Cantucci, the twice baked Tuscan almond cookie that is best dunked into a glass of Vin Santo wine are very well known worldwide. Tozzetti, are very similar to cantucci in preparation and appearance, but are often made with a combination of almonds and hazelnuts (not almonds alone), and are common to Lazio and Umbria. Here in Umbria, there are many versions of Tozzetti, including some that are identical to cantucci and contain only almonds. Since I first moved to Umbria, I have made many versions of tozzetti, but this is my favorite recipe. This recipe contains no fat, so the cookies bake up very crisp making them perfect for dunking into a creamy breakfast cappuccino or an after dinner glass of sweet wine. The name biscotti can be translated as twice cooked which indeed describes how these tasty cookies are made. By baking them twice, they lose any excess moisture, which ensures a crisp, dry cookie perfect for dipping. Along with toasted almonds and hazelnuts, this recipe uses some crushed anise seeds and a splash of Vin Santo wine for flavor.
I LOVE my cup & saucer with room for a couple of biscotti. It is from my favorite ceramic shop in Deruta, Fima!
To lightly toast your nuts before making the biscotti, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts over a baking sheet and backfire about 7 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to brown too much!
Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind when baking biscotti.
Mix the dough just until it sticks together. Don’t over mix. Lining the baking sheet with parchment paper prevents sticking and makes cleanup much easier.
Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut the biscotti for their second baking.
Do not crowd the biscotti slices on the baking sheet for their second baking as they need the hot air to circulate to enable them to crisp up evenly.
Remember biscotti will continue to crisp up, as they cool, so do not be tempted to over bake to ensure crunchiness.
Store biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep well for a few weeks.
Deborah Mele 2015
Tozzetti (Umbrian Almond & Hazelnut Biscotti)
- 2 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Crushed Anise Seeds
- 3.5 Ounces Whole Skinned Hazelnuts
- 3.5 Ounces Whole Blanched Almonds
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Vin Santo Wine
- 1 Egg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and anise seeds in one bowl.
- Whisk together the extract, eggs, and vin santo wine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry along with the nuts, and use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into logs 2 inches wide.
- Place the logs of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water, then brush the tops and sides of the logs.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until the logs are golden brown and barely firm to the touch.
- Remove the logs from the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.
- Cool the logs for 15 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut them into 3/4 inch slices.
- Lay the slices flat and bake 10 minutes.
- Turn the slices over and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until a light golden brown.
- Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.