This cranberry orange biscotti recipe is simply irresistible. Featuring crisp edges with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, fresh cranberries and a delightful pop of fresh orange flavor, these classic Italian cookies are perfect for dunking in tea or coffee and a wonderful addition to your holiday cookie baking.
I made these cranberry biscotti the first year I started this site. My mom was over at my house decorating for me because I was being a scrooge and hate the process of holiday decorating but love the end result. So I baked biscotti while she adorned my tree.
Biscotti have been an essential holiday cookie my entire life. We’re Italian after-all so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Things like buckeyes and fudge are as foreign to me in a Christmas dessert spread as biscotti probably is to any American.
But instead of the normal plain anise flavored biscotti my mom always makes, I decided to get festive and throw cranberries and orange into the mix. The result is a biscotti recipe fit for the holidays with pops of fresh tart cranberry, bright orange flavor and crunchy almond slices in every bite.
The combination of cranberry and orange is classic, and while you can make these cookie bites, these thumbprints or this festive cranberry orange bread with the same flavors, this biscotti recipe is truly the perfect holiday cookie.
What does biscotti mean?
Biscotti, also known as cantucci, are Italian biscuits originating in Tuscany. The word biscotti literally translates to twice baked, a reflection of how the cookies are made.
The classic method for making biscotti is to bake the cookies first in a long log shape then slice them and bake them again for a second time. The process may sound complicated or intimidating but it’s not at all.
Traditionally, biscotti are dunked and enjoyed with Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine. However, they’re often enjoyed with cups of tea or coffee as well.
Ingredients to make cranberry orange biscotti
- Orange zest
- Vanilla and almond extract
- Baking powder
- Sliced almonds
Flour — A combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour is used in this cranberry biscotti recipe but you easily use entirely all-purpose flour or even swap for a gluten-free flour blend if preferred.
Cranberries — Oftentimes, cranberry biscotti recipes use dried cranberries. I really prefer fresh cranberries for the bright tart pop they offer the cookie. Dried cranberries are typically sweetened and don’t have the same lovely contrast with the orange zest. If substituting dried cranberries in this recipe, try to find an unsweetened brand.
How to make cranberry orange biscotti
Add the butter, sugar and eggs to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until creamed and fluffy. Add the orange zest and the extracts and beat again until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix together with a spatula until just combined.
Gently fold in the cranberries and almond slices until incorporated throughout the biscotti dough. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log shape about 12 inches long by 2 inches wide and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and carefully slice each log on the diagonal to form the biscotti slices. Lay each slice down on its side on the baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for another 8-10 minutes until the edges of the biscotti start to turn a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving or storing.
My Pro Tip
Allowing the biscotti to cool completely is what will help develop the signature crunchy texture the cookie is known for.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- With bright orange zest, tart cranberries and nutty almonds — the flavor in these biscotti is off the charts!
- Using fresh cranberries keeps the sweetness level in check making these perfect for breakfast, snacking or dessert.
- If you’ve tried store-bought biscotti and weren’t a fan of their rock-hard texture, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this recipe. Homemade cranberry orange biscotti feature a crispy exterior with a softer, tender middle that’s cookie perfection!
- Biscotti like this make an excellent edible holiday gift. Wrap them up with a bow and give out to teachers, neighbors, friends and family. Sugar plums are a great homemade food gift too.
Is biscotti better with butter or oil?
There’s no one “right” way to make biscotti. Some recipes call for eggs, others don’t. Some use butter, others oil — like these chocolate rosemary raisin biscotti.
Biscotti that use butter or oil will have a shorter shelf life than the recipes that just call for eggs but they’ll also be softer in texture which is typically more pleasing to most people.
Do I need to chill biscotti dough?
This biscotti dough is sticky. It will be tacky and a bit difficult to handle after it’s been mixed. Chilling the dough makes it much easier to shape into the biscotti log for the first bake.
The dough can be chilled for a longer period of time than one hour if needed. In fact, you can prep the recipe up to this point and bake the biscotti off later. This is a great method to use for holiday baking so you don’t overwhelm yourself with too much in one day.
Tips & tricks for the best cranberry biscotti
- After the first bake, let the biscotti log rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Letting the cookie log rest and cool before cutting the biscotti helps keep the cookies from crumbling.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the biscotti ensuring clean cuts. A dull knife will also make the cookies crumble.
- If you prefer crunchier cookies, let them bake a little longer on the second bake. They’re a forgiving cookie just keep an eye out to make sure they don’t burn.
How to store the biscotti
Biscotti will keep on the counter in a tin or air-tight container for up to 1-2 weeks. They can also be frozen after baking and freeze well in an airtight container for up to a few months. Thaw to room temperature before eating.
More cookies like this to try
Thumbprint cookies are a classic but these vegan thumbprints may be my favorite recipe of all time. They’re buttery and soft with the perfect jammy center.
Orange infused cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies may be a mouthful but they’re a wonderful holiday flavored cookie as well. Combining a traditional chocolate chip cookie vibe with cranberries, orange and almonds, these cookies are incredibly festive in flavor.
If you love the fresh cranberries in this biscotti recipe, you’ll probably love cranberry chocolate chip cookies too. Gooey chocolate pockets combine with bright tart cranberries in every bite. They’re a must make for the season! Both of these cookies make an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu.
Cranberry Orange Biscotti
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs and orange zest together with a handheld mixer.
- Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix again until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.
- Carefully fold in the cranberries and almonds and form the dough into a ball — it will be a relatively sticky dough.
- Wrap the biscotti dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Once refrigerated, preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cut the dough into four even sections and roll out into a log shape approximately 12"x2" and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and carefully slice the logs on the diagonal. Lay each slice on its side.
- Bake again for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown on the edges.
- Remove from oven and let the biscotti cool completely.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.