Friday, April 07, 2006


What an absolute delight it is when you make something for the first time and it turns out exactly the way it should! My daughter loves Tuscan cantuccini, those twice-baked jaw-breaking Italian biscuits that you dip into vin santo. I found a couple of recipes, each making more than I needed, so this is my own version. It relates to the size of the bag of whole almonds – size it up or down depending on how many almonds you have.

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
200g caster sugar
250g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
100g whole, peeled almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 whole egg and both egg yolks with the vanilla and salt, and beat thoroughly. Add the sugar and whisk until fully incorporated. Sift together flour and baking powder, and add in stages to mixing bowl until you have a firm dough. Incorporate the almonds evenly. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two portions, and form each into a baguette-shaped loaf two inches wide on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until outside is hard and beginning to brown. Meanwhile, beat the remaining egg with a few drops of water. Remove the loaves from the oven but leave the oven on. Brush the loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar. Cut them into diagonal slices about 3/4 inch thick, space them out on the baking sheet, and return the sheet to the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until completely dry and golden brown at the edges. Cool completely on a rack. Makes about 20.

These store well in airtight containers, or in cellophane bags for presents.

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