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Cantucci

Difficulty: easy

Method: 15'

Cooking: 35'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 15'

Cooking: 35'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 15'

Cooking: 35'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 15'

Cooking: 35'

Having a Tuscan grandmother means many things, especially when it comes to food. Among these things is growing up eating cantucci (Tuscan biscotti) while my peers ate packaged biscuits!

Not to say that my grandmother’s cantucci officially replaced my snacks and breakfasts, but in effect that was exactly what happened when I was with her!

She used to make a sizeable quantity of them and keep them in a large ceramic biscuit jar. She knew that, between her grandchildren and the neighbours passing by for coffee, they would be gone in under a week.

Making them frequently meant that they were always crunchy. Over time I have tasted the packaged varieties and they very often lack that consistency. I remember that crunch under my teeth like it was yesterday!

Whenever I saw my grandmother putting out flour, sugar, eggs, and butter on the kitchen table, I would stand at attention in hopes of seeing the almonds appear too. That was the sign that a new batch of cantucci was on the way! “Only good, Italian almonds”, my grandmother used to say. She went to buy them in bulk at the market; I never saw her use packaged almonds and she would have nothing to do with imported ones. “If the almonds aren’t good, it’s better not to make them into cantucci”. And so that was how it was.

Once all the ingredients were together, my grandmother shaped the ball of dough into a log, put it in the oven, and took it out when it was golden.

That was my favourite moment: My grandmother would take the log out of the oven and use her knife to show me where to cut it. She then put the baking sheet back in the oven and in five minutes the little pieces that I had so enthusiastically prepared transformed into my favourite biscuits!

Method

  1. 01 /

    Sift flour and baking powder and place in a mound on a pastry board.

  2. 02 /

    Score vanilla pod and scrape out seeds, adding them to the centre of the mound together with butter and sugar and working ingredients with your hands.

  3. 03 /

    Add eggs and continue to knead. Lastly, add coarsely chopped almonds to the mixture and mix well.

  4. 04 /

    Divide the mixture into 3 pieces. Create logs and roll them until they reach a length of about 25 cm each. Space them out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

  5. 05 /

    Bake in the oven at 180 °C for about 20 minutes.

  6. 06 /

    Let cool and then use a serrated knife to cut into diagonal slices about ½ cm wide. Arrange slices on baking sheet and toast in the oven at 150 °C for 15 minutes.

  7. 07 /

    Remove from oven and let cool. The cantucci will take on their characteristic crunchy consistency.

Freshly baked cantucci are soft; let them cool to enjoy them crunchy.

Ingredients for 750 g biscuits

250 g tipo 00 flour

90 g butter

175 g sugar

100 g eggs

125 g raw almonds

2.5 g baking powder

One half vanilla bean pod

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