Classic cranberry biscotti, flecked with plump and juicy cranberries, vibrant pistachio nuts and fragrant orange zest and amaretto liqueur. These easy biscotti cookies are not overly sweet and are ideal for dunking in a cup of tea or coffee, but are equally delicious on their own.
With their characteristic crunch and a perfect blend of sweet and tart flavour of dried cranberries, these traditional Italian biscotti are enriched with fresh orange and dash of amaretto, both of which bring out refreshing orange and distinct almond flavour.
My orange cranberry biscotti make a fantastic all-year-round cookie, but they are especially good for the holidays season. With combination of cranberries, nuts, bright orange and warming nutmeg, they make perfect christmas biscotti, and delicious gifts for friends and family. Together with my Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies and Danish Butter Cookies, they will make a tasty addition to your festive cookie boxes!
This recipe is the latest addition to my cookie recipes collection, and is very similar to my popular Lemon Pistachio Biscotti. Just like the lemon version, these cranberry biscotti are big on flavour and low on effort.
One of the best things about this recipe, is that it calls for only very few, and very basic ingredients. Biscotti recipes are also very easily adaptable, and allow you to substitute the ingredients and create your own versions and flavours of the cookies.
💭Hint: This cranberry orange biscotti recipe does not contain any added fat like butter or olive oil. While some recipes out there do call for addition of butter or olive oil, the traditional method does not include fat. There's nothing wrong with adding one or the other, just keep in mind that if you add fat to the dough, the texture will be softer and the biscotti will have a shorter shelf-life.
See below for notes on the ingredients and their alternatives.
- Sugar - You can use white caster sugar or granulated sugar.
- Egg - One large egg at room temperature.
- Orange zest - Finely grated orange zest to create lovely, bright and fresh flavour of citrus. You can also use lemon zest instead.
- Amaretto - This amber-coloured liqueur with almond taste adds another layer to the flavour profile. You can skip it, or use vanilla or almond extract instead (1 teaspoon will be enough).
- Flour - Use plain, all purpose flour.
- Baking powder - Just a little baking powder to create lift in the cookie dough.
- Nutmeg - I like fresh nutmeg, as it's warming flavour is stronger and more fragrant than the ground version. You will need less nutmeg if using fresh one, roughly about ¼ teaspoon.
- Cranberries - Dried cranberries are one of the key ingredients and flavours in this cranberry almond biscotti recipe. They combine sweet and sharp tasting notes, and work beautifully with fragrant citrus. I like Whitworths or Ocean Spray craisins, as they are plump and juicy.
- Pistachio nuts - Pistachios add lovely, nutty flavour and extra texture to these biscotti, and I just love that vibrant green colour pop. You can skip them, or use whole almonds instead.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe card and the full list of the ingredients.
The making of these easy biscotti with pistachios and cranberries involves two stages: preparing and baking the dough, then slicing and baking it for a second time. As the biscuit gets twice-baked, it dries out the moisture, resulting in that signature crunch and texture.
The dough comes together in minutes, and all you need is just one mixing bowl.
Whip the egg and the sugar until pale and thickened. The mixture should leave a ribbon-like trail when you lift the beater / whisk. Beat in the orange zest and amaretto (or almond extract).
Fold the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, nutmeg, then add cranberries and pistachio nuts.
💭Tip: If the dough feels too sticky to handle and shape, use more flour. Make sure to flour the worksurface well, and use plenty of flour on your hands. You can also shape the dough using a dough scraper, directly on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or place it in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
Shape the dough into a flat oval / loaf. Transfer on to the lined baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.
Bake the biscotti for 25-30 minutes, or until pale brown in colour. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature.
Cut the biscotti diagonally into 2cm (¾-inch) slices. Place on the baking sheet and bake again for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
💭Tip: If you like your orange cranberry biscotti to be on a softer side, simply reduce baking time during the second bake to 8-10 minutes. If you like them to be drier and crispier, add few more minutes to their baking time.
Biscotti are incredibly versatile and very easy to customise with your own selection of fruit, nuts, chocolates, spices and extracts or liqueur flavours.
- Use different dried fruit and nuts - If cranberry and pistachio biscotti is not to your liking, try swapping cranberries for dried cherries, apricots or any type of your favourite dried fruit. Use hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or macadamia nuts in place of pistachios.
- Chocolate biscotti - You can substitute part of flour with cocoa powder (2 tablespoons), and add a handful of chocolate chips to turn this recipe into chocolate chip biscotti.
- Different spices and extracts - Try cinnamon, ginger, cardamom or a combination of your favourite spices. Adding vanilla extract, lemon, orange or coffee extracts are also great ways to enhance and change the flavours.
