Monday, 2 December 2013


Cantuccini - twice baked almond biscotti - originates in Tuscany.  The word biscotti comes from the Latin word biscoctus, which translates as "twice cooked/baked".  Baking the biscuits twice creates an extra dry biscuit that stores well for long periods of time, which was useful for long journeys or for Roman soldiers on campaign.

In North America, biscotti are sold at coffee shops and cafes and often consumed after dunking them into a coffee or espresso beverage to soften.  While I was visiting Italy a couple of years ago, I learned that the traditional Tuscan way to eat cantuccini is by dipping into a sweet dessert wine.

I have this idea of making a couple different varieties of biscotti and giving as gifts to friends, colleagues and neighbours - so I thought I better try out the traditional version first, and see how it turned out, which was very well!  The only change I would make is to add less salt, by at least a 1/4 tsp., to 3/4 tsp total.  Overall, it was a success, so stay tuned for what holiday themed flavours I decide on!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt**
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
100g chopped whole almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine flour with baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream butter with sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture until combined. Stir in almonds.
Gather dough together in a large ball and divide in half. Shape each half into a 2-in.-wide and 3/4-in.-high log. Place logs 3 in. apart as they will spread.
Bake in centre of oven until tops are almost firm but still golden, 30 to 35 min. Remove from oven and let stand until loaves are cool enough to touch, about 10 min. Cut each diagonally into 1/2-in. slices. Place a rack on baking sheet. Arrange sliced biscotti on rack, cut-side down. Continue baking until very firm and golden brown, 20 to 30 more min. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

Recipe slightly adapted from Chatelaine.

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