A traditional Tuscan recipe for almond and honey biscotti, called Cantucci. This crunchy cookie is originally from Tuscany, Italy and in many restaurants it's usually served with sweet wine Vin Santo. You can dip them in hot tea as well and enjoy this classic Italian treat.
Cantucci is the Italian word for what in America you call Biscotti. However if you ask for Biscotti in any bakery or restaurant in Italy, they will look at you puzzled, waiting for more details. Biscotti is the literal translation of "cookies" in Italy.
The traditional Cantuccini recipe, or Biscotti di Prato, has almonds and honey in the dough. Nowadays you can find many more varieties: chocolate, pistachio, orange, and more. Like this Chocolate and Orange Biscotti version.
This is the original recipe of the Cantucci cookie as they're made in bakeries and restaurants. Make these delicious Italian almond cookies these holidays and enjoy a little slice of Tuscany.
How to eat Cantucci
The traditional Cantucci must be dipped in Tuscan dessert wine called Vin Santo. Vin Santo (literally "Holy Wine") is a traditional sweet dessert wine. Restaurants usually serve Cantucci with a small glass of Vin Santo at the end of the meal as dessert. Here you can read more information about Vin Santo.
"Cantucci e Vin Santo" can be found listed as a dessert in many Tuscan trattorias and restaurants. It's part of our tradition and I still love it, especially after a big meal.
If you don't have any Vin Santo, I suggest dipping the Cantucci in a cup of hot tea or in a cup of coffee or cocoa. By themselves, they are lovely if you underbake them to keep them soft or if you like crunchy cookies. But in general, they're great for dipping!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: All Purpose Flour works perfectly in this recipe.
- Almonds: Unpeeled whole almonds are the traditional addition to Cantucci cookies.
- Sugar: I use regular white sugar for this recipe. You can try with other types of sugar like light brown sugar or coconut sugar, but I cannot guarantee the result.
- Honey: Honey is important to this recipe for flavor and consistency. It helps making the perfect sticky dough and gives it a special aroma. Use your favorite honey, I prefer acacia honey.
- Extract: You can add a bit of almond extract or vanilla extract to give it some extra flavor.
- Citrus: Add some Orange zest or lemon zest for a citrusy flavor.
- Anise: Make them even more Christmassy by adding some anise seeds to the cookie dough.
- Chocolate: You can add chocolate chips or cocoa to the dough to give it a chocolate flavor.
- Nuts & Fruits: Add other nuts and dried fruits in place of almonds, like pistachios, raisins, pecans, dried apricots, and so on.
These Italian almond Biscotti are one of the easiest Italian cookies to make: you only need one bowl, they don't require chilling and the ingredients don't require any special attention.
Just gather all the ingredients, add the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl or a stand mixer, and whisk well until light and foamy. Then add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon.
The dough will be very sticky and difficult to handle, so it's very important to keep your hands wet so the dough will stick as little as possible.
Make 2-3 loaves on a lined baking tray or cookie sheet, then brush the top with water to make it smooth and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F/180°C for about 20 minutes.
Let them cool slightly, the cut up the biscotti with a serrated knife on a cutting board and bake them a second time for a few minutes until they get a crunchy texture.
This type of cookies has a long shelf life because they're dried. You can store these Tuscan cookies in an airtight container or a glass, ceramic, or tin cookie jar for several weeks. Keep them in a sealed container in a cool dry place to avoid humidity and keep them for longer.
After the first bake, you can cut and cool down the biscotti and you can then freeze them for up to 6 months. When you want to eat them again, take them out of the freezer and bake them in the preheated oven at 375°F/180°C for about 15 minutes.
FAQ & Tips
They are exactly the same! Biscotti is the American name while Cantucci is the Italian name of this particular cookie. The peculiarity of this cookie is that is baked into loaves and then cut into single cookies and then baked a second time.
Biscotti in Italian is the literal translation of Cookies. It's the generic name we use to identify all types of cookies, but the origin of this name comes from the word Bis-Cotti which means "baked twice". Which, of course, is also the focus point of Biscotti cookies.
Yes, after the first bake, you can cut and cool down the biscotti and you can then freeze them for up to 6 months. When you want to eat them again, take them out of the freezer and bake in the preheated oven at 375°F/180°C for about 15 minutes.
Nothing is worse than stale and gummy cookies. The most important thing in storing Cantucci is to avoid humidity. The best storage is a tin cookie box or a glass jar and then kept in a cool and dry spot.
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"Cantucci" - Traditional Tuscan Biscotti
- 3 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 ¾ cups Sugar
- 4 Eggs
- 2 cups Almonds, unpeeled
- 2 ½ tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- Preheat the oven to 375°F / 180°C.
- In a large bowl, whisk energetically the 4 eggs with the sugar until they become light and foamy.
- Add the almonds, the honey, the baking powder and the flour. Mix well with a spoon until you get a sticky dough.
- Wet your hands with water and knead the dough to make 2 or 3 loaves large about 2-3 inches (6-8 cm) and about 1 inch (3 cm) thick for the whole length of your baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the loaves with water to make them smooth and shiny, then sprinkle some sugar on top.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.
- Let them cool for a few minutes then cut off slices about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick. Now place the Cantucci again on the baking tray with the cut side facing up and bake again for a few more minutes to make them crunchy.
- If you want your Cantucci to be a little bit softer, you can skip the second bake.
- Let them cool completely before serving!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.