Cantucci, also called Biscotti di Prato, are a classical sweet treat from northern Tuscany. They have a very ancient history and are now considered the most traditional dessert in the whole region. Imagine that the first official record of their existence comes from a book written in 1691!
These cookies are usually served at the end of the meal together with Vin Santo, a Tuscan dessert wine made from raisins that was historically used to celebrate Mass. Of course, you can choose to eat them with coffee, tea, milk or just enjoy them on their own!
The word biscotti literally means twice (bis) cooked (cotto) and in fact, cantucci, are the emblem of twice-baked cookies. They are extremely simple to make, you just have to mix all the ingredients together, shape the dough into long logs and bake them. Then, when the logs are still warm, cut them into slices and cook them again.
Once ready, you can store cantucci in a sealed container for several weeks, and eat one once in a while as a treat. At my place, however, they hardly ever last for more than a few days, especially around Christmas!
This is the most classical cantucci recipe, and it calls for raw unpeeled almonds. However, if you’d rather have a different filling, you can definitely replace the almonds with other kinds of nuts or anything else you fancy, from dried fruit to dark chocolate chips. That said, I’d suggest you to taste the original version first: it’s amazing!
Finally, according to tradition, these cookies should be quite hard and dry as they are usually dipped in sweet wine. Nevertheless, if you prefer your cantucci to be a little softer, all you have to do is to reduce the second baking time by a few minutes.