Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please, or rather, si’ grazie! And that’s exactly what I eat in Italy, where a light breakfast of Italian croissant (called cornetto or brioche) or a few cookies dipped into frothy cappuccino or caffe’ latte is customary. No eggs and bacon for breakfast here, which are reserved for spaghetti alla carbonara at lunch or dinner. My favorite Italian wholegrain breakfast cookies are called ‘Gran Cereale’ biscotti by Mulino Bianco, a fiber and flavor rich healthy biscuit whose name literally means ‘big grain’. I’ve been dipping these barely sweet, wholesome oat cookies into morning coffee for decades and often crumble them into yogurt with fresh fruit for extra nutrition and variety.
While store bought Gran Cereale cookies are now available online and in Italian shops in the U.S. at a premium, developed my homemade dupe recipe in an even healthier gluten-free version with oat flour and plant-based milk. Using simple, natural ingredients that are readily available, the dough comes together quickly and easily in a food processor. Then, instead of scooping cookies or rolling out and cutting shapes, the dough is shaped into a compact cylindrical log and refrigerated until firm before neatly slicing into thin rounds with no muss, no fuss. And, since there are no eggs in the dough, the log can be refrigerated for days or frozen for months before slicing and baking.
When slicing the dough log into rounds, my technique works beautifully to make slices cookie-cutter precise…without a cookie cutter. Roll the log forward on the cutting board with one hand while using a sawing motion with a sharp knife in the other to partially cut through the slice. Then keep rolling and cutting until you reach the other side of the log and the cookie slice falls to the board. This technique prevents the dough from crumbling and creates neat, round slices to lightly nudge with a fingertip to perfect the shape if needed. Once all the slices are uniformly cut and arranged on a lined cookie sheet, they bake until golden brown and crisp before cooling and storing in round jars or cookie tins to preserve their crunchy, crumbly texture.
Dip a few of these healthy, homemade, honey-kissed Italian wholegrain breakfast cookies into your morning cappuccino and experience the taste of Italian breakfast wherever you live!
ITALIAN WHOLEGRAIN BREAKFAST COOKIES (GF)
Biscotti ‘Gran Cereale’ Classico
Copyright, 2023, Deborah Dal Fovo, All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.
These healthy oat cookies are my homemade dupe of the popular wholegrain Italian breakfast cookie, ‘Gran Cereale’ (meaning big cereal) biscotti by Mulino Bianco. Crunchy and barely sweet, they’re high in fiber and flavor with a satisfying texture and taste. These cookies are my go-to breakfast in Italy and I developed this recipe to replicate at home, making them gluten-free and super digestible with oat flour and plant based milk for an even healthier cookie (although you can use whole wheat flour and cow’s milk for the OG biscotti). Dip these crisp, honey-kissed cookies into a frothy cappuccino and pretend you’re in Italy!
View a tutorial video of this recipe on my Instagram feed
Makes about two dozen 2¼-inch cookies
1 cup/111g rolled oats
¼ cup/57g cane sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup/115g oat flour
1 teaspoon/4g baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons/100g cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice
1 tablespoon/21g honey
3 tablespoons oat or almond milk
Dash of ground cinnamon (optional but recommended)
Place the rolled oats, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to partially break up the oat grains. Add the oat flour, baking powder, and baking soda then pulse again a couple times to combine.
Add the diced butter and pulse a few times until broken up into pieces the size of small lentils. Pour in the honey and milk then pulse the again until a crumbly dough forms that holds together when pressed between fingers.
Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and gather into a ball with your hands, pressing together to create a compact mass. Shape the dough into a smooth, tight cylinder 6-inches long by 2-inches in diameter by rolling against the work surface with the palms of your hands and patting the ends in. Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper and twist the ends candy-roll style then tap each end upright against the work surface to flatten. Place the dough log in the refrigerator until well chilled and very firm, about 4 hours (or overnight), or in freezer for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and position rack in center.
Remove dough log from wrapping and place on a cutting board. Slice the dough into ¼-inch rounds using a sawing motion with the blade of a sharp knife while contemporarily rolling the log forward on the board to prevent crumbling. Adjust the shape of each cookie round by pressing edges with fingers.
Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet with 1-inch space between. Bake in center of hot oven for 25 to 27 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Store cookies in a glass jar or cookie tin to maintain crispness. Enjoy a few cookies dipped into a frothy cappuccino for an Italian style breakfast.