/8 inch or 1cm and took 9 minutes on each side.

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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