Cranberry and almond biscotti

Sofia's 2016 challenge!

We're hoping our readers and great cooks are on board for another year of tantalising and mouth watering recipes.

Sofia challenges you all to join the Sofia's Kitchen crew and submit your favourite recipes. This is not just Sofia's kitchen, it's a community initiative for sharing. Who will be first for 2016 to share their favourite recipe? And, to share too the history of their recipe? For example: if your grand-mother passed a family favourite down to you, and told you the story of its history, why not share that story with our readers?

Sofia is eagerly awaiting your contribution, and will truly appreciate any effort you make no matter how small or how large. Your recipe will help Sofia’s kitchen to continue and flourish.  

Biscotti, Ancient Rome | 1st Century AD 

Name | Biscuits of Prato, biscotti di Prato Cantuccini (in modern Italy and Argentina) 

Origin of the word |Biscotti (plural form of 'biscotto', is from the medieval Latin word biscoctus, meaning 'twice-cooked/baked.'

History |  Biscotti traces back to Ancient Rome when Roman Biscotti was the most convenient food for travellers and the Roman Legion. Because biscotti are twice-baked, they result in a hard and dry texture, but with a very long shelf life. According to writing of Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD – August 25, 79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, he boasted 'that they [biscotti] would be edible for centuries.' During the European Renaissance, biscotti re-emerged in Tuscany, credited to a Tuscan baker who served them with the local sweet dessert wine called Vin Santo. Biscotti’s dry, crunchy texture was deemed to be the perfect medium to soak up the sweet local wine. The first documented biscotti cookie recipe is called 'genovese' from Genoa. It was found in a manuscript written down by Amadio Baldanzi, a resident of Prato from the 18th century. But today, because of Biscotti's popularity in coffee houses, many different ingredients are added for more recipe variations.

Basic ingredients | Flour, eggs, sugar, almonds, pine nuts (Optional: butter/oil, spice, flavouring, baking powder/soda, dried fruits)

Cranberry and almond biscotti recipe

20 Servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes | cooking time: 45 minutes | Difficulty: Capable cooks


  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs


Step 1

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Place 2 cups sifted plain flour in a large bowl with 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins), 2/3 cup raw almonds, ½ cup caster sugar and 3 eggs
  • Mix until well combined.

Step 2

  • Transfer dough to an even work surface, lightly dusted with flour, and knead with your hands until smooth
  • Shape into a log and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper
  • Press along top of log to flatten slightly.

Step 3

  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Remove from oven and cool.

Step 4

  • Cut log into 1cm-thick slices
  • Place on baking tray and cook for another 12-15 minutes until hard
  • Serve as a snack or after-dinner treat — they make a perfect accompaniment to affogato.

Recipe, image and history sources

Recipe: | Kate Murdoch
Image: Luke Burgess