Cranberry Orange Pistachio Biscotti
If you’ve been around here for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a HUGE fan of cranberries and oranges as a flavour combo.
I have a few candy recipes:
I’ve always made my cranberry sauce with orange (sub OJ for the water, add zest!), but I also make Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce sometimes.
Finally, there’s the Cranberry Clementine Wine, which is the *best* holiday wine!
Cranberry Orange Pistachio Biscotti
While cranberries and orange are fantastic together, the addition of pistachios brings it to another level!
I’m honestly surprised that my Festive Easy Fudge is currently the only instance of it on my blog.
I should probably photograph my muffin recipe at some point...
The three flavours go together SO well in biscotti.
This was actually the first biscotti recipe I ever developed, and it’s a nice, festive one! The flavours and colours are perfect for the holiday season.
These are SUPER easy to make - the recipe is at the end of this post - but there ARE a few things to go over that will make the whole process go smoothly.
Also, you know, some general education type stuff, to appease the Google keyword overlords.
After all this work, I do want people to be able to find the post, after all!
What are Biscotti?
Biscotti is a traditional Italian cookie that’s been around for a couple hundred years.
It’s a sticky dough baked in loaves, then sliced up and baked a second time. This yields a very dry, crunchy cookie.
Biscotti is generally served with a beverage, with the intent of it being a cookie to dunk in the beverage.
In Italy, this is typically a fortified wine, served after dinner.
In North America, it’s more of a “with afternoon coffee” thing, though you can really eat them anytime.
In its original form, biscotti was just flour, sugar, eggs and nuts - with no yeast, other leavening agents, or fat.
These days, biscotti recipes can go in different directions, with leaveners, fat, and all/or kinds of other additions added to them. (Though generally not yeast!)
I like to make them fairly close to the traditional base ingredients - with no butter or oil added - but with the addition of baking powder and baking soda as leaveners.
... and all kinds of fruits, nuts, spices, etc. The sky really is the limit now!
How do you Make Biscotti?
Making biscotti the traditional way is SUPER easy.
You have a bowl of the dry ingredients, and a bowl of eggs and sugar that you’ve beaten together. Mix them together - you can do this by hand! - form them into loaves, and bake.
Then you just slice them up into fingers and bake again - simple!
How do You Serve Biscotti?
As these are made the traditional way - as a VERY dry, crunchy cookie - you definitely want to serve this alongside a beverage to dunk it in!
Try it with coffee, hot chocolate, tea, or hot apple cider.
Or, you know, with fortified wine - as the Italians do!
How Long Does Biscotti Last?
Due to its ingredients and dry finish, biscotti has a much longer shelf life than most cookies.
When kept in an airtight container, expect your biscotti to stay fresh for about 2 weeks.
Note: It doesn’t *spoil* after this, it will just go stale.
Alternately, you can put your (FULLY COOLED!) Biscotti into a freezer bag, suck most of the air out, and freeze it for a few months, if needed.
How to Freeze Biscotti
There are two ways to freeze biscotti:
- Freeze the finished biscotti
- Freeze the biscotti after the first baking / slicing.
Either way, when you’re taking the biscotti out of the freezer:
- If you froze biscotti after the first bake, just proceed with the second bake after they’ve fully thawed.
- If you froze fully cooked biscotti, you can eat them after they’ve thawed, or you can re-toast them.
To re-toast them - really more of a drying than a toasting - arrange them standing up on a baking sheet, rather than on a side.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or so, at 225 F.
Tips for Making this Cranberry Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
Biscotti may be very easy to make in general, but there are a few things you can do to ensure it goes smoothly:
- The dough will look kind of scraggly after you mix it together; it really does benefit from a LIGHT kneading.
Don’t over-handle it, though - you don’t want to develop the gluten in the same way you do when making bread or pasta.
I like to wear Nitrile Gloves when kneading it / transferring to the pan / forming the loaves.
- Know that the dough is supposed to be sticky once it’s been kneaded together. Don’t add more flour!
- While parchment paper is generally nonstick, this dough WILL stick to it.
If you spray the parchment in your pan before putting the dough on it, you’ll have an easier time forming the loaves.
While pan spray is best for the parchment, wet hands work better for forming the dough than oiled hands do.
