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I’ve always liked Cantucci from Prato. When I lived in Florence I remained spellbound in front of the windows of the ovens exposing mountains of freshly baked cantucci. They seemed like the symbol of the city’s wealth. Recently, in an old book of Paolo Petroni “Il tesoro della vera Cucina Toscana” (The Treasury of the True Tuscan Cuisine) – published by Centaur, Florence, I found the recipe that I propose. It is easy and takes little time to prepare. The original recipe calls for white sugar which I replaced with cane sugar. Type 00 flour can be replaced with white spelt flour. Cantucci are great dipped in Vin Santo dessert wine or a sweet wine. They also make a good breakfast in the morning.
CANTUCCI FROM PRATO
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes + an extra 10 to dry out the cookies
(With this recipe you will make about 60 cookies)
450 grams flour type 00 + a bit extra for working the dough on the counter
300 grams of sugar
300 grams almonds
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
50 grams of melted butter (you can also make these eliminating the butter, the resulting cookie will be a bit crunchier)
1 orange or lemon (zest only)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
7 grams of yeast (1/3 packet of Fleishmann’s RapidRise instant yeast)
- Mount well the whole eggs, egg yolks with the sugar, then add the melted butter (if using), the flour, yeast, orange peel, vanilla and a pinch of salt and finally the almonds.
- When the dough is mixed, put a little flour on the table, divide the dough and roll out into 4 or 5 rolls, take care not to overwork the dough.
- Place a parchment paper on a baking tray, place the rolls a bit spaced out and
bake at 350F for 30 minutes, you may need 2 baking trays.
- Remove from the oven and quickly cut the the rolls into cookies.
- Put them back in the oven at the same temperature for 10 minutes so they get dry (you can stand them up so that they get more air.
- When they are cooled put them in airtight containers to preserve them.