Five Days of Festive Treats - Day 1: Cranberry-orange Biscottini

To kick off our week of Christmas cookie madness, I’m starting with biscotti, those crisp little Italian cookies that are perfect for dunking in an in-from-the-cold cup of cocoa. I started making this recipe as a kid because it relied on oil rather than butter, which we never seemed to have around the house, and didn’t require that I bust out our ancient hand mixer whose detachable cord seemed most comfortable staying detached. Years later, the recipe’s still kicking around, not because of constraints, but because it makes for a light cookie that’s crisp without being tooth-cracking. It’s also infinitely adaptable — I’ve experimented with extracts, spices and add-ins countless times, wild child that I was, to create tasty variations like Roman-style cinnamon and almond biscottini and deconstructed nutella biscotti


Today’s variation is decidedly wintery, making use of cold-weather fruits like cranberries and orange. The results? Crumbly, perfumed and all around delightful, companion cup of coffee entirely optional. My preference is to opt for small biscotti (aptly called biscottini) not only because you get more cookies, but because a smaller bite leaves you more room to go in for a second. But feel free to experiment, varying the size of the cookies and the flavours you incorporate (and the amount of dark chocolate you’re compelled to drizzle overtop).

Cranberry & Orange Biscottini
Adapted from
Makes about 40 little cookies

Note: For instructional photos on how to make little biscotti, check out this old post about Roman-style cinnamon and almond biscottini. For instructional photos on how to make normal-sized biscotti — you can do either here — check out this old post about chocolate and hazelnut biscotti. Note too that both options — the cinnamon-almond and chocolate-hazelnut — also make for lovely holiday treats!

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil (not extra virgin, unless you want the olive oil flavour to come through)
¾ cup white sugar
 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly-grated orange zest (packed)
2 eggs
1 cup of dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone mat (I use a Silpat). 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix oil and sugar together until well-blended. Add vanilla, orange zest and eggs to the sugar mixture and mix until smooth. 

3. Pour the wet, sugar mixture into the flour mixture and stir until you’ve incorporated almost all of the dry bits into the sticky dough. Dump in the cranberries and stir, or squish with clean hands, until the flour is fully incorporated and the cranberries are evenly distributed through the dough. 

4. On the prepared baking sheet, using slightly wetted hands, shape the dough into three evenly-sized logs, measuring roughly 10 inches long by 1 inch wide and 1 inch high. Bake logs for 30-40 minutes, or until tops are just beginning to brown. 

5. Let logs cool on pan for 10 minutes, and slice logs into 1-inch thick cookies (I find that a decisive downward push works better than a sawing motion). Lay slices on baking sheet, cut side facing up. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until biscotti are lightly browned. Cool before dunking cookies into a hot drink. 

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