Cranberry Pecan Biscotti {Gluten Free}

I have blog stalked this fabulous woman for a l-o-n-g time.  She is an amazing gluten free/low carb baker who recently contributed to a cookbook called “Low Carbing with Friends.”  {Christmas is only 20 days away – hint, hint}

Having her agree to guest post for BGM was pretty much the best day of my life second only to having kids.  Oh, and getting married.  And probably the day I got my driver’s license.  Okay, it was the fourth best day of my life.

When Krista asked if I would do a gluten free guest post for her 12 Days of Allergy Free Cookies, I was immensely flattered, but I also had to double check.  Did she really want me to do this?  See, I am a gluten-free baker almost by accident.  I don’t have Celiac disease or any sort of gluten intolerance.  What I do have is diabetes and I bake things that are low in carbohydrates, to keep my blood sugars in check.  It just so happens that many ingredients that are low carb are also gluten free, such as my favorite go-to flour made from blanched ground almonds.  I am not fully gluten free in my day to day life, although I have been thinking about eliminating it entirely.  But I do think I have gained some considerable skill working with gluten free nut flours, and I am more than happy to pass on a few pointers.

One thing to know right away is that gluten free baking is an entirely different beast than conventional baking.  You can’t simply swap out the flour and sub in any old nut flour, and expect to get the same results.  Gluten has, for lack of a better term, magical properties that help bind baked goods together and keep them from crumbling to pieces.  In its absence, you have to find ways to make up for this.  There are various starches that can help, but they can add a lot of carbs so I have to tread lightly there.  Adding additional eggs can help too, but sometimes baked goods turn out too eggy and rubbery.  Xanthan gum and guar gum can give gluten free baked goods some structure and need only be used in very small quantities so they don’t add a lot of carbs.  For these biscotti, I chose to use a little xanthan gum to help hold things together.

Even still, gluten free baked goods can be rather fragile.  I’ve made GF biscotti before that had whole nuts in them, and I had a hard time cutting them into slices without having them shatter into crumbs.  This time I wised up, and made sure to chop both my pecans and my cranberries quite small before adding them to the mix.  That certainly helped a lot.  And using commercially ground almond flour helps too.  You can easily make almond meal in your food processor by grinding almonds, but you will never get it as fine as the commercial variety, so you will get a coarser texture in your baked goods.  That works well in muffins and cookies, but for cakes, where you want a fine crumb, finely ground almond flour is your best bet.

These biscotti turned out beautifully, and the cranberry pecan combination just signals the holidays to me.  The great thing about this recipe is that you could just as easily make it with sugar, if you have no need to be low carb.  And unsweetened dried cranberries can be hard to find, so I actually make my own in the oven.  But you can sub in whatever dried cranberries you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy!



  1. “Having her agree to guest post for BGM was pretty much the best day of my life second only to having kids. Oh, and getting married. And probably the day I got my driver’s license. Okay, it was the fourth best day of my life.”

    LOL, you goof! I don’t believe that for a second, but if you are trying to butter me up, it worked!

  2. What a festive biscotti for the holidays – love Carolyn’s recipes.

  3. I totally agree with your intro! Carolyn is such a fabulous blogger…and these biscotti look amazing.

    Krista, I can’t believe I haven’t been an official follower till now! I’m looking forward to more allergy free cookies 🙂

  4. Oh these look awesome! Great pics btw 🙂

  5. I love biscotti cookies for the crispiness. These look so good with the one end dipped in chocolate!

  6. Great holiday treat!

  7. These sound amazing. I love pecans…great idea to combine them with cranberries. Perfect treat!

  8. THese look wonderful – and I know I’d love them even though I don’t eat gluten free!

  9. I still have biscotti on my to do list and haven’t made it yet – these look awesome! Oh and love Krista’s blog too 🙂

  10. Amazing guest post & this biscotti looks wonderful!

  11. oo this looks like a great recipe and ill be trying it as soon as I manage to get my hands on some stevia !

  12. Could I dip both ends in chocolate, and no one would judge me? These look great, can’t wait to try them!


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