Sunday, January 6, 2013

Delicious Dippers: Cantucci (or Cantuccini, or Biscotti)

Biscotti derives from the Latin  "bis coctus", or "twice baked". Cantucci (or cantuccini) is a"dry" type, first documented in Prato, Italy in the 13th century as "biscotti di Prato" These cookies were made for dipping - originally in vin santo (sweet wine) but I think they taste good dipped into just about any beverage but not so easy to eat alone - you could chip a tooth on these things if you don't dip 'em. They taste wonderful when dipped and I'm serious about not waiting until you get your hands on some vin santo - dip them with whatever's at hand.

My hair stylist brought these in (along with a selection of other delicious cookies) when I went in for a pre-Christmas appointment. With no vin santo in sight, I dipped my cookie into herbal mint tea and kind of fell in love and my stylist very kindly sent me the recipe, which I adapted slightly.

There are endless combinations - next batch is going to be dried sour cherry and hazelnut.
One of the two logs, after kneading.
The only liquid besides sugar - which in baked goods world is considered a wet ingredient - are the two eggs and the dough looks impossibly dry and crumbly. When you knead it, it just barely holds together.

Slightly flattened, before the first bake.

After the first bake.

After the first bake, when you cut the logs into 1/2" slices, there are some end pieces left over, a.k.a. "the cook's treats".

You stand them up to bake the second time and they're done when they're just a little soft in the middle.
After the 2nd bake, let them cool completely.