Cantucci Recipe | Traditional Tuscan Cookies

Here you can find the best cantucci recipe to make at home!

Cantucci are the most famous traditional Tuscan cookies, made with flour, butter, eggs and almonds.

Their characteristic is an unmistakable shape made by cutting a freshly baked loaf of dough into oblique slices.

A second step in the oven for a few minutes serve to give the Cantucci the right crunchiness and their typical rustic, golden look.

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Crispy and scented, Cantucci are also known as “Biscotti di Prato,” named after the Tuscan city where they apparently had their origins.

Almond Cantucci Toscani, are the typical sweets of Tuscan cuisine, now widespread and loved throughout Italy and abroad.

They are the perfect Christmas cookies! Easy to make at home, you can make them as a gift to friends and family. 

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They keep for a long time so they are perfect to store in your pantry for the arrival of your guests. Serve them on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and on parties along with liqueurs!

In fact, according to Tuscan tradition, the best way to enjoy cantucci is to dip them in Vin Santo, for a mouth-watering after-dinner treat. They are also excellent with Spumante or Moscato wine.

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You can serve cantucci with a delicious Zabaglione or with Italian pastry cream. Actually, cantucci are also great on their own, maybe with a cup of tea. Any time of day is good for munching on them!

Here is the authentic Italian recipe for homemade cantucci. Follow it step by step and you will find that it’s easier to make cantucci cookies at home than you can imagine!

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Authentic Italian Cantucci Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 Min
  • cook Time: 30 Min
  • Servings:about 40 cantucci cookies

Cantucci Ingredients

  • 150 g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 medium whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) of “00” flour
  • 130 g (3/4 cup) of almonds with the peel
  • 20 ml (2 tablespoons) of Marsala or other fortified wine
  • zest of half orange
  • 30 g (1 oz) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk for brushing
  • 1/6 teaspoon of fine salt

Directions

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Step 1) – First, to make the cantucci recipe, place the sugar with the whole eggs and the fine salt in a large bowl.

Stir with a spatula to dissolve the sugar. It’s not necessary to beat the eggs, just stir.

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Step 2) – In a second bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder.

Then add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture.

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Step 3) – Mix very well with a spoon then add the soft butter at room temperature.

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Step 4) – At this point the dough is very firm, so it’s best to continue kneading with your hands.

Then add the whole almonds, marsala and orange zest.

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Step 5) – Knead until all ingredients are well incorporated into the dough. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a little flour.

Now transfer the cantucci dough to a pastry board.

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Step 6) Knead some more and then divide the dough into two equal parts with a Dough Cutter.

With your hands, roll the dough and form two long, rather narrow rolls.

How to Bake Cantucci

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Step 7) – Line a baking sheet with baking paper and arrange the loaves well apart. Brush the surface with beaten egg yolk.

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Step 8) – Bake at 180°C (356°F) in the middle part of the oven for about 20 minutes, the time it takes for the loaves to expand and flatten a bit.

Remove from the oven and let them cool.

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Step 9) – Now you need to slice the loaves with a serrated blade.

Cut diagonal slices of the same thickness. About 1 1/2 cm to at most 2 cm (1/2 inch to maximum 2/3 inch). The cantucci are almost ready! Arrange them on a baking sheet.

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Step 10) – Arrange the cantucci on one side of a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Toast them in a preheated oven at 200°C (392°F) for 4 minutes on one side. Then turn them over and bake another 4 minutes on the other side.

In this way, the cantucci turn golden and get their characteristic crumbly texture.

Remove the cantucci from the oven and let them cool. Cantucci are ready!

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How to Store Cantucci Cookies

You can store Cantucci cookies at room temperature in a tin box or paper food bag for about 1 month.

What’s the Difference Between Cantucci and Cantuccini?

Cantucci or cantuccini or biscotti di Prato or biscotti Etruschi. They are all names for the same type of dry almond cookies, made by slicing a loaf of dough while still warm.

In Italy we call them Cantuccini when they are smaller in size than usual. In fact, “Cantuccini” means “small Cantucci”.

