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This festive Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti dipped in creamy white chocolate is perfect for the holidays, and it has a delicate vanilla cookie flavor you are going to adore.
The dried cranberries and pistachios pair deliciously in this twice-baked cookie recipe. However, three more delicious flavor swaps may better suit your taste: Chocolate Chip Pistachio Biscotti, Orange Pistachio Biscotti, and Cherry Almond Biscotti.
I made this delicious recipe for the first time a few years back. Since then, it has been so popular with my family that I’ve been making it year after year.
The biscotti dough is easy to prepare and super customizable. Simply swap an ingredient or two to make the recipe to your preference!
The only downside to this recipe is that the irresistible Italian cookies won’t stay around for that long — they tend to disappear quickly. Well, that’s always the case around my house! But that’s not really a bad thing, now, is it? I don’t think so!
After making homemade biscotti, you’ll likely crave more delicious recipes! Check out my Cherry Biscotti Recipe, Fig and Walnut Biscotti with Dark Chocolate, or this Espresso Chocolate Chip Biscotti recipe. – YUM!
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti are perfect for holiday gifting. Not only do these Italian cookies look festive and taste delicious, but they also hold up well for shipping.
They will stay fresh for up to a couple of weeks, giving you plenty of time to send them before they become stale. Wrap the biscotti in tissue paper or something similar and place them in a holiday gift box. Tie it with a ribbon and send it off to your loved ones!
It’s also an excellent treat to give to teachers, friendly neighbors, co-workers, or anyone else you’d like to show appreciation to.
Biscotti is known for being a more advanced baked treat. However, this recipe will show you just how easy it can be to make the perfect homemade biscotti.
Key ingredients & substitutions for White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
- Flour | All-purpose flour gives the biscotti structure, helping combine the rest of the ingredients and hold the seasonal flavors.
- Baking powder | Baking powder gives the final cookie an airy and crunchy texture, helping it to rise while baking.
- Sugar | Make the recipe sweet by pouring in some granulated sugar.
- Butter | Unsalted butter gives the biscotti recipe a sweet cream flavor. Avoid using salted butter, so you have complete control over the salt content in these Italian cookies.
- Lemon zest | Freshly grated lemon zest helps enhance the recipe’s sugary flavors. For the three flavor variations of this recipe, use orange zest instead of lemon zest.
- Salt | Sprinkle in a pinch of salt to bring out the sweet flavors in the chocolate and dried cranberries.
- Eggs | With a lack of wet ingredients, the eggs help bind the dry ingredients and give the biscotti its distinct texture.
- Pistachios | Bring an extra nutty crunch to your crunchy biscotti by adding coarsely chopped pistachios. Substitute this ingredient for sliced almonds when making the cherry almond biscotti variation.
- Dried cranberries | Dried cranberries bring a fruity flavor to these Italian cookies. Plus, they add a pop of Christmas color! For the variations of this biscotti recipe, you will substitute the dried cranberries for semi-sweet or white chocolate chips.
- White chocolate chips | You will melt the white chocolate chips to dip the biscotti slices into. You may use white chocolate baking chips or a baking bar if preferred. If you want to make one of the flavor-swap recipes, you may need dark chocolate instead of white chocolate.
- Sprinkles or Jimmies | If you’d like, sprinkle the chocolate-dipped biscotti with jimmies or your favorite seasonal sprinkles!
How to make Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Always follow the recipe instructions for baking, cooling time, slicing, and the second bake cycle to ensure you get dry, crunchy biscotti — the perfect kind for coffee dipping!
STEP 1 | Preheat and prep
To make the perfect holiday biscotti, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
STEP 2 | Mix the dry ingredients
STEP 3 | Use a stand mixer to combine other ingredients
Set the flour and baking soda aside and take out your stand mixer. Next, add the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt to the bowl and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are light and fluffy.
STEP 4 | Add the eggs and flour mix
Now, crack open and pour in the eggs just one at a time while scraping down the sides. Then, add the flour mix you had set aside.
Turn the stand mixer on low speed and mix just until incorporated. Be sure not to overmix the biscotti dough!
STEP 5 | Mix in the remaining ingredients
Finally, use a wooden spoon to stir in the yummy pistachios and cranberries. Empty the dough onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
STEP 6 | Form the dough
Using your hands, firmly press the dough into a 15-inch long, 3-inch wide log. Try to make the surface nice and smooth.
One trick to shaping the perfect biscotti log is to start by drawing an outline on the back side of the parchment paper you use to line the baking sheet. Use the outline as a guide, and you’ll get the perfect size log (based on the dimensions in the recipe).
Biscotti dough is sticky, so you can use wet hands to press the dough into shape or lightly dust your hands with flour. I often use a dough scraper to help even up the sides and ends of the log.
STEP 7 | Bake for the first time
Slip the baking sheet into the oven for 40 minutes or until golden. Then, allow the biscotti to cool on the pan for about 30 minutes.
STEP 8 | Cut the biscotti slices
Next, carefully place the cooled biscotti log onto a cutting board. Cut the log into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices using a serrated bread knife.
STEP 9 | Bake again
Then, return the slices to the baking sheet and place them back into the oven to bake for about 15 more minutes.
