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Cantucci (Italian Almond Cookies)

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These crunchy almond cookies are great for gifting because they keep well at room temperature for weeks. This type of biscotti is called cantucci which is a type of cookie from Tuscany. They’re flavored with toasted almond and lemon zest and are twice-baked, which is what gives them their dry, crunchy texture. Serve them with coffee or hot chocolate for dunking.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (use dry measuring cups to scoop the flour out of the container and then level it off)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds into a single layer on a baking sheet. Toasted them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring them halfway through. Keep an eye on them and once they are fragrant and hot remove them from the oven. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse them a few times until they break down.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and flour. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky, and I find it’s easiest to use one hand to mix it together by squeezing it and stirring with my hand until it comes together. Use your other hand to hold the bowl in place. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half (see note).
  4. Form each part into a log. I like mine to be about 12 to 14” long and 2 to 3” wide. They will spread when they bake so place the logs on a baking sheet spaced a few inches apart. Bake them for 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F. They are ready when they turn golden on top and are firm. If they spread into each other, just use a serrated knife to cut them apart (see note).
  5. Remove them from the oven and cool them for 10 minutes or so. Slice the logs with a serrated knife into 1” slices and place the pieces back on the baking sheet. 
  6. Turn the oven off and place the cookies back in the oven. Leave them in the oven for 30 minutes, so they dry out. Let them cool and then store them in an airtight container.

 

Notes

Mixing tip: Don’t use an electric mixer to mix the dough. You can use a silicone spatula, but it’s a whole lot easier to mix with your hand. 

Dough tip: If your dough is really sticky it helps to refrigerate it until it firms up. This will make it easier to form the dough into the logs. You can also wet your hands to shape the dough which will help keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Baking tip: The logs should be baked all the way through before you slice them. If you’re unsure, slice into the middle of one log – if it is under-baked, just place them back in the oven for a few more minutes. 

Recipe lightly adapted from Food52.

Nutrition

Keywords: cantucci, almond cookies, almond biscotti, Italian almond cookies