biscotti for Christmas, with white chocolate and pistachios
Recipes » Desserts » Cookies » Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Biscotti

Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Biscotti

Christmas biscotti recipes are tops on my baking list, these crunchy twice-baked cookies sweetly flavored and enjoyed plain or with chocolate.

As all of us do, I too have my favorite cookies I bake annually for the holidays. I’m sharing a cookie today that happens to be tops on my list, my best biscotti recipe. I don’t only bake it for the holidays, though 😉

biscotti cookie, with chocolate and crushed pistachios
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Break out your French press (or your chocolate pot!) and prepare a lovely but STRONG cuppa. You’ll want something steamy for dunking this particularly crunchy cookie right into!

My holiday biscotti with cranberries and pistachios recipe is entirely ‘southernized‘ with Carolina yellow cornmeal incorporated right in with the all-purpose flour. The cornmeal to me, offers that dense, sturdy texture biscotti are known for.

Other recipes typically call for almonds or wheat flour for that stability. Cornmeal is cheaper and you likely already have it in your pantry.

a bowl of cornmeal, with biscotti and a wooden cutting board

It’s a true ‘heavy lifter’ in this recipe and not so far off from many Italian biscotti methods that use farina di mais. The biscotti still get a double bake but slice easy and pretty and without too much crumble.

IF you plan to serve or gift these babies for Christmas, do them up as far as decorating in as many ways as you like. The dough is the same regardless. For the absolute tastiest results, always use the best quality ingredients you have access to.

a Santa plate, with biscotti

For my gift tins, I have dipped half my batch in melted chocolate, then dusted with finely chopped green pistachios, bright red cranberries, and orange zest. Others I then drizzled with white chocolate and crushed pistachios.

The second batch I simply took my serrated knife to and sliced. Biscotti stays fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks. And this batch…this batch is ALL FOR ME!

parchment paper on a baking sheet, with biscotti cookies lined up

Ingredients for Christmas Biscotti

for the biscotti

  • all-purpose flour
  • yellow cornmeal
  • ground ginger
  • baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • granulated sugar
  • canola oil
  • large room temperature eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • freshly zested orange
  • shelled pistachios
  • dried cranberries

optional for decorating

  • melted dark chocolate
  • melted white chocolate
  • melted milk chocolate
  • additional and finely chopped pistachios, dried cranberries, orange zest, holiday nonpareils
a biscotti cookie half dipped in milk chocolate, with drizzled white chocolate

What Tools are Needed for Baking Biscotti?

Just like all other cookies, biscotti requires the basics in terms of baking and kitchen tools. But before I mention that list, to mix the density of this dough thoroughly, I personally recommend using a stand mixer.

You may use a large bowl and a hand mixer if preferred but know up front that you will likely have to fold the pistachios and cranberries in by hand. This dough is super unforgiving in terms of stiffness.

a baking sheet, with pistachio cranberry biscottis

So, that list 😉 General tools required for baking biscotti include parchment paper, baking sheet(s), a long-serrated knife, a cutting board, and a wire rack for cooling.

If you plan to do as I have and dip in chocolate, you will also require a microwave safe bowl OR double boiler for melting the chocolate(s). I use a double boiler because I tend to work slowly, and the double boiler keeps the chocolate melted for the duration of my slow dipping.

chopped pistachios on a wood cutting board, with knives

How to Make Biscotti

Prep and Preheat

Gather and measure out all of your ingredients and have all kitchen tools at the ready. Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F and lining a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Make the Dough

In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. These are the flour, cornmeal, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and about a teaspoon (I use a smidge more) fresh zest of an orange until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and gradually add in the flour mixture. This is where you will be grateful for the stand mixer as the dough will be very stiff. Add in the pistachios and cranberries.

a stand mixer, with a bowl of biscotti dough

Shape and Bake

Flour both hands. Working directly on the prepared baking sheet, scrape the dough from the mixer bowl and onto the parchment. Shape into a 12 x 4-inch-long log that is approximately 3/4-inches thick.

