, How to Video, Step by step

Festive-inspired biscotti

These biscotti combine the seasonal flavors of cranberries, cinnamon, and orange for a delicious festive treat.

Mark Stower, Director of Food and Service

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 60 mins

Serves: 20


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.

  • Step 2

    Mix the eggs, sugar and orange zest and juice in a large bowl.

  • Step 3

    Add the flour and baking powder and stir well.

  • Step 4

    Add the dried apricots, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, mixed spice and cinnamon – you may need to bring the dough together with your hands, to evenly distribute the ingredients.

  • Step 5

    Turn the dough mix out onto a lightly floured work surface – this will help to stop the dough from sticking.

  • Step 6

    Roll the dough into sausage shapes which are approximately 3cm in diameter, and as long as your chosen baking sheet.

  • Step 7

    Lightly flatten each roll on the baking sheet, leaving 5cm distance between each.

  • Step 8

    Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

  • Step 9

    Reduce oven temperature to 120°C or gas mark ½.

  • Step 10

    With a serrated bread knife, cut the biscotti loaves at an angle into slices that are 1cm thick. Lay these onto the baking sheet and return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes. Turnover and cook for a further 10 minutes.

  • Step 11

    Place the cooked biscuits onto a cooling rack. When cold, store in an airtight container. For an extra special treat, dip the ends of the biscotti biscuits into melted dark chocolate and leave to set.


The name ‘biscotto’ derives from the Latin words ‘bis’ meaning twice and ‘coctum’ meaning cooked, which became ‘cotto’, in Italian – so twice cooked or baked.

History tells us that the sweet biscotti which we now like to dip in our cappuccinos originated with the Roman legions who carried them as a rather less appetising energy source to fuel their marching over long periods.

These original biscotti were long and made into thin wafers from unleavened dough, baked a second time so that they were very dry, and which, according to the Roman philosopher and military commander Pliny the Elder, would last for centuries!

It appears that biscotti then re-emerged much later in Renaissance Italy, specifically in the Tuscan region, served to dip in sweet wine and now studded with almonds that grew everywhere in that region.

From there they spread throughout the different regions of Italy with varying flavour and shape and today are still widely sold and are dipped in sweet Vino Santo, although in Italy they are generally called ‘cantucci’.

Mark’s lovely biscotti are packed with everything Christmas – dried fruits and seeds, spices, chocolate, and oranges – a far cry from their ancient Roman ancestors but a delicious seasonal treat!