- Gluten free biscotti - Use almond flour instead of all purpose flour for gluten free cranberry biscotti.
Dipping the biscotti in some melted chocolate is also a great way to add variety to them. You can use dark, milk or white chocolate to dip the cookies in. Or use melted chocolate to drizzle it over the biscotti.
Another idea is to use a simple lemon or orange icing. Combine 120 grams of icing sugar (powdered sugar) with 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice and drizzle on top of your biscotti.
One of the great things about these easy cranberry biscotti is that they will last for at least 2 weeks at room temperature. The classic double-baking method gives the cookies prolonged shelf-life.
Store them in a cookie jar or an airtight container, and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee (or your favourite liqueur).
They also freeze well for up to 3 months. To freeze, allow the biscotti to cool completely, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet or a large plate. Freeze them first, then transfer to sealed container or freezer bag.
- Use plenty of flour. Biscotti dough can be a bit sticky and wet to the touch. Don't be afraid to use plenty of flour on the worksurface and on your hands. Sometimes it helps to place the dough in the fridge for 30-40 minutes, as this will cool it and firm it up a bit, making it easier to handle.
- Shape directly on the baking sheet. If the dough still feels too sticky to work with, try placing it directly on to the lined baking sheet / cookie sheet and shape it using a dough scraper (or your hands).
- Allow the bake to cool. After the first bake, allow these cranberry biscotti to cool for at least 10-15 minutes. If you try to slice it too soon, they will crumble, if you leave it too long, they may become too hard to cut.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it can. This recipe will make 12 biscotti, but you can easily double or triple this recipe and make a bigger batch.
No. Using an electric mixer makes whisking the egg and sugar much easier and quicker, but this cranberry pistachio biscotti recipe can also be made by hand.
If you try to slice the biscotti too soon after their first bake, they will crumble and may fall apart. Allow 10-15 minutes of cooling time, then cut them using large, sharp bread knife. Also, do not let them cool for too long, as then they may become too hard and will also crumble when sliced.
I haven't tried this recipe with fresh cranberries, but there is no reason why it wouldn't work. I would recommend using 100 grams of fresh cranberries, and chopping them finely, before adding to the biscotti dough. Dried cranberry biscotti will be sweeter, due to higher sugar content in the fruit, so you may also add an extra tablespoon or two of sugar, if using fresh.
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- hand-held electric mixer or whisk
- large mixing bowl
- large baking tray
- baking paper
- large serrated knife
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 80 g caster or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest finely grated
- 2 tablespoon amaretto liqueur optional
- 130 g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated or ground
- 75 g dried cranberries
- 50 g pistachio nuts
- Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) or 160°C fan. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.
- Whisk the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar until pale and almost double in volume, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest and amaretto (if using), and whisk again to combine.1 large egg, 80 g caster or granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 2 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- Fold in dry ingredients. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and nutmeg, then add dried cranberries and pistachio nuts and fold again, until evenly distributed. Flour the work surface and your hands well. The mixture may feel a bit sticky, so it's easier to handle and shape biscotti dough with plenty of flour. Alternatively, you can place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, to make it easier to handle.130 g plain flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, 75 g dried cranberries, 50 g pistachio nuts
- Shape the dough. Transfer the dough into floured surface, and gently knead it couple of times, then shape it into flat and oval log, roughly about 25 x 5 cm. Place the biscotti dough on to the lined baking tray and re-shape again, if necessary.
- Bake biscotti. Bake the biscotti for 20-25 minutes, or until it's a pale brown colour. I like to rotate my baking sheet half way through to ensure even bake. Remove biscotti from the oven and set aside for 5-10, allowing the bake to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 135°C (275°F).
- Slice and bake again. Using a large serrated knife, cut the baked loaf diagonally into slices about 2 cm thick (¾- inch). Place the slices back on to the baking sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until dry and crisp, turning them half way through. The cookies should still be slightly softer in the centre, but will harden as they cool.If you prefer harder biscotti that are more dry in texture, add 5-10 extra minutes to the baking time.
- Cool and enjoy. Allow the biscotti to cool completely. Once cooled, you can dip them in melted chocolate or add chocolate drizzle or your favourite icing drizzle.
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- Use plenty of flour. As the biscotti dough can be sticky and wet, don't be afraid to use plenty of flour on your worksurface and on your hands. Placing the dough in the fridge for 30-40 minutes will also make it easier to shape and work with.
- If the dough is still too sticky to handle, try shaping it directly on the baking sheet. Using the dough scraper can also be very helpful.
- Allow the biscotti to cool for at least 10 minutes after their first bake. If you try slicing it too soon, the biscotti will crumble and fall apart.
This recipe was originally published in December 2016. It has been updated with new photos, revised recipe and tips in October 2023.