Making my own Cantuccini:
While we were in Tuscany many of our meals were rounded off rather nicely with coffee, vin santo and cantuccini. We liked the local biscotti so much that we bought some for breakfast…which went incredibly quickly. And, my friend even made a detour at the airport to buy some to take home.
Me, well, ever the optimist I thought I’d try making them. And, they turn out to be quite an easy thing to do, though I am sure mine will get better with practise. They ARE twice baked but, the ingredient list is remarkably short. Almonds, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and perhaps a little orange or lemon zest. The other thing to remember is there’s no ‘right’ version of these. It’s about what you like. Personally I like them crunchy but not ‘hard’ and with LOTS of almonds. I found a lot of different recipes on the internet and in the end the version I made was slightly adapted (because I didn’t have enough baking powder to make the full quantity!). It was very obvious though, that the cooking time both for the first stage and second stage is down to personal taste and just how crunchy you like your cantuccini. The LONGEST was 20 minutes first bake followed by 20 minutes at a lower temperature drying out.
Here’s what you do
- 100 g Almonds with skins, lightly toasted and allowed to cool
- 260 g 00 Flour
- 12 g Baking Powder
- 170 g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- Mix the caster sugar and egg together (not the single yolk!)
- Sift Flour, baking powder and salt into a shallow bowl and make a well in the middle
- Pour the egg mixture into the 'well' and gradually draw in the flour to make a soft dough
- Mix in the almonds
- Put the dough onto a lightly floured board and roll out into 'sausages' (about the same thickness as normal sausages!). Depending on your baking tray, you may make one two or three sausages...the fewer the better.
- butter and lightly flour your baking tray and lay out the sausages. Then glaze the tops with the remaining egg yolk.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 160-180c for around 15 minutes until the dough turns to a 'sandy' colour
- Remove from the oven and using a sharp knife cut diagonally into slices so that you have cantuccini shapes
- Return to the oven for a further 6-10 minutes till your cantuccini are crispy at the edges
- Cool on a rack and store in an airtight tin.
I have to say, these are considerably nicer than the rather tired versions that you can buy wrapped up in cellophane at the supermarket. And a lot cheaper too. Now all I need is a bottle of vin santo! And, I’m wondering if I can make a chocolate version for the We should Cocoa challenge this month!