Cantucci (Almond cookies)



Tuscans are known to be gourmets, and meals always end with a little dessert. Sometimes they give in to the wonders of the most elaborate and classic pastry, such as zuccotto... but before getting up from the table, a small cantuccio (almond cookie) with sweet vin santo wine is a must. Cantucci (almond cookies), also known by their original name "biscotti di Prato" (Prato biscuits), are some of the world's most popular and well-known cookies: sweet almond loaves baked whole, then cut and toasted until they turn crunchy and a beautiful golden hazelnut color... Lovers of these special cookies have always wondered about their secrets and the cookie factory that safeguards the original recipe is shrouded in mystery and legend. Our cantucci (almond cookies) came out just as delicious, but here at Giallozafferano there is nothing we love more than revealing all of our secrets, so here's our version of cantucci!


Ingredients for about 30 cantucci
Sugar 1 cup (180 g)
Eggs 1 - organic
Baker's ammonia 0.1 tsp (0.5 g)
Flour 00 2.3 cups (265 g)
Almonds 1 cup (110 g)
Marsala wine 1 ½ tbsp (10 g) - or other fortified wine
Orange peel 1
Fine salt 1 pinch
Butter 2 tbsp (30 g) - softened at room temperature
To brush
Egg yolks 1

How to prepare Cantucci (Almond cookies)

To prepare the cantucci, start by placing the sugar 1 in a bowl, then add the egg with a pinch of salt. Stir with a spatula 2: there is no need to beat the mixture, just dissolve the sugar crystals well. Separately, in another bowl, place the flour and the baker's ammonia 3.

Mix and add the dry ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture 4. Mix and add the soft butter 5 as well. Knead with your hands 6

and add the almonds 7, the Marsala wine 8 and the grated rind of half an organic orange 9. Knead until all the ingredients are well blended, then form a small loaf and place it on the worktop.

Divide the loaf into two equal parts 10 and cut a long and rather narrow roll from each 9. Place the rolls well spaced out on a drip pan covered with baking paper (there is no need to flatten them, it will happen naturally while baking). Brush your rolls with beaten egg yolk 12 (if the yolk is too thick, you can dilute it with a little water).

Cook the rolls in a static oven preheated to 400°F (200°C) for 20 minutes 13, then take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Then, with a knife with a serrated knife, cut the rolls slightly diagonally, creating about 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) thick cantucci (almond cookies) 14. Place them back on the baking tray covered with baking paper and toast them in a static oven preheated to 320°F (160°C) for 18 minutes 15. Take out your cantucci and let them cool  before tasting them...accompanied by a nice little glass of vin santo!


Cantucci can be stored for a long time: keep them dry in a tightly closed tin box: they'll keep their crunch and taste for up to 30 days! Remember, however, that like all biscuits they should be kept away from moisture: if they become soft, unfortunately you will have to throw them away. You can freeze the uncooked rolls of dough for about 1 month, and let them thaw in the fridge before proceeding with the standard double baking.


Some people believe that the original cantucci (almond cookies) did not have butter in the dough: to make this version, replace the 2 tablespoons (30 g) of butter in our recipe with 1 egg yolk, adjusting the consistency of the dough, adding a little extra flour if it is a little too soft.

We chose to scent our cantucci (almond cookies) with fortified wine and orange peel, but you can opt for lemon peel or the seeds of a vanilla pod if you prefer!

Interesting fact

Cantucci (almond cookies) have had many well-known fans: Caterina de Medici was the first of them, and the addition of almonds to the recipe is attributed to her. Herman Hesse loved them, too. After tasting them, he said that they were so good they had the power to cheer him up!