Cantuccini, or cantucci, are almond cookies from Tuscany, namely the town of Prato. They are very easy to make and even easier to devour. Like biscotti, they are very crunchy and twice-baked. You just need a few ingredients, so even if you don’t live in Italy, baking them will be worth the effort.
Do Italian people have cookies for breakfast?
Definitively, yes! On average, Italian people like to have sweets for breakfast: cookies or baked treats which pair well with cappuccino, tea, or traditional espresso. That said, cantuccini are seldom part of an Italian breakfast since they are usually served for dessert or as a snack in the afternoon. Most often, they are often paired with a sweet white wine from Tuscany called Vin Santo, or Saint Wine.
What can you replace Vin Santo with?
Vin Santo is a sweet wine made from grapes which are laid out to dry for months. Because of its high degree of sweetness, it doesn’t go with a lot of food. It is best combined with dessert. You might have difficulty finding it, even in specialized shops that import and sell Italian products, so you may replace it with a good “Chianti Classico” if you want a similar taste. Or have cantucci with something completely different, such as a good herbal tea or cappucino.
What is the difference between cantuccini and cookies?
For Italians, cantuccini are not considered cookies, but in reality, they are cookies that are twice-baked and belong to an old Italian tradition. Cookies come in countless textures, shapes, and flavors, but cantuccini are special, so I’ll tell you why.
- Cantuccini are twice-baked and are made of simple healthy ingredients.
- Flour: you may vary the traditional recipe and use whole wheat.
- Almonds are very rich in healthy essential oils and are the dominant flavor.
- Although they contain sugar, they are not very sweet, but they are very flavorful.
- Crunchy and dry. You have to chew them a lot, which is why you can’t eat too many of them in one sitting.
I got this fast and easy recipe from my mom. She often bakes cantuccini as she likes them very much. This is her recipe, which has become mine as well.
- 4 cups of flour (500g)
- 1 cup of sugar (200g)
- 3 Eggs
- 1 ¼ cup of unpeeled almonds or chocolate chips (200g)
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- ½ cup of softened butter (113g)
- Lemon zest
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of rum or anisette
- ¼ cup of dark chocolate chips (extra)
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, lemon zest, liqueur, baking powder, and butter.
- Combine well with a fork. Add the flour a little at a time along with the whole unpeeled almonds. If the dough gets too sticky, do not worry and add some more flour to make it compact.
- Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it until it gets more compact.
- Roll it into long logs (yields about six) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes in a static oven
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Let the logs cool for 5 minutes and use a serrated knife to cut them diagonally into ½ inch (1.5 cm) slices.
- Put the cantuccini back in a convection oven at 350°F (180°C) and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
The most common variation includes nuts, such as pistachios, a mix of almonds and pine nuts, or chocolate chips, which may replace almonds. Set your imagination free to create your own cantuccini. These cookies can store in an air-tight, glass container for about 10 days.
Are your cantuccini too soft?
If your cantuccini are soft, you might not have used enough flour. Do not worry, and just make note of it for the next time you make them. Some recipes add a little milk to make them softer. Even though they are not the true cantuccini, they are still really delicious.