I’ll run my (gloved) hands under the tap, shake them off well, and then form the loaves.
How you form the loaves affects the final shape.
If you like long, narrow biscotti, aim for a relatively even thickness when forming your loaves.
If you like more of a curved top to your biscotti, form the loaf so it’s mounded up a bit more in the middle, along the length of the loaf.
Know that the biscotti with get a LOT harder and drier as they cool.
Don’t expect / wait for full hardness when you take them out of the oven after the toasting - if you do, you’ll end up with burnt biscotti in the end.
Mini Cranberry Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
Instead of dividing the dough into 2 loaves, divide it into 4 loaves.
When forming them, keep them the same length as you would have, so you have 2 long skinny loaves.
These will require much less in the way of cooking time, so check for doneness at 12 minutes, and bake longer if needed.
Keep an eye on it!
This recipe is for traditional style, VERY crunchy biscotti.
If you’d like softer biscotti, there are two ways you can do this:
The Easy Way
When toasting your sliced biscotti, do 5 minutes per side, rather than 15.
Decrease the eggs by 1.
When starting, instead of mixing the eggs with the sugar, beat the sugar with ¼ cup softened butter, until fluffy.
THEN add the eggs in, and continue with the rest of the recipe.
When doing it this way, let the baked loaves cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Sugar Topped Biscotti
You can sprinkle coarse sugar - or coloured sugar - on top of the unbaked loaves, for extra crunch / texture / a pretty finish.
Be sure to pat down slightly on the sugar before baking.
Biscotti - especially holiday themed versions like this recipe - make great holiday gifts!
Not only do they have a great shelf life - and are pretty durable! - they can look really pretty in the packages.
I like to buy long, thin clear plastic baggies, and package 1 biscotti per bag.
Then I tie it off and arrange a selection of these individually packaged biscotti in a gift bag with some tissue paper.
One nice thing about biscotti being so easy to make, is that you can make several varieties at once, and mix / match them for variety packages to gift!
I can make 4-5 batches in a morning, easily. I just make a batch, get it in the oven, and make the next batch while that’s baking.
When the first batch is done, I take it out of the oven, and put the second batch in.
While the second batch is cooking, I slice up the first batch and put it aside, then make the 3rd batch of dough.
I’ll continue this way until all of them have had the first cooking / slicing.
Then I turn the oven down and do the second bake for all of them, in batches.
More Holiday Themed Biscotti
Want to gift a variety of biscotti? Here are a few more recipes!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Pistachio Biscotti
Full recipe follows - bottom of this post - but here's the pictorial overview:
Preheat oven to 350F, Line a large baking sheets with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, pistachios, dried cranberries, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, orange juice, zest, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, stir to combine.
Divide dough in half, form into 2 long, wide loaves on the prepared pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 250F.
Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes.
Cutting on a slight diagonal, slice each loaf into ½" slices.
Arrange slices on the pans.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip each piece over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until desired texture.
Remove from oven, allow to fully cool.
Whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. If too thick to drizzle, microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring until runny.
Drizzle over cooled biscotti.
Allow glaze to fully harden before transferring biscotti to an airtight container.
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Cranberry Orange Pistachio Biscotti
- 2 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- ¾ cup Pistachios
- ½ cup Dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¾ cup Granulated sugar
- ¼ cup Brown sugar packed
- 3 Large eggs
- 3 tablespoon Fresh orange juice
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup Powdered/Icing/Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Melted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon Orange juice
- Pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350F, Line a large baking sheets with parchment paper, spray with pan spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, pistachios, dried cranberries, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, orange juice, zest, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Pour into the bowl with the dry mixture, stir to combine.
- Divide dough in half, form into 2 long, wide loaves on the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Remove from oven, turn heat down to 250F.
- Allow loaves to cool for 5 minutes.
- Cutting on a slight diagonal, slice each loaf into ½" slices.
- Arrange slices on the pans. Bake for 15 minutes, flip each piece over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until desired texture.
- Remove from oven, allow to fully cool.
- Whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. If too thick to drizzle, microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring until runny.
- Drizzle over cooled biscotti. Allow glaze to fully harden before transferring biscotti to an airtight container.