STEP 10 | Remove from the oven and cool
After the second bake, carefully transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before dipping the slices in chocolate. Otherwise, the chocolate will melt right off.
STEP 11 | Melt the chocolate
While the biscotti slices are cooling, move on to melting the chocolate chips. The package should have directions on how to melt the chocolate properly. Typically, this is done in the microwave. Then, stir until the chocolate is nice and smooth.
STEP 12 | Dip and sprinkle
Once the biscotti are completely cooled, take one at a time and dip half of the cookie into the melted chocolate (or use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate along the top). Gently shake off the excess and lay the biscotti on wax paper. Next, sprinkle with jimmies or your favorite holiday sprinkles, if desired.
Finally, refrigerate the cookies until the chocolate is firm. Then, they are ready to serve with a steaming cup of espresso. You may also store them away for later. Just be sure the chocolate has hardened before storing.
Stored in an airtight container, biscotti will stay crisp and last for about two weeks. ENJOY!
Three Flavor Swaps:
1 | Chocolate Chip Pistachio Biscotti
Substitute 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips) for the dried cranberries and substitute orange zest for the lemon zest. If using dark chocolate chips, dip the baked biscotti in melted dark chocolate.
2 | Orange Pistachio Biscotti
Substitute 2/3 cup candied orange peel for the dried cranberries and substitute orange zest for the lemon zest. Dip in melted dark chocolate chips instead of white chocolate.
3 | Cherry Almond Biscotti
Substitute 2/3 cup of dried cherries for the dried cranberries, sliced almonds for the pistachios, and orange zest for the lemon zest. Dip in melted white chocolate.
Biscotti Making FAQs
If you’ve never attempted making biscotti before, here are a few tips that I’ve learned from my experience:
- Soften the butter at room temperature, never in the microwave. The butter will likely warm unevenly when softened in the microwave, leaving some portions melted and others stiff.
- Do not overmix the dough if you want the best texture for your biscotti. Simply mix until the ingredients are combined, then move on to the next step.
- Stir in fruit and nuts with a wooden spoon, not the mixer. This helps to avoid overmixed dough resulting in undesired texture.
Frequently asked questions
If your biscotti cookies are hard, that’s good! Biscotti are intentionally baked until they dry out and become crunchy. This extends their shelf-life and makes them perfect for dipping in a hot drink.
Dunking biscotti in coffee or espresso is a delicious way to enjoy these cookies. I’ve also been known to dunk my biscotti in a steaming cup of hot cocoa—Absolutely delicious!
Biscotti that is too soft could be due to not baking the cookies long enough during the second bake. Thicker slices may take a few minutes to dry in the oven. Instead of placing the biscotti cut side down on the pan, try standing them up on the flat bottom side. This way, the cookies will bake evenly on both sides.
After the biscotti log bakes, let it cool on the pan for 30 minutes before you slice it into pieces for the second baking. If you leave it to cool much longer than that, it will become too hard and will be more difficult to slice. Use a long serrated bread knife for this task.
You can certainly freeze baked biscotti in a resealable freezer bag for up to a month. However, you shouldn’t freeze biscotti dipped in chocolate or decorated.
My Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti recipe calls for dried cranberries, and I typically use Craisins. However, you could substitute fresh cranberries. Remember that they will be less sweet and should be coarsely chopped before adding them to the dough.
Feel free to dip the biscotti slices in dark, milk, or white melted chocolate. If you’re not a big fan of sprinkles but still want your treat to be nicely decorated, try drizzling dark chocolate over white chocolate or vice-versa.
You can also sprinkle the biscotti with extra chopped pistachios or another nut
Biscotti is traditionally served with a steaming cup of coffee, like a holiday latte, creamy cappuccino, or rich espresso. Try dipping this Christmas biscotti in my festive Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha or this easy Chai Tea Mix.
Biscotti also pairs well with a glass of wine or rich hot chocolate.
Behind the recipe: Italian Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti Recipe
Biscotti translates to “bis,” meaning two, and “coctum,” meaning baked — “twice-baked.” It’s a fitting name for these Italian cookies prepared by baking, slicing, then baking them again to form a crunchy and airy treat to dip into hot coffee or wine.
The first twice-baked cookies originated sometime in the second century in Rome. They were flat, dry, and crunchy wafers that could be stored for long periods without growing mold, like other moist treats. Its long shelf-life made this variation of biscotti ideal for voyages across the sea.
More than ten centuries later was when the first biscotti that looked like the ones we know today were created. A Tuscan baker attempted to make a treat that could be served with wine. Not long after, Christopher Columbus took them to America to feed his crew on the long journey.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup pistachios coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips
- Colored sprinkles or jimmies if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Add sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides between additions. Next, add the flour and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir in the pistachios and cranberries. Empty the dough onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Form the dough into a 15-inch long, 3-inch wide log.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool on the pan for 30 minutes.
- Carefully place the biscotti log onto a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices.
- Place the slices back on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely before dipping in chocolate.
- Melt chocolate chips per the package directions, stirring until smooth.
- Dip one half of cookie into the melted chocolate and gently shake off the excess. Place the biscotti on wax paper and sprinkle with jimmies, if desired. Refrigerate the cookies until the chocolate is firm before storing.
Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.