I’ve been making Cantuccini for almost as long as I’ve been making gnocchi (15 years?), and it seemed natural to serve these very moreish, twice-cooked Italian biscuits with tea to welcome guests at my first gnocchi class over the weekend. I have to admit I was surprised when everyone wanted the recipe, but as always am very happy to share!
They’re traditionally made with (and later dunked into) Vin Santo, but it’s become difficult to find and is quite pricey, so I will more often use Grand Marnier which I almost always have on hand (please don’t tell anyone from Prato).
Makes about 30-35 biscuits
60g unsalted butter, softened
240g unrefined caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed, organic lemon
2 organic eggs
400g “00” flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150g whole almonds
3 tablespoons Grand Mariner or Cointreau
Preheat oven to 180C.
Beat butter and sugar in a bowl till smooth. Add lemon zest and eggs and beat well. Mix in sifted flour, baking powder and a small pinch of sea salt to form a dough. Gently stir in almonds and Grand Marnier.
Line one to two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Lightly dust bench with flour and using your hands, form three logs approximately 3.5cm wide and 2.5cm high, ensuring they are shorter than the length of the baking sheet/s.
Allowing space for the logs to spread as they cook, place them carefully on the baking sheets and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until they are golden and dry.
Remove the logs from the oven, and while they are still hot, cut into 1.5cm slices diagonally. Using a serrated knife will make this job easier. Handling the slices carefully, lay them back on the baking sheets, and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes for their second baking. They should be golden on the edges and a lovely cream colour on the inside.
Cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Vin Santo is a traditional Tuscan dessert wine. If unavailable other alternatives would be another dessert wine, amaretto or Frangelico.