Biscotti are Italian cookies that are traditionally made with almonds and are dry from being baked twice. Twice baked breads and goods were prepared that way because they kept for longer, which was useful for long journeys (way before refrigeration). With biscotti, baking twice meant that the cookies held their shape, flavor, and unique dry, crunchiness. Because they are so dry, they are traditionally dipped into wine before eating. They are also great to dip in coffee or hot chocolate.
No matter the specific kind, Italian cookies have a special place in my heart. Growing up in Southern California, we didn’t exactly have easy access to bakeries that specialized in freshly made Italian cookies and pastries. So, every year, when we would go to New York to visit my family for the holidays, we would buy large boxes and pig out.
The holidays were always a big deal for our family. We would decorate, cook for days, and invite friends and family over. The meal would be eaten off of my grandmother’s china and it would be drawn out for hours. Plate after plate would appear on the table and everything was always delicious.
The end of the meal meant that the fancy tier of Italian cookies came out. Although we were always so stuffed by the end of the meal, we always had room for a few cookies. My favorites were the Rainbow Cookies. They were layers of almond cakes, in red, green, and white or yellow. The layers had jam in between them and the whole cookie was covered in chocolate. They were heaven. I still request family members to send them to me.
These biscotti are a bit of a homage to those holiday family dinners. I’ve had a wide variety of biscotti. Some have been hard enough to break my teeth, others have crumbled just by looking at them. These biscotti are made to be a happy medium, with a little extra softness. They have the same dry crunch that’s so nice about biscotti, but the natural sugars and added oil make them softer and sweeter. This means that they are easy to eat and delicious without dipping them in anything!
I’ve also used fresh cranberries in this recipe. Cranberries, which are super high in antioxidants, are finally in season. They have such a nice flavor in baked goods when used fresh and add a bit of pleasant moisture to the cookies. I highly recommend using fresh cranberries, but dried work just fine. These cookies are seriously heaven and may rival my love of rainbow cookies. The tart, sweetness of the cranberries go so well with the nutty, crunchiness of the pecans. And they are both surrounded by perfectly crumbly biscotti cookie. Yum!
Cranberry Pecan Biscotti
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 chia egg (1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 Tbsp water for about 5 minutes)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries (dried are fine too)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and chopped pecans. In a separate bowl, mix the orange juice, coconut oil, coconut sugar, chia egg, and cranberries.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well. If it’s too wet, you can add a bit more flour to make it more like a cookie dough.
- Grease a cookie sheet, or cover with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the cookie dough into a long, flat rectangular loaf. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cookie dough has set.
- Let the loaf cool on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes. Slice the loaf into about 3/4 inch to an inch slices. Place the slices on their sides on the baking sheet.
- Reduce oven temperature to 315 degrees F and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies have started to dry out and turn more golden (less time for thin cookies, more for thick). Let cool completely on a cooling rack to firm up the cookies more.
- Enjoy dipped in wine, coffee, or hot chocolate!