Flatten the top slightly. Bake until lightly golden and the top begins to haze and crack, about 35 to 38 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven leaving the oven ON and allow the log to cool directly on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Slice and Bake Again

Remove the log carefully to a sturdy cutting board. Use a long-serrated knife to slice the log into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Place the slices cut-side-down onto the same parchment-lined baking sheet and bake again for 8 minutes before flipping and baking for another 8 minutes. the biscotti will be golden in color.

ProTip: before slicing, turn the log slightly to an angle. Begin slicing. Your biscotti will be slightly longer in length despite you still yielding the same number of cookies.

a metal pot and wooden spoon, with melted chocolate

Cool and Dip into Chocolate

Cool the biscotti directly on the baking sheet, about 45 minutes. Then remove each cookie carefully to a wire rack to harden for about an hour prior to dipping in chocolate.

Pistachio Cranberry Sprinkles

Finely chop pistachios and dried cranberries and add to a bowl. Use your fingers to toss the two together. Dip one end of a biscotti into melted chocolate allowing any excess to drip. Immediately use one hand to gently sprinkle a bit of the pistachio-cranberry mixture over the melted chocolate.

Place the cookie back on the wire rack atop a parchment-lined cookie sheet to catch the drips. Follow the pistachio-cranberry mixture with a bit of additional freshly zested orange. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or storing.

biscotti, with chopped pistachios and cranberries

White Chocolate Drizzle

After dipping the biscotti into the milk or dark chocolate, melt white chocolate and use a teaspoon to drizzle back and forth. You can also omit the milk or dark chocolate altogether and use strictly white.

Place the cookie back on the wire rack atop a parchment-lined cookie sheet to catch the drips. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or storing. Garnish your chocolate drizzled biscotti with finely chopped pistachios while chocolate is still soft if desired.

a biscotti cookie, with white chocolate and pistachios

FAQs & Tips

What is the Secret to Making Biscotti?

The secret to a good biscotti has to do with the double bake! These hard cookies attain their texture during the first bake. The second bake solidifies their crunchy bite. Allowing them to cool slowly directly on the baking sheets ensures they’re thoroughly hardened.

How to Cut Biscotti Without Breaking

The knife you select for this task MATTERS. Use a long, serrated knife with a back-and-forth motion while applying VERY LITTLE PRESSURE on the knife. Yes, it will take a hot minute to slice each biscotti, but the finished cookies are gorgeous and look like they’ve been factory-sliced.

Can You Freeze Biscotti?

Absolutely! Lay the biscotti back on the baking sheet and pop the whole thing into the freezer for about an hour. Make sure no biscotti are touching one another. Once frozen, transfer to air-tight containers. Frozen, biscotti will last up to three months. To thaw, pull from the freezer and defrost at room temperature for several hours.

biscotti for Christmas, with white chocolate and pistachios

Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Biscotti

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
Christmas biscotti recipes are tops on my baking list, these crunchy twice-baked cookies sweetly flavored and enjoyed plain or with chocolate.
5 from 3 votes
Servings: 12 biscotti
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
cooling time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 12 biscotti
Calories 266 kcal

Equipment

  • parchment paper
  • large rimmed baking sheet
  • long, serrated knife
  • cutting board
  • wire rack
  • double boiler for melting chocolate

Ingredients
 

for the biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest freshly grated; more to taste
  • 1/2 cup pistachios shelled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

garnish and decoration

  • milk chocolate melted
  • dark chocolate melted
  • white chocolate melted
  • pistachios finely chopped
  • dried cranberries finely chopped
  • orange zest
  • colorful holiday nonpareils

