Sometimes a modest sweet and savory cookie delivers as much pleasure as a decadent chocolate one.  That’s the case, for me anyway, with these Biscotti di Vino, red wine and sesame biscotti. They are crisp yet easy to chew.  They are sweet and savory with nutty notes from sesame and a hint of wine.

I first tasted this type of cookie when Di Camillo Bakery in Buffalo introduced them to specialty food stores in 1979. Some sleuthing introduced me to the basic formula, equal parts robust red wine and olive oil moisten a dough leavened with baking powder. Some tweaking of the leavening and amount of liquid lands me with this recipe that I made to go with cheese or eat on its own. The twist shape is festive and looks lovely in a tin but you can simply roll out the dough and cut it into 2-inch lengths before baking.

Biscotti di Vino in tin

Jump to Recipe

No special equipment is required to make these cookies, just a little time to form them.

First you combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Toasted sesame seeds add some flavor to the batter but raw sesame seeds could be used instead or black sesame seeds for their nutty taste and strong color.

1 Biscotti di Vino dry ingredients

Then in goes a light fruity olive oil and robust red wine. Ive made these with chianti, cabernet sauvignon and pinto noir.

2 Biscotti di Vino adding oil and red wine

No mixer needed, just the stiffened fingers of one hand, which you use to stir the dough.

3 Biscotti di Vino mixing with fingers

You keep stirring until the flour is moistened.

4 Biscotti di Vino mixting more with fingers

5 Biscotti di Vino stirring dough

And then the mixture comes together into a soft and oily dough.


6 Biscotti di Vino dough coming to getherBiscotti di vino dough

I use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough into uniform pieces that weigh 20 grams or about 2/3 ounce each.  You could use a tablespoon to portion out the dough instead.

9 Biscotti di Vino dividing dough into 20 gram pieces

Shaping the dough takes a little time but it isn’t difficult. (My zen is repetitive cooking tasks like peeling carrots, chopping onions or making cookies like these.)  You roll the dough out into a little snake.

10 Biscotti di Vino rolling dough into snake

Then you roll each snake of dough into granulated sugar.

11 Biscotti di Vino rolling rolled dough in sugar

To make the twisted shape, first drape the sugar-coated dough evenly over your index finger.

12 Biscotti di Vino drape dough over finger

Then twist the bottom ends.

13 Biscotti di Vino twist wend of dough

The cookies go directly into the oven where they puff up and dry out.

Biscotti di Vino in tin

Biscotti di Vino, Red Wine and Sesame Biscotti

Yield: Approximately 4 dozen biscotti

Biscotti di Vino, Red Wine and Sesame Biscotti


4 ½ cups (540 grams) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds

1 cup robust red wine such as Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

1 cup light olive oil

Granulated sugar for coating


  1. Position three racks spaced evenly in the oven. (If you only have two racks, bake in two batches.) Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line three half baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the wine and oil. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together into a smooth, soft and oily dough.
  4. Pour some granulated sugar onto a dinner plate or tray.
  5. Use a small (1½ tablespoons size) portion scoop to divide the dough into uniform pieces. (Or portion the dough using measuring spoons.) Roll each piece of dough into a ball.
  6. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out into a rope about 7 inches long. Dip the rope of dough into the granulated sugar. Then drape the piece of dough over your index finger and twist the ends. Place the formed dough spaced ½-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300˚F and bake until the biscotti are dried through, for 15 to 20 more minutes.
  8. Cool the biscotti on a wire rack. Pack them into airtight covered containers. They will keep for 1 week at room temperature and can be frozen for up to 2 months.