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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Tuscan Cantucci Recipe | How to Make Italian Biscotti

Updated: May 4

The term "biscotti" literally means "twice-cooked," and Tuscan cantucci cookies definitely fall in that category. These delicious cookies are perhaps the most famous and recognizable Italian biscotti, yet they’re rarely made correctly. If you’ve always thought these are meant to break a tooth, you need to try the real thing!

Tuscan Cantucci | Italian Biscotti Recipe

What To Put Inside Cantucci?

Traditionally, cantucci are made just with almonds—nothing else. However, one can add just about any kind(s) of nut, and even dried fruit! We really like using figs, which we’ve included below in the recipe. They make a more moist cookie and add some delicious, natural sweetness. You can skip the figs, but if you do just use some more nuts to compensate.

Rose water and cinnamon can add some great flavor, but they’re optional.

What’s the Secret to Real Cantucci?

In short, lard! If you’ve ever eaten a biscotto that was dry and rock hard, you encountered one where the cook tried to make a health-conscious shortcut. We understand the urge but if you want to see what these biscotti are all about, there’s no getting around the lard.

How to Serve Cantucci Like a Tuscan

Obviously, you can eat them by themselves, just like any other cookie. But for a really traditional touch, try dipping them in a sweet wine like Vin Santo!

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make cantucci here:


Makes: 25 cookies

Cook Time: 2 hours

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 5 dried figs (optional, add some more nuts if you skip the figs)

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup (125g) sugar

  • 6 tbsp (75g) lard

  • 1/2 tsp rose water (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

  • 4.5 oz. (125g) chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, pistachio, anything you want!)

  • Small bowl

  • Large mixing bowl

  • A hand (or stand) mixer

  • Large baking sheet

  • Parchment paper

  • Knife

Begin by placing the figs in a bowl and submerge them in warm water. Allow them to soak for 20-30 minutes, then roughly chop them. Preheat an oven to 355 degrees F (180 C).

Take a large bowl and combine the eggs and sugar in it. Whisk the mixture with a hand mixer until it turns white and creamy. Add the lard to the bowl and continue to whisk until it is completely blended. After that, use a spatula to stir in the rose water and cinnamon (if you decide to use them).

In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder and flour together thoroughly. Gradually add this mixture into the eggs and sugar, using a spatula to fold it in. As you continue adding the mixture, the batter will thicken to the point where you can start kneading it by hand.

Once all the flour is fully incorporated, transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Press it down into a flat pancake shape, and sprinkle a handful of chopped nuts and figs over the top. Fold the dough over and knead it until the nuts and figs are evenly distributed. Repeat this process until all of the nuts and figs are mixed in well.

Divide the dough into two equal portions and roll each one into a sausage shape, approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Make sure to keep the width uniform, without any large gaps or cracks in the dough. Place the sausages onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and gently flatten them a little by pressing down on them.

Bake until the tops of the dough portions are lightly browned, for around 20-25 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and allow the half-baked dough to cool for 10 minutes before carefully transferring it onto a cutting board.


Cut each portion of the dough into straight, thumb-width segments. Arrange the biscotti slices sideways on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It's acceptable to place them close together if needed, as they will not expand. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before serving. Store in a plastic bag or a sealed container for up to two weeks.

Buon appetito!

Want to pair this with a Tuscan dinner? Check out our Tuscan pepper beef stew recipe! Looking for more Italian cookies? Here are our favorite, simple almond cookies!

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