Ola Rokita

Hi! I am Ola and I want to share with you my simple baking recipes that can change your life and how you feel.
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Biscotti

Ola Rokita26 December 2020Comments (0)

Biscotti (Cantucci)

Biscotti or better known as “Cantucci” are classic Italian cookies.

The region of Tuscany is famous for making the best “Cantucci” and if you’re ever traveling through Tuscany, you must stop at one of the local bakeries and try some. There are many excellent varieties to sample.

Some are dipped in chocolate, others are sugar glazed or dipped in caramel. Many bakers also stuff them with raisins, cranberries, or pistachios. However, the traditional kind are made with almonds.

There are two ingredients that make Biscotti special

Almonds and Anise, a uniquely flavorful spice grown in the mediterranean area. The almonds add a wonderfully nutty flavor and make each bite finish with a crunch.

Anise complements the almonds perfectly, and the two flavors create a unique biscuit that goes perfectly with a cappuccino or an afternoon tea. To add the Anise flavor, I add a few tablespoons of Sambuca, a popular Italian liquor made with Anise.

Dunk the biscotti in your coffee to soak up the flavor and to allow them to lightly soften around the edges so that when you take your bite, they’ll melt in your mouth and crunch at the same time.

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Many reasons why Cantucci are the popular cookies of Italy

I make these frequently at home because they are quick and easy to make and have a long shelf life too. Even after a week, biscotti still hold up their freshness.

Their long shelf life is one of the reasons why they became such a popular treat in Italy. Soldiers could take them on long journeys and snack on them for days. While farmers could easily take a few of them while they toiled long hours in the fields.

Initially Cantucci were not a sweet treat, but rather considered to be a bread, or more like a cracker. As they became more popular, almonds and sugar were added to appeal to the general population.

There are hundreds of biscotti recipes. Some require as many as five or six eggs, while others only call for one or two.    Certain recipes contain vanilla, while others require only lemon or lemon zest.

Many recipes call for whole almonds, but I prefer shaved or sliced ones, without the skin. It makes them more manageable to cut and integrate into the dough. Plus, the smaller pieces of almonds are easier to much on.

Ideal flour to make biscotti

Given that biscotti are an Italian treat, the tradition is to use the Italian wheat flour type 00. For my recipe I use wheat flour from Poland “Tortowa” type 450. It’s a very delicate and fine flour, comparable to pastry flour.

 

Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 3 cups wheat flour (Type 450 or Italian 00)
  • ¾ cups cane sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp Sambuca
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup pealed and sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit or 180° Celsius.

  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Make sure not to burn it. Let it cool for a few minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

    melted butter
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder together.

    flour with salt and baking powder
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, using a whisk or hand mixer, mix together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, lemon zest, Sambuca, vanilla, and warm water.

    eggs with sugar and lemon zest
  5. Add the melted butter and continue mixing the wet ingredients together.

    add melted butter
  6. Combine all the ingredients together, the dry ones with the wet ones.

    mix dry and wet ingredients
  7. Work the dough with your hands until all the ingredients are combined.

    biscotti dough
  8. Add the sliced almonds and using your hands, work them into the dough.

    sliced almonds
  9. Knead the dough some more to incorporate the almonds.

    knead the dough
  10. Take the mixed dough and separate into two equal parts.

    separated dough
  11. Roll each part into a long roll and place each roll side by side on a perchmant lined cookie sheet.

    rolled dough
  12. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

    baked biscotti
  13. Remove from the oven and using a very sharp knife cut diagonally 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick pieces.

    cut biscotti rolls
  14. Place them face up on the cookie sheet and bake them for another 15 minutes.

    turn the cookies face up
  15. Remove from the oven and let the freshly baked biscotti cool off for at least 20 minutes before serving.

    cool off biscotti

 

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