Vanilla Biscotti: My First Cookie Exchange

by simplylife on December 28, 2012

When I was young, my mom went to a cookie exchange every year during the holidays.  I can’t tell you if I went with her, how many people were involved or what she would make.  But I can distinctly remember her bringing home a giant tupperware container filled to the brim with a variety of homemade cookies.  My brother and I would love trying all the different cookies and bars over the course of the holiday season.


Soon enough I got a little older, moved away from home and eventually forgot about that container filled with cookies.  The holidays were still filled with sweets but it never compared to having that variety box filled with homemade goodies.


Then, I was chatting with Colleen from What’s Baking in the Barbershop, who let me know about a cookie exchange in Boston!  It was the first cookie exchange that I ever participated in as an actual baker; it was such a fun experience to be a part of!  There were several sponsors at the event, including Pretzel Crisps and Polar Seltzer but my favorite part was definitely seeing (and tasting) all the different desserts everyone made! I was so impressed by the variety of cookies available!

When I received the cookbook Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever to review, I knew that it would be the perfect opportunity to test a recipe for this cookie exchange.  I had a difficult time choosing which recipe try, as there were so many cookies, bars and dessert sandwiches that all looked incredible, but I eventually decided to try the biscotti.

I love a piece or two of biscotti with my coffee in the morning or to satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. I followed the recipe from the book very closely, except I decided to use white chocolate (as indicated by the recipe) for half the biscotti and the other half using semi-sweet chocolate.


I really enjoyed this recipe and how thorough and easy to follow the directions were. I also see this as a very versatile recipe;  I have a feeling nuts could be mixed in very easily and would add great flavor and texture!


Vanilla Biscotti

Adapted from Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbs. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
5 ounces chocolate, melted (can use white chocolate, semi-sweet, or a combination)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and vanilla on medium speed until creamy.  Add sugar and beat until light and airy in texture, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs and egg white and beat together.  Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly mix in flour mixture.

3.  Place dough on silicone baking mat or lightly floured surface and divine in half. Shape each half into long rolls, about 1 1/4 inches wide (this is for smaller biscotti; you can change the shape for a different size).  Transfer formed dough onto prepared baking sheet with at least 1 inch between pieces.  Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is firm, but lightly soft when touched.  Let cool for 2 minutes then transfer to baking rack and cool for 15 minutes.

4.  Reduce oven to 250 degrees.  Place baked dough on a cutting board and gently cut each piece on a diagonal into about 1/2 inch pieces, using a serrated knife.  Return to baking sheet and bake until dry and firm, about 45-60 minutes (flipping over each piece half-way through).  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

5.  Melt chocolate drizzle over biscotti.  Let cool completely before serving.  Serve and enjoy.

~Have you ever been to a cookie exchange (or been the grateful beneficiary of one)?

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  • Belinda @zomppa

    A huge success! Everyone should be the beneficiary of a cookie exchange!

    • Simply Life

      I agree! 🙂

  • Bianca Garcia

    I missed the cookie exchanges I was invited to this year but I definitely want to be part of one soon, or even host one myself! Vanilla biscotti sound lovely. Happy New Year!

  • Colleen

    Hooray for cookie exchanges! I am SO glad you came 🙂 And your biscotti was delicious! That looks like a fabulous cookbook too!!

    • Simply Life

      I’m so glad you invited me! 🙂

  • Kristen

    sounds like fun, your biscotti sound so good!

  • Jolene (

    Nope, I’ve never done a cookie exchange before. I am not a big fan of sweets, so I don’t know if I would.

  • The Squishy Monster

    Ooh, these sound wonderful!

  • Bee

    I definitely need to get some vanilla beans. Wow! Incredible!

  • Alexis AKA MOM

    Oh goodness those look so yummy! I will have to try!!

  • Kristen RD

    Sounds like a great cookie exchange! That biscotti looks just fabulous!
    The last couple years my mom and I have hosted an exchange. It is a blast!

  • Jessie (Happiness in Health)

    How fun! I’ve never done a cookie exchange, but I’d love to! I would have gone with the biscotti, too – those drizzles of white and semisweet chocolate are the finishing touches 😉 Happy holidays!

  • Joanne (eats well with others)

    Cookie exchanges are so much fun!! I’m glad you got to attend your first one. 🙂 And these biscotti look perfect! For dunking…for snacking…for eating for dinner 😛

  • managedmacros

    I did my first cookie exchange last year and then again this year…so fun!!! I hope I remember to do biscotti next year, just to kick it up a different notch. Terrific idea and the presentation is so elegant. You are an amazing baker and I envy that. Excellent job!

    • Simply Life

      Oh thank you- you are so sweet!

  • Sutapa Ghosh

    It seems like great fun…your biscotti looks great…..wish you and all your loved ones a very happy and delicious New Year!

  • decocinasytacones

    Looks great and a very easy recipe Gina.
    Love and Happy new Year!

  • Megan

    Love the chocolate drizzle on top! I used to do a cookie exchange at my old job. My family makes enough holiday cookies and so many different kinds that we end up looking like we did a cookie exchange!

  • itzyskitchen

    LOVE cookie exchanges. I hosted one last year and having that amazing plate of cookies after was heaven! Your biscotti looks so delicious. Love the drizzle.

  • Caroline

    These biscotti look amazing! I am going to make these tomorrow! I love them with my coffee too!

    • Simply Life

      Oh great! I hope you like them!

  • Amy (Savory Moments)

    I love vanilla and think these biscotti would be wonderful with a hot cup of coffee or tea. I went to my first cookie exchange this year! It was fun and I got to try a lot of different cookies which I really enjoyed!

  • meri

    oh man my mouth is watering! I love biscotti, and this looks so good

  • Carina

    Never been to a cookie exchange, actually never heard of it. What is it? It does sound good though =) Love the post by the way!

    • Simply Life

      It’s kinda like a potluck- but with cookies! everyone brings something to share and then we all take 1 or 2 cookies from each other to go home with! very fun and delicious!

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