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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Tuscan Cantucci Recipe | How to Make Italian Biscotti

Updated: May 4, 2023

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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Allison Cunningham
Allison Cunningham
Nov 13, 2023

What about nut-free biscotti? Can mini chocolate chips replace nuts? I can’t eat nuts.


Ruth Lang
Ruth Lang
Jul 22, 2022

Also, my mom makes something she calls biscotts, I think an Americanisation of the Naples dialect word biscotti. My moms biscotts and Eva’s tarollo di Pasqua are actually reminiscent of each other. So I grew up thinking of those as something you dip in coffee. Eva, do you dip cantucci in coffee sometimes too, like for breakfast, or only with wine?


Ruth Lang
Ruth Lang
Jul 22, 2022

My kids love store bought cantuccini with chocolate in them. I guess I could substitute chocolate for the figs?


Marc Makes
Marc Makes
Jul 20, 2022

That was easy. I soaked the figs a bit too long and they soaked up a fair bit of water so the dough was a bit sticky. Substituted regular old shortening because we didn't have any lard. Maybe could have cooked a bit longer too. I think they worked out fine. I'll be making orange/licorice biscotti next. 😋

Killian Moore
Killian Moore
Aug 21, 2022
Replying to

My dough was a little sticky too, add a touch more flour as needed


Jul 17, 2022

Really want to try these, but as a vegetarian the lard is a bit of a problem. Suppose butter might be good replacement?

Jul 18, 2022
Replying to

Butter (preferably grass fed) or organic naturally refined coconut oil will work just fine.

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