Biscotti are crunchy oblong-shaped biscuits that are perfect food gifts for the holidays and special occasions because they keep so well.
This festive version contains dried cranberries and pistachios (red and green!) with hints of Christmassy almond and orange.
“Biscotti” quite literally translates to “twice-baked.” These biscuits are first baked at a higher temperature in a single log. Afterwards, they’re sliced into individual biscuits, then baked once again at a lower temperature to dry them out and make them crunchy.
Historically, this dual-baking method kept the biscotti fresher for longer, especially important for long journeys undertaken by travellers and warring armies.
I originally sourced this recipe from allrecipes.com, but I’ve added some orange zest for more flavour, as well as a touch more flour to help make shaping the logs more manageable. I also wasn’t too keen on the flavour of olive oil in my biscotti, so I’ve substituted it with vegetable oil for a more neutral taste.
If you’re not able to find shelled pistachios like I was, you’ll have to shell the pistachios before starting on the recipe. It’s not the most exciting task to perform, but fortunately it doesn’t take too long.
If you’re using unsalted pistachios, be sure to add a pinch of salt to your batter.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
150g white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp orange zest or 1/2 tsp orange essence (opt.)
240g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g dried cranberries
200g salted and roasted pistachios, shelled
Makes about 30 biscottis.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Line a sheet tray with baking paper. On the baking paper, trace out two 2″x12″ rectangles in pencil. These will help you to shape the biscotti batter. Don’t forget to flip the paper over. (Your pencil markings should still be visible.)
Step 2: Beat the oil and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, the orange zest, and the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to get a sticky, loose batter.
Step 3: Spoon the batter evenly into the two rectangles you marked out earlier. With a spoon or spatula dipped in water, shape the edges as best as you can.
There’s no need to be too precise because the batter is quite runny, and the biscotti logs will spread in the oven anyway. Bake the logs in the oven for 35 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the logs from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Reduce your oven temperature to 135°C (275°F).
Step 5: The logs should be cooked but quite soft, almost bread-like, and nicely browned around the edges.
With a sharp knife, cut the logs into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange them back on the lined sheet tray cut-side up.
Step 6: Bake for at least 10 minutes, then flip the biscotti over and bake for the same length of time. If you’d like your biscotti to be harder/crunchier, just leave them in the oven for longer. (I left mine in the oven for up to 20 minutes on each side.)
Because these biscuits are so hardy, I’m able to pack them in clear plastic bags rather than boxes when I give them as gifts. They’re also great to serve at the end of a dinner party, to be dunked in coffee or sweet dessert wines.