Biscotti Cookie – The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again)
yes, You’ve probably had a biscotti cookie before. But do you really know what it is? Let’s take a closer look at this crunchy, twice-baked cookie that seems to be popular these days.
Biscotti are thought to have originated in the Tuscan city of Prato region of central Italy, sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century. The word “biscotti” comes from the Latin “bis-coctus,” which means “twice baked.” And that’s precisely what biscotti are: twice-baked cookies, resulting in a crispy, crunchy texture.
The original biscotti recipe called for just a few simple ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, almonds, and anise seeds. Anise is a type of licorice-flavored herb that is popular in many Italian desserts. These days, you’ll find all sorts of variations on the classic biscotti recipe, with different flavors and ingredients to give the biscotti cookies their unique taste.
The Fall from Grace
Despite its humble beginnings, biscotti became quite popular in Italy and beyond. But by the mid-20th century, its popularity had begun to wane. One reason for this was the rise of mass-produced cookies—including chocolate chip cookies—that were easy to make and more accessible to eat than biscotti.
In addition, many people began associating biscotti with old-fashioned values and traditions. As a result, younger generations were not as interested in eating them as their parents and grandparents were. This trend continued throughout much of the latter half of the 20th century.
The Biscotti Cookie Comeback Kid
All hope was not lost for biscotti, however. In the early 1980s, a new generation of Italian bakers began experimenting with traditional recipes, coming up with new flavor combinations and adding chocolate and other ingredients to give the cookies a modern twist. These updated versions of biscotti caught on with young people in Italy and soon became popular in the United States in the 1990s and in other countries worldwide.
Nowadays, you can find all sorts of different flavors and varieties of biscotti at your local coffee shop or grocery store. And while some purists may turn their noses up at these creative takes on a classic cookie, there’s no denying that biscotti is back—and here to stay!
So there you have it: the story of how biscotti went from being a beloved Italian treat to an outdated cookie and back again. The next time you enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea) and a delicious biscotti cookie, take a moment to appreciate its humble origins.