Cantuccini or Biscotti di Prato are twice baked cookies with almonds. They originate from the Tuscan town of Prato, Italy. Outside Italy cantuccini are usually known as biscotti (meaning twice cooked). The word biscotti is used in Italian for cookies in general, like biscuits is used in Britain. So cantuccini are a kind of biscotti. Though there are lots of different recipes for cantuccini, the â€˜originalâ€™ cantuccini are thought to be from a biscotti bakery in Prato founded by Antonio Mattei in 1858.
Traditionally cantuccini are dipped in Vin Santo – a type of Italian dessert wine â€“ to soften them. But other dessert wines or coffee work just as well.
Different bakers, different recipes…However the ingredients most cantuccini recipes have in common are flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder and almonds. Other ingredients like grated orange or lemon rind, pine nuts, anise seed or butter are also regularly added. The most common shape of cantuccini in Italy is rather small and thick. Outside Italy you see a lot of longer and thinner shaped cantuccini (or biscotti).
They are very easy to make and you can store them for several weeks in an airtight container. They also make a great present combined with a bottle of Vin Santo or other dessert wine.
I like my cantuccini long and rather thin but of course you can adapt their size to your liking. This is my favourite recipe:
200 g (7 oz) flour
125 g (4 Â½ oz) sugar
100 g (3 Â½ oz) almonds
1 ts baking powder
2 ts anise seeds
Preheat the oven at 160ÂºC (325Âº F) Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the eggs and mix. Knead it through (if it is very sticky, add a little flour). Put the dough on a floured surface and shape into a log that is about 1 Â½ -2 cm high and 12 cm broad.
Put on a buttered baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Cut the log into Â½ cm slices and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.
100 g – 360 kcal
carbohydrates 52 g – protein 10 g – fat 13 g (saturated fat 1 g) – fibre 3 g