Taste of Italy: Authentic Tuscan Biscotti (Cantuccini)

Homemade Tuscan Biscotti, Florence, Italy 2013© Credit: Krystal M. Hauserman @MsTravelicious

Homemade Tuscan Biscotti, Florence, Italy 2013© Credit: Krystal M. Hauserman @MsTravelicious

Featured in Five Must-Try Food and Wine Experiences in Florence (And a Shopping Detour), biscotti — also known as cantuccini — are a traditional after-dinner dessert hailing from the Tuscan city of Prato.  Serve these twice-baked treats with vin santo (an Italian dessert wine) for dunking.

  • 3 cups of cake flower
  • 1 cup sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1 cup of whole almonds
  • 3 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of finely grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vin santo

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place almonds on a cookie sheet and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove.  In a large bowl, mix the 3 whole eggs, 2 yolks, vin santo, 1 cup of sugar, orange zest and sea salt.  Add flour and baking powder gradually.  Kneed dough on a lightly floured surface and work in almonds.  Divide the dough into three parts and form each into a log (approx. 12″ x 1.5″). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.   Place logs well apart from each other, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and slightly firm.  Cool for about 30 minutes on the baking sheet.  While still warm, transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices with a serrated knife.  Arrange on two parchment paper or baking mat-lined baking sheets, cut side down, and return to oven to bake for 25 minutes, turning once.  Cool and serve with vin santo.

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