Fig Almond and Cornmeal Biscotti

Fig, Almond and Cornmeal Biscotti

With the purchase of our new espresso maker (and grinder….), comes a responsibility: to make biscotti! That’s exactly what I did. Fig, almond & cornmeal biscotti – to be exact.

There are myriad recipes for biscotti. In my family, my aunt makes a classic almond (sometimes walnut, sometimes pistachio) and anise variety. It is a classic recipe, handed down to her from her husband’s mom – who was Italian. So, it is a trusted source – and delicious cookie. My aunt is known for her latte habit, so naturally, she’s a pro at making biscotti.

Fig Almond and Cornmeal Biscotti

I am certain that I was one of the weirdo kids in elementary school, who a) knew what biscotti was and b) really enjoyed the flavor of anise. I owe it to my aunt for my love of a good biscotti and latte, and I think she’d really enjoy the fig, almond & cornmeal biscotti!

As things are, I have to play around with recipes and flavors and textures. Classics are good but….it is nice to build on them, too. I won’t be sharing my aunt’s recipe here today – but that’s a good idea for a future post! Instead, I am sharing a version that I really love for various reasons: it uses olive oil instead of butter (no creaming butter here – a task I mostly find annoying), it has great texture and crunch (cornmeal! dried figs! toasted almonds!), and tastes wonderful with your cup of choice.

Fig, Cornmeal & Almond Biscotti: An Unfussy Cookie

I used to be a stickler for perfection in shaping my “logs” of dough pre-first bake….but now, I just plop the batter down onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and nudge it into a log-ish shape with a spatula (or oiled hands). Honestly, it’s going to spread out anyways, and once you slice the logs post-first bake, the cookies are forgiving. Some biscotti may be longer than others, but I kinda like that. As long as the thickness of each is relatively even, you’re golden (pun intended).

Fig Almond and Cornmeal Biscotti

These biscotti remind me a little of the bags of cantucci I’d buy at the Essalunga in Sesto when I lived there for a summer. Supremely crunchy, full of toasted almonds, and really enjoyable with a cup of coffee or espresso (or just plain – the cantucci were my go-to study nibble).

Biscotti are the tortoise of the cookie world: they age well. Stored in a tightly sealed container or bag, they last quite a long time. Even with the dried figs, these particular biscotti were stellar a week after baking.

Fig, Almond and Cornmeal Biscotti

Fig, Almond & Cornmeal Biscotti

Crunchy, nutty, golden cookies that are perfect for dunking in your espresso, latte or strong-ass cup of coffee. Recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 cup + 2 TB (5oz) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup (3.67oz) Cornmeal preferably stone ground, but regular works as well
  • 3/8 tsp Baking Powder this is scant 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2/3 cup (4.625oz) Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper optional
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg optional
  • 2 large Eggs
  • Zest of 1 large orange or lemon
  • 1 1/3 cup (4.5oz) Whole Almonds
  • 2/3 cup (3oz) Moist Dried Figs chopped into 1/4" pieces, stems discarded


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Place almonds on lined sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and lighly toasted. Allow to cool slightly, then roughly chop and set aside. Measure and chop the figs, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  • In a medium bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add olive oil, sugar, salt, eggs, black pepper, nutmeg and orange/lemon zest. Using a whisk, whisk attachment (if using a stand mixer) or hand mixer, mix until the mixture lightens in color and begins to form the ribbon (when you lift the whisk from the batter, it forms a ribbon that doesn't disappear right away into the batter).
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir to just combine. Add the almonds and figs and mix to combine.
  • Now, you may either cover the batter in the bowl for a few hours and place in the fridge or proceed. Placing the batter in the fridge will make it firmer, and easier to shape into logs. Or, with fresh batter, simply scoop the batter down the long length of the lined baking tray, using the spatula and/or lightly oiled hands to form the batter into 14" long and 5" wide log (doesn't need to be perfect). The log will spread during baking, so don't be alarmed.
  • Bake the shaped biscotti log at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the log is firm, and golden along the edges. It should not be overly moist in the center/on top.
  • Remove log from the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature. Reduce oven temperature to 325F.
  • Using a long, sharp non-serrated knife (such as a chef's knife), slice the log into 1/2" thick slices. Near the ends, the cookies will be shorter, and longer as you go towards the center. I usually trim the rounded edges of the log and nibble on those for a treat. Place the cookies on a freshly lined baking sheet, about 1/2" apart, standing them up so their round top is facing up.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges of the cookies are slightly golden. If necessary, rotate the pan half-way through baking (I typically don't do this – but your oven may be different).
  • Remove pan from oven, and allow to cool on the pan until completely cool. Store in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. Biscotti can be well-wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.
Keyword Almond, Coffee, Cookie, Cornmeal, Crunchy, Dessert, Fig, Orange, Snack

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