Cookie baking season is here, and today I’ve been cooking that most famous of Italian cookies: Cantucci – in this case deliciously crunchy Apricot and Almond Cantucci, though you might know them as Biscotti!
These crisp little cookies are packed with crunchy almonds, chewy apricots and dipped in creamy white chocolate. Perfect for serving with a hot coffee. Yum!
Cantucci vs. Biscotti
Now, like the vast majority of English speakers, I grew up calling these crunchy treats ‘biscotti’, but biscotti simply means cookies in Italian!
There are loads of different types of biscotti, just like there is a huge variation in cookie recipes.
The type of Italian cookie that we are all familiar with from cafés and restaurants is known in Italy as cantucci, or cantuccini if they are particularly small. Whatever you call them, they are very tasty!
To make biscotti or cantucci, you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- ALMONDS: Use fresh, whole almonds for the perfect crunch.
- FLOUR: Plain or all-purpose flour is suitable for this recipe.
- SUGAR: I use plain white sugar to make biscotti.
- APRICOTS: Dried apricots add a lovely pop of colour and tart flavour. If you don’t eat apricots, try cranberries instead.
- CHOCOLATE: It’s not traditional, but dipping your biscotti in melted chocolate takes them to next-level deliciousness.
- EGGS: I use size large eggs in most of my recipes.
Perfect for Christmas Gifts
Stored in an airtight container, biscotti or cantucci keep for weeks, which makes them perfect for Christmas gifts. It’s especially nice to gift them with a bottle of Italian dessert wine or vin santo!
I’ve made these biscotti with almonds and apricots as I love the flavour combination, though you could make them simply with hazelnuts or other nuts, or add other dried fruit or chocolate chips of your choice.
Looking for more tasty cookie recipes? Try my Perfect Pinwheel Cookie recipe!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Apricot and Almond biscotti in advance?
Yes! They keep for weeks in an airtight container, so go right ahead.
I have a nut allergy! Can I still make biscotti or cantucci?
Absolutely! Just leave the nuts out. If you like, replace them with seeds for added crunch.
What is Vin Santo?
Vin Santo is a famous Italian dessert wine. It can be quite expensive to buy outside of Italy, but the good news is that cantucci taste great with any decent dessert wine or even espresso, so if you can’t get vin santo, pair them with a glass of local wine.
Apricot and Almond Biscotti Recipe
- 150g (1 + ¼ cups) whole almonds
- 250g (2 cups) plain or all-purpose flour
- 200g (1 cup) white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of one orange
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 25g (2 Tbsp) butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 50g (2 oz.) dried apricots, chopped
- 150g (5.25 oz.) white or dark chocolate
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200°C / 400° F / Gas 6 and line an oven tray or cookie sheet with baking parchment paper. Spread the almonds evenly over the tray, then roast for 7 minutes, before removing from the oven and setting aside to cool. Reduce oven heat to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- MAKE THE DOUGH: In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and orange zest. Stir in the eggs, butter and vanilla or almond extract, until the mixture is soft and crumbly.
- ADD ALMONDS AND APRICOTS: Roughly chop the roasted almonds and add to the mixture along with the apricots. Use your hands to knead the mixture to a soft dough.
- SHAPE DOUGH: Divide the dough in half, then using slightly wet hands, shape into two even logs (30cm x 5cm) on the baking paper lined tray.
- BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until lightly golden, then remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut each log into 1.5cm slices, then return to the tray laying the biscotti flat - depending on the size of your oven, you may need two trays. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes until golden brown and dry, then remove from the oven.
- COOL AND DIP: Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely. If you like, chop the chocolate and melt 75g in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining chocolate until melted. Dip one end of the biscotti in melted chocolate then place on a tray lined with baking paper to set.
STORAGE: Cantucci will keep for weeks stored in an airtight jar. Serve with coffee or Italian dessert wine (Vin Santo)
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 35 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1 cantuccigTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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