Cantucci (Italian Almond Cookies)
Cantucci are delicious Italian Christmas cookies the originated in the Tuscan town of Prato. Their original name is ‘biscotti di Prato’ and one of their characteristics is that they are double baked. In fact, biscotti comes from the Latin ‘biscoctus’, which means twice baked.
Dating back thousand of years, these delicious dry cookies made with egg, butter, flour, and sugar are enriched with crunchy almonds, which make the combination with vin santo impossible to resist!
Vin santo is a fortified passito wine which goes through an extremely long and complex process. According to tradition, it must be slowly sipped in a small, thin glass in order to make it last longer. It is chiefly in Tuscany that cantucci are typically dipped into the vin santo, making the biscuit deliciously soft.
Don’t worry if you don’t have vin santo at hand, as cantucci go perfectly with a cup of tea, milk, or coffee.
Cantucci: Italian Almond Cookies
- 300 g flour + extra for sprinkling
- 3 eggs +1 egg for glazing
- 100 g almonds
- 1/2 sachet baking powder
- 150 g sugar
- 1 tsp orange powder (dried, ground orange peel)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp amaretto
- 1/2 tsp salt
How to make CANTUCCI:
- These cookies are quite simple to make.
- Heat the oven to 180 C degrees (356 F). Place the almonds in a non-stick tray and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and set the almonds aside.
- Mix the eggs with the sugar thoroughly until the mixture opens.
- Add the vanilla essence and a teaspoon of amaretto and mix.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the salt, orange powder, and baking powder.
- Put the flour over the egg mixture and start kneading.
- When you have a soft dough, place on a well-floured worktop and knead until it is not sticky. Add flour if necessary.
- Add the whole almonds, incorporating them well into the dough.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
- Roll out each piece into a 10-15 cm (3.9-5.9 inch) long roll.
- Place each roll on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Heat the oven to 200 C degrees (390 Fahrenheit).
- Brush each roll with beaten egg.
- When the oven is hot, bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn off the heat and leave the oven door closed.
- Cut each roll with a knife (serrated would be good, but I didn't have one) diagonally into slices about 2 cm (0.8 inch) thick.
- Place each cookie back in the pan.
- Without reheating the oven, put the tray back in and leave for 10 minutes to dry the cookies.
- Until recently, I had only eaten shop-bought, but I really wanted to make them at home.
- Now I have succeeded and I invite you to try them; they are worth it!!!
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