July 9, 2017

Cantucci ( Prato Biscuits)| Italian Almond Cookies

I have already written two parts of our Italy travel ( if you have missed it, you can always find it here). After every travel, as a tradition we publish a recipe from that region. So before moving onto the third segment of our travelogue, we have for you a dish that we learnt as a part of cooking class in Tuscany.

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Cantucci is a type of biscuit that is double baked to get the crunchy exterior. However you could also choose to have the softer version by avoiding the second bake and that is totally up to you. It is commonly a dinner dessert in Italy paired with wine. For us, it simply formed our tea time snacks. The recipe isn't all that time consuming and can be whipped up in under an hour or may be even lesser. I have to admit the end product was simply hard to take hands off from - you just end up going back for more.

Here is the recipe for you.
Recipe courtesy - Elizabetta, La Guida Farm House, Sinalunga, Italy

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Ingredients

  1. All purpose flour - 500 gm
  2. Sugar - 200 gm ( +50 gm for more sweetness)
  3. Butter - 150 gm 
  4. Whole almonds - 200 gm
  5. Egg - 3 no.s + 1 egg yolk
  6. Baking powder - 1 tsp
  7. Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  8. Salt - 1 pinch
Method
  • Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree centigrade for 15 minutes.
  • Melt the butter. Whisk well 3 eggs and combine this with butter and sugar. 
  • Sieve together the dry ingredients - flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon powder.
  • Combine this with the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, combine the batter well.
  • Add the whole almonds and incorporate it well into the batter.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper, divide the dough into three equal parts and place them on the tray. Mold them into cylindrical shape using your hands. Ensure that there is enough space between the three cylinders that you make since it tends to rise and spread a little on baking. It may join together if there is not enough space( like mine did because I left it a little too close.) Since whole almonds have been added, you may have a few sticking out, gently insert them into the surface.
  • Brush well the outer surface with egg yolk.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool. Slice them once it has cooled down. You can have it two ways - as is or let it bake for another 5 minutes after it has been sliced to get a crunchy and a bit more harder texture.
  • Traditionally in Italy, the Cantucci is dipped in vine and had as a dessert. Well, you can totally have yours with coffee/ tea too:)
You may also note - 
  • Ensure all the components are at room temperature.
  • Be wise with your oven temperature - may have slight variations depending on the type of oven that you use.
  • Also, use medium sized eggs. Larger eggs make the batter a bit runny and would not hold cylindrical shape.

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