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Cantucci {Almond Biscotti From Tuscany}

Cantucci {Almond Biscotti From Tuscany}

Cantucci, also known as cantuccini are crunchy almond biscotti from Tuscani that are perfect for dunking in coffee, tea or better yet in sweet Marsala Wine or Vin Santo.

Cantucci are probably THE most popular Italian cookies. It’s interesting, that this cookie alone is responsible for almost 30 million (!) Euros that it brings to economy of Tuscan region.

They are exported all over the worl. But the best part is that they’re super simple to make.

Why You’ll Love Cantucci (Cantuccini) Biscotti

  1. Whenever you’re in the world, you can make cantucci using only 4 main ingredients!
  2. They are perfect for sending in a package. 
  3. Cantuccini are excellent cookies to add to your holiday cookie tray – eye catching, delicious and super easy to make.
  4. They are made without butter or any other oil which cuts down the calories.
  5. You can make cantucci even the last minute, without any special tools!
  6. They keep very well in an airtight container or cookie jar. The only problem they disappear too fast.
cantuccini

What is Cantucci?

Cantucci pronounced as kan-ˈtuch-chio is a type of Italian Almond biscuit from Tuscany region.

They are very different from most classic cookies. They are made of flour, eggs, sugar and almonds that are further formed into logs and baked in the oven. Then baked for the second type after the logs have been cun into small slices.

“Cantellus” means “a piece or a slice of bread” in Latin.

Also from Latin  “Bis” means “twice” , “cottum”  – “cooked. 

Being rather hard, crunchy and dry they are known to be the best cookies fro dunking, traditionally in Vin Santo or sweet wine like Passito or Marsala. 

Due to the simplicity of the ingredients and cooking method they have very long shelf life.

Cantucci vs Cantuccini

Cantuccio is a singular form of cantucci. Cantuccini is a diminutive form of cantucci + suffix ini, which literally means “little cantucci”.

So the difference between cantucci and cantuccini is in size. Cantucci being slightly bigger which cantuccini are bite-size.

Cantucci vs Biscotti

The confusion comes from the fact that most non-Italian tend to think of biscotti as a certain type of cookies and mostly they refer exactly to Cantucci.

But let’s look at it from an Italian perspective. 

Cantucci and biscotti are both Italian words. Cantucci is a specific type of biscuit (cookie) while biscotti is a general term that Italians use to refer to ANY and ALL kinds of cookies.

Ingredients & Substitutions 

You will need the most simple ingredients that you, most likely, already have in your pantry.

ingredients for cantucci
  • Flour – all purpose flour works great but it can also be substituted with pastry flour or Italian 00 flour. 

Depending on the size of the eggs and how you measure the flour you might not use all the flour. Set aside ½ cup from the total quantity and add only if needed as the dough starts to come together.

  • Sugar – granulated white sugar.
  • Eggs – you’ll need 2 eggs for the dough and ½ egg for eggwash. Use large egg if possible but medium egg will also work. You can add the remaining half of the egg saved for eggwash to the dough.
  • Almonds – whole almonds with skin are the best choice. Almond skin not only gives extra flavor but also visual definition of almonds when biscotti are cut.
  • Baking powder and a pinch of salt to enhance flavor and rise.

Optional Ingredients

Vanilla extract – even though it’s not an essential ingredient in the original cantucci recipe, it’s highly recommended. Vanilla extract can also be substituted with almond extract.

Lemon or orange zest  – if you like a hint of citrus flavor lemon zest is a nice add-on. Make sure to use organic, unwaxed citrus.

How To Make Cantucci – Step By Step

how to make cantucci biscotti
  • Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Lightly beat the eggs and add to dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract and/or lemon zest. Work with your hands or standing mixer until crumbly dough forms. 
    TIP: take a small piece of dough and try to roll it into a ball.
    If the dough comes together nicely and you’re able to form a sticky small ball than you’re on the right track.
    If the dough is too dry, add another ½ of an egg or a few tablespoons of water.
  • Add almonds and continue to knead until almonds are well combined with the dough.
    It’s normal for almonds to fall out at first, as you continue kneading you’ll be able incorporate all of them (and maybe even more, if you prefer).
  • Divide the dough into 3 parts.
  • Dust work surface with flour. Roll each part into a thin log  – about 2 inch (5 cm)  thick and 10 inch (25 cm) long.
    If the dough is too sticky, use more flour for dusting. Press gently with your hands flattening it a little bit.
  • Arrange logs on a baking sheet well apart from each other.
    They will puff in the oven (see photo 5 vs photo 6).
how to make cantucci
  • Brush with ½ beaten egg.
  • Bake in a preheated to 350 F (180C) oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown.
  • Once out of the oven let cool for 10 minutes. Cut with a sharp knife slightly on the diafgonal into about ½ inch (1.5 cm) thick slices.
  • Place cantucci cut side up back on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for the second time at 350 F (180C)  for another 10-15 minutes. Biscotti should not brown  but dry a little bit. They will still be soft straigh tout of the oven but with harden as they cool, this is how they should be – hard, crunchy perfect for dipping in coffee, tea or better yet in Vin Santo or Marsala Wine!

