Here’s an Italian import perfect for dessert or your next coffee break. Cantucci are Italian almond biscuits that originated in the Tuscan city of Prato. They’re delicious dipped in dessert wine, coffee or cappuccino. The recipe comes from Nonna Siriana Fumi of Tuscan Women Cook, a week-long cooking class held in Tuscany. Although you can make these using all-purpose flour, blending in some cake flour produces a more tender result.
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cake flour
1½ cups granulated sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 whole orange and 1 whole lemon
7 oz. lightly toasted almonds or hazelnuts
Egg wash (1 whole egg lightly beaten)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir together flours, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Transfer mixture to a worktable. Make a well in the center and pour eggs and zest. Knead the mixture until it starts to come together. Add almonds and knead until you have a firm, flexible dough. (This may also be done in a stand mixer using the dough hook.)
Divide dough in half. Roll each one into a log approximately 2 inches wide. Place them on parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Brush each log lightly with egg wash.
Bake until the dough is slightly golden, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting logs on the diagonal approximately ½-inch thick. For firmer cookies, return cut slices to the oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 8–10 minutes.
Makes 4 dozen.
Note: To toast almonds, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place almonds on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Roast 10-15 minutes.
12 oz. bittersweet or milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
One batch Cantucci cookies (see recipe left)
Directions: Melt chocolate and oil in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or non-stick parchment paper.
Dip one end of each cantucci about 1½ inches into the melted chocolate. Hold the cantucci over the bowl until it stops dripping then place on the prepared baking sheet.
Allow the chocolate to firm and set at room temperature but in a cool place.