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and about a teaspoon (or slightly more to taste by about 1 teaspoon, if desired) fresh zest of an orange until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and gradually add in the flour mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Add in the pistachios and cranberries.
  • Flour both hands. Working directly on the prepared baking sheet, scrape the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape into a 12 x 4-inch-long log that is approximately 3/4-inches thick. Flatten the top slightly. ProTip: I place a wooden ruler directly on my baking sheet so that my biscotti log is "accurate" versus "approximate." This matters so I get the correct number of biscotti and that they are the correct width. Thinner than 1/2-inch and they are prone to breaking.
  • Bake until lightly golden and the top begins to haze and crack, about 35 to 38 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven leaving the oven ON and allow the log to cool directly on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the log carefully to a sturdy cutting board. Use a long-serrated knife to slice the log into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Place the slices cut-side-down onto the same parchment-lined baking sheet and bake again for 8 minutes before flipping and baking for another 8 minutes. the biscotti will be golden in color. ProTip: before slicing, turn the log slightly to an angle. Begin slicing. Your biscotti will be slightly longer in length despite you still yielding the same number of cookies.
  • Cool the biscotti directly on the baking sheet, about 45 minutes. Then remove each cookie carefully to a wire rack to harden for about an hour prior to dipping in chocolate.

for pistachio cranberry 'sprinkles'

  • Finely chop pistachios and dried cranberries and add to a bowl. Use your fingers to toss the two together. Dip one end of a biscotti into melted chocolate allowing any excess to drip. Immediately use one hand to gently sprinkle a bit of the pistachio-cranberry mixture over the melted chocolate.
  • Place the cookie back on the wire rack atop a parchment-lined cookie sheet to catch the drips. Follow the pistachio-cranberry mixture with a bit of additional freshly zested orange. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or storing.

for white chocolate 'drizzle'

  • After dipping the biscotti into the milk or dark chocolate, melt white chocolate and use a teaspoon to drizzle back and forth. You can also omit the milk or dark chocolate altogether and use strictly white. Place the cookie back on the wire rack atop a parchment-lined cookie sheet to catch the drips. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or storing. Garnish biscotti with finely chopped pistachios while chocolate is still soft if desired.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Pistachios are Sold Salted and Unsalted; I do not specify which to purchase because I have used both to fabulous results in this recipe. The dried cranberries are sweet enough to sustain a salted nut. The unsalted are the traditional specified ingredient. Just be sure to buy ‘shelled’ versus having to shell them yourself.
Biscotti’s hard, crunchy texture is due to the double bake. Do not skip the second bake. Do not skip turning halfway through the second bake. Allow the biscotti to cool directly on the baking sheet ensuring it will harden thoroughly. 
To Cut Biscotti Without It Breaking use a long, serrated knife. Use a back-and-forth motion while applying VERY LITTLE PRESSURE on the knife. Yes, it will take a hot minute to slice each biscotti, but the finished cookies are gorgeous and look like they’ve been factory-sliced.
Wait Until Biscotti are Completely Cool before dipping into chocolate.
To Freeze lay the biscotti back on the baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour. Make sure no biscotti are touching one another. Once frozen, transfer to air-tight containers. Frozen, biscotti will last up to three months. To thaw, pull from the freezer and defrost at room temperature for several hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1biscottiCalories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 116mgFiber: 2gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 67IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg
Keyword biscotti, Christmas, cookies
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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10 Comments

    1. Nicolle! So happy to get a message from you, and I really hope your holidays are off to the best start EVER! I jst added your link to my spreadsheet! Thank you for the invitation to participate 🙂 Jenny

    1. Jen! I posted in the link party today just by happenstance, so I am glad now that I did! Thank you for telling me this, and I do help you’ll let me know how you enjoy them! Merry Christmas 🙂 x – Jenny

  1. Oh my Jenny, these look amazing. I would not want to share with anyone. I am excited to try making these next week. Thank you for linking up with us at the Home Imagined link party. Have a great week and Merry Christmas.

    1. Do you know how happy I am that I linked up with y’all? Thank you for hosting a fabulous page and party 🙂 Jenny

    1. Tammy, why thank you! I am currently baking batch number three, promised to my dad who is my biggest fan when it comes to my biscotti! Merry Christmas, Tammy! x – Jenny