Top Tips For Making The Best Cantucci

  1. To get the perfect consistancy of the dough that easily comes together, set aside about ½ of total amount of flour before making the dough. Once all ingredients are combined, add more flour if needed.
  2. If you use medium eggs you can use 2 ½ for the dough and ½ for egg wash – so that would make 3 total.
  3. You can also use extra large eggs you can use only 2, setting 2 tablespoons aside for the egg wash.
  4. The dough should be soft enough to come together in a log. Use a little more flour only if the dough is too sticky. It mainly depends on the quality of flour you use and the size of the eggs.
  5. If the dough is too stiff and dry add a tablespoon or two of water.
  6. If the dough is too sticky generously dust with flour while rolling it into the logs.
  7. To make regular size cantucci simply follow the recipe and photo instructions. If you want to make small, bite-size cantuccini simply form long ropes instead of logs. You might need to reduce baking time.

Cantucci Variations

This is the most traditional cantucci recipe that is made with whole almonds.

Of course, there are a lot of variations you can try.

Cantucci with Hazelnuts – instead of almonds you can use a different type of nuts like  hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts would work great too.

Cantucci with Candied Oranges and/or Lemons – very interesting cantucci variations you can try all by itself or combined with some nuts.

Chocolate Cantucci – use the same recipe but reduce sugar quantity by ⅓ and add mini chocolate chips instead of almonds  – you’ll have chocolate cantucci.

There’s also a savory version of cantucci called cantucci salati that uses Parmesan cheese, pistachios, 

RECIPE FAQS

How many biscuits are there in one batch?

This recipe yields about 40 cantucci or about 50 cantuccini (small cantucci).

How to eat Cantucci

Since Cantucci are naturally hard and crunchy there’s no better way than to dunk them in your favorite hot drink.

Of course, traditionally they should be dunked in Vin Santo, sweet Marsala wine or Passito which another type of sweet wine made with dried grapes.

How to store them

You can store cantucci in a cookie jar or any other airtight container. Them will keep for up to a month, but they probably won’t last that long.

More Italian Cookie Recipes To Try

cantucci biscotti

Cantucci {Italian Almond Biscotti}

Make these easy cantucci cookies, also know as crunchy almond biscotti, with only 4 main ingredients! They are perfect for dunking in coffee, tea or sweet Marsala Vine.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 lightly heaping cups all purpose flour, 300 grams
  • 1 scant cup granulated sugar, 200 grams + 1 tbsp for dusting
  • 1 cup almonds with skin, 150 grams
  • 2 large eggs for the dough (see notes)
  • ½ egg for eggwash
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Lightly beat the eggs and add to dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract and/or lemon zest. Work with your hands or standing mixer until crumbly dough forms.
    2 lightly heaping cups all purpose flour,, 1 scant cup granulated sugar,, 2 large eggs, ½ tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, Pinch of salt, Lemon zest (optional)
  • TIP: take a small piece of dough and try to roll it into a ball. If the dough comes together nicely and you’re able to form a sticky small ball than you’re on the right track (see notes).
  • Add almonds and continue to knead until almonds are well combined with the dough.
    It’s normal for almonds to fall out at first, as you continue kneading you’ll be able incorporate all of them (and maybe even more, if you prefer).
    1 cup almonds with skin,
  • Divide the dough into 3 parts.
    Dust work surface lightly with flour. Roll each part into a thin log – about 2 inch (5 cm) thick and 10 inch (25 cm) long.
    Arrange logs on a baking sheet well apart from each other. They will puff in the oven (see images).
  • Brush with ½ beaten egg.
    ½ egg
  • Bake in a preheated to 350 F (180C) oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown.
  • Once out of the oven let cool for 10 minutes. Cut with a sharp knife slightly on the diafgonal into about ½ inch (1.5 cm) thick slices.
  • Place cantucci cut side up back on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for the second time at 350 F (180C) for another 10-15 minutes.
    Biscotti should not brown but dry a little bit. They will still be soft straigh out of the oven but with harden as they cool.

Notes

If the dough is too dry, add another ½ of an egg remaining from the eggwash or a few tablespoons of water.
If the dough is too sticky, use more flour for dusting. Press gently with your hands flattening it a little bit.
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Cantucci - Italian Almond Biscotti

Buon Appetito!

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