Cantucci or Cantuccini – that’s how these almond cookies are called. In Tuscany they are served together with Vin Santo (holy wine), which is a regional dessert wine. These biscotti can be found all over the country and around the world, being one of the most popular Italian sweets. Btw, the word biscotti is the plural of biscotto, and it means cookies or biscuits. Biscotti are big in Italy. Especially for breakfast. They come in countless different kinds. The word biscotto (bis-cotto) itself means twice-cooked. As we will do in this recipe: bake the cantucci twice.
There are so many recipe versions out there. A few ingredients might vary from recipe to recipe. And the one that I will share with you is the one that my family has been making for many many years. I love these little crispy cookies! First of all, it takes only a few minutes to prepare the dough. Second, you can make big quantities as you can store them for several days! And, now that Christmas is slowly approaching, these yummy bites are well worth to be added to the gift list!
To be honest, for whatever reason this is the first year that the idea of wrapping them up all nicely as a present crossed my mind. Maybe the past years I was too busy eating them. And probably it is this blogging mania that is re-awakening my creativity! Whatever works! ;) While I was trying out different packaging methods, different ideas crossed my mind.. All of a sudden I remembered actually how many other sweets could be wrapped up in nice little bags. Especially when we run out of ideas for Christmas gifts, this could be a great alternative to consider! Ok, before I get carried away fantasizing about upcoming projects, I better focus on this one first ;)
Let’s go to the recipe!
400 g / 14 oz of chopped or halved almonds
500 g / 17¾oz of flour
250 g / 8¾oz of sugar
1 package of vanilla sugar (8 g / approx. 2 tsp)
½ package of baking powder (7,5 g / a bit less than 2 tsp)
1 tbsp of grated orange zest
(milk, as needed)
* * * * *
Preheat the oven at 190°C/375°F.
Roast the almonds for a few minutes either in the oven or in a pan. Let them cool off and then chop or halve them.
Mix the flour with the baking powder in a bowl. Add all the other ingredients, including the almonds, except the milk. If the mixture is a bit too dry, only then, add a little milk. Just enough to get a homogenous dough.
Shape the dough in long thin rolls (about 5cm/2 inches wide, 2,5cm/1 inch high) and bake for about 20-25 min until golden. Take them out of the oven, let them cool off a little until you feel comfortable touching them. Then cut them into slices (about 2cm/¾ inches wide).
Put them back on the baking sheet with the cut side up. Bake them again for approx. 5min. If they still don’t look golden enough, leave them in for 2 or 3 min. longer. But make sure not to bake them for too long, or you will risk a tooth or two ;) They tend to get hard quickly!
Prep Time: 1h