I make these yummy biscottini often, and receive a lot of requests for the recipe, especially at this time of year. They are not a traditional Italian dolce, but they have been ‘italianizzati’ 🇮🇹 by the espresso. I have been making them for over 25 years, so I don’t remember where the original recipe came from. It may have been an article in the local paper? Really, any shortbread or butter cookie recipe can be adapted by adding vanilla extract and instant espresso powder.
These espresso cookies are perfect with a caffè and freeze very well. They even taste good congelati -straight out of the freezer. For best results, freeze before dipping the ends in chocolate. The espresso must be ground to a very fine powder in a macinacaffè, a coffee grinder. Instant espresso is too coarse and chunky to add straight from the jar. Grinding espresso beans does not work well, as they do not grind fine enough. Using real caffè does not work either, as the batter will be too liquidy. Espresso powder is the best option. I use Medaglia d’Oro® or Bar Italia® brand instant espresso. Last time I made them, I accidentally doubled the caffè (oops!). My coffee loving amici thought they were even better than usual, so ‘double shot’ works too.
10g (20 ml, 4 teaspoons) instant espresso
225g (240 ml, 1 cup) butter, at room temperature
100g (120 ml, ½ cup) sugar
3 ml (½ teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
230g (415 ml, 1¾ cups) all-purpose flour
30g (¼ cup, 60 ml) cornstarch
120g (4 ounces) good quality chocolate, melted
Grind instant espresso in coffee grinder to a fine powder. Mix together butter and sugar. Add espresso powder and vanilla extract. Sift flour and cornstarch together and add to the rest of the ingredients. Roll into 2 cm balls then flatten into palm of hand to mould into oval coffee bean shape/American football shape. Place on a baking sheet. Before baking, make a shallow indent lengthwise down the ‘bean’ with a knife. Indenting too deep will make the cookies spread. Bake at 180⁰ C (325⁰ F) for 15-20 minutes. When cool, dip both ends in melted chocolate and place on wax or parchment paper to dry. Makes 36 cookies. Buon Appetito!