Compared to other holiday cookies, cranberry pistachio biscotti (or rather any biscotti) is my preferred dessert. Why? Because of the unbelievable combination of flavors. The biscotti are bright from the lemon, magnificent from the cranberry, and phenomenal from the pistachios.
The chewy yet crunchy dessert begs for a cup of coffee or tea. And if you’re not feeling the cranberry or pistachio, pack the biscotti with your preferred flavor: chocolate, another nut, mocha, or more. The recipe remains the same.
What is biscotti?
Biscotti are Italian biscuits. They take their name from the Latin word ‘biscoctus.’ When translated to English, it means twice-cooked, and that’s what we do in the recipe. We bake the dough two times, first as a log and then as sliced biscotti. This gives them a firm, crunchy texture and a shelf life that lasts a long time.
Making biscotti needs no special skills. The recipe is rather forgiving, something I learned while baking my mocha gingerbread biscotti three years back.
However, it will take time, if it’s warm in your corner of the world. Because it’s cold here, I don’t need to refrigerate the dough to firm it up. My recipe is straightforward: combine, shape, bake, cut, and bake again.
- Start by making two flax eggs (or beating eggs, your choice) and setting them aside for at least 10 minutes.
- In a new bowl, sift all-purpose flour with baking powder.
- Separately, beat raw sugar with butter until it's fluffy, light, and pale yellow.
- The flax egg should be thick and goopy by now; whisk it into the beaten mixture along with vanilla extract, pure lemon oil, and the zest of one whole lemon.
- When everything is well combined, use your wooden spatula to fold in the dry ingredients.
- Stir in chopped cranberries and pistachios.
Bake biscotti logs
- Once all the ingredients are mixed, you’ll have a soft, pliable dough (my biscotti dough is not sticky).
- If the dough doesn’t form, lightly flour your hands and bring it together.
- Cut the dough in half and then shape each half into a flattened log.
- Place the logs, spaced apart, on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Bake the logs for 25 to 30 minutes till firm and golden.
- Let the baked logs cool completely. This is essential. Warm-baked logs are crumbly, and when you slice into them, they break. I always save the crumbly bits and bake them along with the biscotti. They’re delicious, so why throw them?
- Cut cooled logs in half-inch-thick slices.
Double bake the cranberry pistachio biscotti
- Place each slice on the baking tray, making sure the cut side faces down.
- Bake a second time until the biscotti are crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer to a rack and let them cool completely before you serve or store.
Personally, I love to see the green and red peeping from the biscotti sides. So, I don’t think they need any additional garnishing. The light, crunchy, and tart biscotti are ready for dunking.
But if you’re baking these especially for the holidays, or for Christmas gifting, make them more festive:
- Dip half of each biscotto in melted white chocolate.
- Sprinkle chopped cranberries and pistachios.
What is the best way to store biscotti?
Biscotti have an epic shelf life. They’ll last well for almost a month, making them the best holiday cookie to make ahead. Keep them in an air-tight jar.
Eggs: I used flax eggs, but if all you have in the pantry are regular eggs, then by all means use them. Include what is easy for you; the biscotti will be crispy and buttery with both.
Flour: Try whole-wheat or half-and-half of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. Adding a portion of almond flour, about 1/4th cup, will give the biscotti a nutty flavor.
Vegan: I’m not sure coconut oil will suit the crispy texture of the recipe, so stick to plant-based butter.
Revel in all sorts of biscotti variations
The basic biscotti recipe is like a blank canvas; you can add, remove, or swap any of the ingredients. Pander to your taste and palate.
Oil and zest: Pure lemon oil is optional, but you do not want to miss the zest. This recipe is a testament to what a lemon can do. It shines an incredibly fantastic flavor, making the biscotti more aromatic.
When you open the oven, the heady, citrusy aroma enlivens the entire house. If you couldn’t tell, I really recommend not skipping the lemon zest. In its place, you can add orange zest.
Cranberries: Figs or dried cherries are brilliant replacements. Raisins are another option, but for me, they do change the flavor profile.
Pistachios: Almonds, cashews, or pecans all make excellent nut substitutions.
White chocolate: I’m not a fan of white chocolate. Give me dark, and I’m happy as a clamp. But even I have to accept that white chocolate chips make the flavor heavenly and lend decadence. Just make sure it’s good quality baking chocolate.
Give these cranberry pistachio biscotti a shot. They’re:
Ideal to wrap as a gift
Wonderful for add-ins
Fabulous for the Holidays
Scalable, halve or double the recipe
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt If using unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Raw sugar
- 2 Flax eggs or 2 eggs 2 flax eggs= 2 tbsp flax meal + 6 tbsp water
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3-4 drops Pure lemon oil (optional)
- 1/3 cup Dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/3 cup Pistachios, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with Silpat or parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt ( only if your butter is unsalted) in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs. Beat well.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon oil, if using.
- Stir in the flour mixture. Mix well with a spatula. You may need to use your hands to bring the dough together.
- Mix in the cranberries and pistachios. Make sure they are equally distributed through the dough.
- Divide dough in half. Form the dough into two slightly flattened logs on the prepared baking sheet, approximately 12-inches long and 2.5-inches wide.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until slightly firm to touch. and light golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let the logs cool completely.
- Cut the cooled logs into 1/2” slices. Place cut side down on the baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Wait for 3-4 minutes before taking them off the baking tray. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container.