I’ve been making Cantuccini for almost as long as I’ve been making gnocchi (about twenty 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. Everyone wanted the recipe - and so here it is!
They’re traditionally made with (and later dunked into) Vin Santo, but that can be difficult to find, so I sometimes use Grand Marnier which I almost always have on hand (please don’t tell anyone from Prato).
Makes about 35 - 40 biscotti
60 g unsalted butter, softened
240 g unrefined caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed, organic lemon
2 organic eggs
400 g “00” flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150 g whole almonds
3 tablespoons Vin Santo or Grand Mariner
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 pinch of sea salt to form a soft dough. Gently stir in almonds and Vin Santo.
Line a large baking sheet with grease proof paper. Lightly dust bench with flour and using your hands, form three logs approximately 3.5 cm wide and 2.5 cm high.
Allowing space for the logs to spread as they cook, place them carefully on the baking sheet 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 1.5 cm slices diagonally. Using a serrated knife will make this job easier. Lay them back on the baking sheet, 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.
Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week.