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How to Serve Cantucci

In Italy, but particularly in Tuscany, they serve Cantucci with Vin Santo. More than a tradition, it’s an ancient and deeply rooted ritual!

But what is Vin Santo?

It’s a fortified wine made mainly from dried Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.

Vin Santo is a sweet wine that goes well with all dry pastries. It’s at its best precisely when paired with cantucci, which are perfect for dunking!

But why is it called Vino “Santo”?

Santo because it was used in church, in fact “Santo” means “Holy”. Legend has it that in the 1300s it was given to plague victims to ease their suffering.

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Cantucci Recipe: Some Tips and Variations

Soft Cantucci

There is also a slightly different recipe for these delicious Tuscan cookies: Soft Cantucci.

The recipe for Soft Cantucci is made simply by not double baking in the oven. So once the loaf is baked, just cut the cookies as explained in step 9 and then let them cool on the still-warm baking sheet.

The heat from the baking sheet allow the cookies to finish baking naturally. The cantucci this way don’t dry out, remaining softer than those with double baking.

Not only Almonds

The authentic recipe for traditional cantucci calls for almonds. When it comes to Classic Cantucci know that they are ONLY with almonds.

However you can personalize them using other dried fruits, such as pistachios, hazelnuts and raisins or even a mix.

You can also enrich Cantucci with chocolate chips and candied fruit.

Often a spoonful of honey is also added to the dough.

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Lemon Cantucci

Another variant to the traditional Cantucci recipe is the one with limoncello in the dough instead of marsala, and lemon zest instead of orange zest.

You can think of this variation as the Neapolitan version of Tuscan cantucci!

Chocolate Cantucci

A very tasty version is Cantucci al Cioccolato.

To make Chocolate Cantucci recipe use 250 g (2 cups) of flour and 3 tablespoons of bitter cocoa powder. In all other details, the recipe is unchanged from the one shown above.

Usually in this variation you use pistachios instead of almonds or a mix of pistachios and almonds. This is not just for taste but also for a beautiful color effect between the green of pistachios and the brown of cocoa.

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Gluten-free Cantucci

You can make Cantucci completely gluten-free.

To make the Gluten-free Cantucci recipe, replace the 300 g (2 1/2 cups) of flour with 150 g (1 cup) of corn flour and 140 g (1 cup) of rice flour.

For the other ingredients and method they remain the same as we have shown above.

Regional Variants of Cantucci Toscani

Cantucci Toscani are widespread and beloved throughout Italy and are certainly the most famous cookies of this type.

In other regions there are cookies very similar to Cantucci with different dialectal names. Let’s look at some of them:

Tozzetti: These are cookies very similar to cantucci, widespread especially in Lazio and Umbria. They may contain hazelnuts or other dried fruit instead of almonds.

Stozze: These are typical cookies from Basilicata, very similar to Tuscan cantucci.

Tagliancozzi: These are cookies widespread throughout Sicily, originating in the town of Marsala. They differ from Tuscan cantucci in that they have a much sweeter flavor. Obviously they are not served with Vin Santo but with the local Marsala.

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History of Cantucci

The origin of cantucci dates back to at least the 16th century.

The name seems to come from “cantellus,” which in Latin means a salty “piece or slice of bread” that Roman soldiers consumed as early as during military campaigns.

Others derive the word from “canto,” meaning “corner, small part”.

Starting in the second half of the 16th century, we find these cookies in the Medici court. Although they apparently did not yet contain almonds.

The Accademia della Crusca, in the late 1600s, gives the first definition of “cantucci”: “sliced cookie, made of flour, with sugar and egg white.”

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It was not until the mid-1800s that the recipe was made official.

Pastry chef Antonio Mattei of Prato took the original recipe, reworked it and created the cantucci we know today.

In 1867 at the Universal Exposition in Paris they presented I Cantucci Toscani, which even then became a boast of Made in Italy.

Starting in 1900, they began large-scale production of almond cantucci.

In 2011 they formed the producers’ association to obtain the Protected Geographical Indication, PGI, which came in 2016 and includes the entire territory of the Tuscany region.

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