Cantuccini or cantucci, very toothsome, oval-shaped biscuits from Tuscany-Prato town notably, are very easy to make. Very crisp and twice-baked, they are usually paired with Vin Santo in Tuscany, but they can also be enjoyed with some good tea. You need just a few ingredients, easily available wherever you are, even if you don’t live in Italy, cooking them will be a kids play.
Do Italian people have biscuits for breakfast?
Definitively, yes! On average, Italian people like to have sweets for breakfast: biscuits or baked products which perfectly match with cappuccino, tea, or the traditional espresso. Actually, it is not well-balanced because it is very rich in sugar but it is often counterbalanced by a glass of fruit juice, or milk.
Cantucci are seldom part of the Italian breakfast; they are usually served as dessert at the end of a meal, or as a snack in the afternoon because they are often paired with a sweets white wine from Tuscany called Vin Santo.
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 sweetness, it doesn’t suit any meals, but it best combines with desserts. As it is almost a niche product, you may not find it even in specialized shops which 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: some good fruit herbal teas, for instance.
What is the difference between Cantuccini and biscuits?
For Italian people Cantuccini does not mean biscuits, but they are biscuits indeed (they are twice-baked), they belong to the Italian tradition as many others. To tell you the truth, the word “biscotto” refers to a small product which is not always twice-baked, hence the confusion of the word.
Biscuits come in countless types, shapes, and tastes, but Cantucci are somehow special, I’ll tell you why.
Canntuccini are a step ahead as they are twice-baked, and they are made of simple healthy ingredients which fit also people who are on a diet:
- Flour: you may vary the traditional recipe and use the whole-wheat one;
- Compared to the flour, the quantity of butter is very low;
- Almonds are very rich in healthy essential oils, and minerals salt, calcium and magnesium, notably.
- Although, they contain sugar, they are not very sweet, but they are very flavorful;
- They have low glycemic index because they contain good fats, fibers and proteins, and carbs from the flour, of course.
- Crunchy and dry, you have to chew them a lot, that’s why you can’t lose control with them. You won’t be able to eat them one after the other even if you are starving or you suffer from nervous hunger.
I got this recipe from my mom, a yummy recipe: she often cooks Cantuccini as she likes them very much. Fast and easy, this is her recipe, which has become mine as well.
Are your Cantucci soft? Do they have to be always crunchy?
If Cantuccini are tender, you might not have used enough flour- do not worry: they are toothsome as well. Moreover, some recipes add a little milk to make them softer; actually they are not the true Cantuccini, but, believe me, they are really delicious, anyway.
Italian Cantuccini almond biscuits
- 500 gr Flour
- 200 gr Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 200 gr Unpeeled almonds
- 1 bag Baking powder
- 100 gr Softened butter
- 2 tbsp Rum or anisette
- Lemon zest
- A pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, lemon zest, liqueur, making powder, and butter. Combine well with a fork. Add the flour little by little, and then 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 compact.
- Roll it into long logs (about six ones) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 180° for about 30 minutes in static oven.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- Let the logs cool for 5 minutes, and cut them diagonally into 1.5 cm slices.
- Put the cantucci back into fan oven and bake for 10 minutes at 170°