Gluten-free biscotti is a hard, somewhat thick Italian cookie that is prepared with gluten-free ingredients. While traditional biscotti are typically flavored with almonds, modern cooks use a variety of ingredients in both regular and gluten-free biscotti. This cookie is traditionally long in shape and is typically baked twice: first as a loaf, which is sliced after it is taken from the oven, and then again in slices. Biscotti is dry and hard, so no butter or oil is added, and it stands up well to being dunked in coffee, cappuccino, or espresso, as it does not become soggy. Individuals who are trying to avoid gluten in their diets or who must avoid it due to conditions such as celiac disease often appreciate being able to consume gluten-free biscotti with their coffee beverages.
Gluten is a protein found in some grains, namely rye, barley, and wheat. Some individuals have an intolerance to gluten, and their consumption of the protein can cause severe dietary distress. As a result, many such people cannot eat baked goods that are made from wheat flour or that have been prepared with or on the same equipment as foods that contain gluten. Gluten-free biscotti is prepared so that it does not present a danger to these individuals by the use of non-wheat flours and kitchen tools and equipment that have not been exposed to gluten-containing foods.
Recipes vary but always use some other type of flour instead of wheat. Commonly used flours include oat flour, arrowroot, and amaranth, though almond flour may also be used in the preparation of gluten-free biscotti. Many commercial bakers produce these gluten-free cookies, which may be sold in both standard stores as well as specialty shops and coffee houses. Home cooks can also easily make gluten-free biscotti, with the added advantage of being able to customize the cookies with a variety of ingredients, such as fruits, nuts, and chocolate.
As is true for anyone with a food intolerance or allergy, individuals who seek out gluten-free biscotti should take steps to ensure that the product is truly gluten-free. Ask about manufacturer standards to ensure that cross-contamination of the biscotti or its raw ingredients cannot happen during the baking or packaging processes. For those who are very concerned about exposure to gluten, baking their own gluten-free biscotti at home is an option, as this allows the baker to control both the ingredients that go into the cookies as well as the environment in which they are made.