Tuscan Cantucci Recipe | How to Make Italian Biscotti
Updated: 4 days ago
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!
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:
CANTUCCI BISCOTTI RECIPE
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!)
Large mixing bowl
A hand (or stand) mixer
Large baking sheet
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).
In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk them with a hand mixer until the mixture is white and creamy. Add the lard and continue to whisk until it is well-incorporated.
Using a spatula, stir in the rose water and cinnamon, if you choose to use them.
Separately, combine the baking powder and the flour. Mix well. Gradually add this into the eggs/sugar, folding it in with a spatula. Eventually the mixture will thicken enough that you can start mixing and kneading by hand.
When all of the flour is mixed in, transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Press it into a flat pancake shape and spread a handful of chopped nuts and figs on top. Fold and knead them into the dough, then repeat until all of the nuts and figs are evenly mixed in.
Cut the dough into two, equal portions. Roll each out into a sausage shape, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Take care to ensure that the width is even, and the "sausage" doesn't have large gaps or cracks. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and gently press them to flatten them slightly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let the half-cooked dough cool for 10 minutes, then gently transfer onto a cutting board.
Slice each dough portion into straight, thumb-width segments. Arrange the cut biscotti sideways on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It's ok to crowd them in if necessary, they won't expand at all. Bake a further 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before serving. Store in a plastic bag or a sealed container for up to two weeks.
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!