Cantucci: Traditional Tuscan Biscotti

Featuring these very special Italian biscuits today makes me happy, for several reasons. First, I truly like traditional recipes and Tuscan biscotti, or Cantucci, are as traditional as one can go. Second, these biscuits really rock. And, finally, I am happy because I made it to bake together with the Italian group Quanti Modi Per Fare e Rifare, led by two expat Italians (just like me), Anna and Ornella, writing from Japan and Greece. These gals cook and bake like no others and are always keen to share good hints (recently, they both helped me with my first Panettone).

Today’s post is based on Tiziana‘s recipe, chosen to be re-made by all of us. This fantastic method gives more than 2 kg (4 pounds) of excellent biscotti, to share with family and friends. Or to savor alone, a few at a time, for several weeks.

CANTUCCI

You need: 1 kl (2 lb) all-purpose flour [I used organic], 700 g (3 cups) caster sugar [I used unrefined organic], 1/2 kl (1 lb) unpeeled almonds, 1 lemon, 16 g (3 tea-spoon) baking powder, 8 eggs + 1 for brushing, 60 g (1/4 cup) milk. Caster sugar for coating [I skipped this].

How to: Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (Celsius, 356 Fahrenheit). Meanwhile combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the grated peel of the lemon. Step 2. Add the eggs, the almonds and the milk and mix until all ingredients are well combined. Step 3. Form 5 roughly shaped long rectangles over 2 oven trays covered with baking paper (the tray with three rectangles will be a little crowded but that is ok); brush the rectangles with the egg beaten with a little water. Step 4. After baking for 15-20 minute, take the trays out, move the biscotti dough with all the baking paper on a cutting board and cut the rectangles horizontally, forming several small stripes. Step 5. Put back in the oven and bake for further 20 minutes, lowering the oven temperature to 140 degrees (Celsius, 284 Fahrenheit).

CONSIDERATIONS: These almond biscotti that originally come from the town of Prato, Tuscany, were designed to last for weeks, and can actually keep fresh (without any freezing!) for a couple of months. In the past, people needed food like this, which could be packed for journeys that were usually long, when trains, airplanes, and cars did not exist. The durability (and crunchiness) of traditional biscotti is given by being baked twice. This is also the meaning of their name. I am aware that is generally considered low-class to dip cookies in beverages but… you cannot really say you have savored Cantucci unless you dip them. Preferably in sweet wine (ideally the Tuscan Vin Santo) but also in milk. Or hot chocolate. Mmmmm… ready for one more biscotto.

Leave a comment

50 Comments

  1. Great photos! I’m sure they were delicious cookies and I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    Reply
  2. Look at all the comments! You are doing so well! I love the beautiful photo and how creative you are getting!!

    Reply
  3. Your biscotti looks delicious! My search for a good italian blog as ended here. Good Stuff!

    Reply
  4. Hello, I just dropped by to check after coming back from visiting my sister (Tiziana, exactly the one the original recipe for the contest came for) and family, hoping for some new gorgeous recipe. These biscotti’ve got to be gorgeous, but I just love your blog’s appearance.
    Can’t wait for a new recipe.

    Reply
  5. Apegastronoma

     /  January 10, 2012

    Hello Barbara!
    NICE TO MEET YOU!
    Your Cantucci, Traditional Tuscan Biscotti are very very nice!!
    Kiss
    Le 4 apine del web

    Reply
  6. These look great! Cantucci are one of my favourites. Not sure my teeth agree though…

    Reply
  7. Meravigliosi!

    Reply
  8. Yum, this looks incredible!

    Reply
  9. scusa, mi chiedevi della luce della foto, nessun segreto e nessuna tecnica, fotografo su un balcone quando non ci batte il sole.

    Reply
  10. benvenuta fra di noi! acc, mi fai un pò faticare a leggerti ma le foto parlano da sole, e che belle parole che dicono!!

    Reply
  11. I’ve always wanted to make biscotti – they’re not so common in England, where I’m from, or in France, where I live now. I think the only place I’ve seen them is Starbucks, and they look less than appetising there.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe – this is definitely on my list of things to make :) Nice to discover your blog!

    Reply
    • nice to meet you Charles. well, if you try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed. it has been tested by a big group of Italian bloggers and always came out wonderful. and there is no comparison with store-bought biscotti! let me know how you like them if you try…

      Reply
  12. Ciao Barbara, i tuoi cantucci sono spettacolari davvero!

    Reply
  13. Weird, I always thought they were supposed to be dunked in coffee! I don’t know if that is what Americans do or not b/c I have no biscotti experience myself. I suppose I will have to try them one day and maybe I will be surprised and like them. What a shelf life!

    Reply
  14. Complimenti Barbara, sono bellissimi! :)

    Reply
  15. direi venuti perfetti e complimenti per le foto!

    Reply
  16. Ciao Barbara, piacere di conoscerti :) I tuoi cantucci sono magnifici, la prima foto soprattutto è tremendamente invitante. C’è la tentazione di allungare la mano su uno di quei biscotti sgranocchiosi. Complimenti per l’ottima riuscita. Buona settimana, a presto

    Reply
  17. Gorgeous cantucci! I love to dip them into red wine!

    Reply
  18. Love these biscotti. Always good for dipping!… Now where’s my espresso?

    Reply
  19. Chef Pamela

     /  January 8, 2012

    These look so tasty! Your photos are great. Can this recipe be changed up to use other nuts or to add dried fruit?
    I love a good biscotto (singular, right?) when I am reading a book. Curl up, dip, munch, read.

    Reply
  20. Beautiful photos! I’ve never made biscotti, but you have inspired me to add it to my list!

    Reply
  21. beautiful photos! cookies are perfect! I’ve enjoyed them with tea :) byee

    Reply
  22. Stupendi i cantucci e ottima la presentazione. Un abbraccio e buona domenica

    Reply
  23. condivido i complimenti ad anna&ornella

    piacere di conoscerti e complimenti per i tuoi cantucci

    Reply
  24. Anche io con l’inglese sono un po’ negata…quando arriva mia sorella nel pomeriggio mi faccio tradurre per bene!! ciao

    Reply
  25. Your cakes are wonderfull…good, good! Kiss!

    Reply
  26. Grazie Barbara, sono d’accordo con Ornella, inglese poca cosa ma occhi per ammirare i tuoi cantucci sì!

    Reply
  27. Ornella

     /  January 8, 2012

    Barbara carissima, ho qualche difficoltà con l’inglese :-( ma non mi serve per dire che i tuoi cantucci sono stupendi!! Grazie mille per esserti unita a noi! Baci e buona domenica

    Reply

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