Cantucci di Prato – A Traditional Tuscan Recipe
Prato-style almond biscuits
Cantucci, also known as Prato-style almond cookies, have a long history in Tuscany, Italy. Cantucci’s exact origin is unknown, but it is thought to have originated in the 14th century.
Prato, just outside of Florence, is considered the birthplace of cantucci. The biscuits were originally designed for soldiers and merchants as a convenient and long-lasting source of nourishment while on the move. Monks enjoyed dipping the biscuits in wine for a simple and satisfying dessert.
Ingredients (serves 6)
• 500 g flour
• 250 g sugar
• 150 g melted, unsalted butter
• 200 g sweet almonds, unpeeled
• 2 eggs plus 1 for brushing
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 sachet baking powder
• the rind of 1 lemon or orange, grated
• a pinch of salt
Arrange the flour like a mountain then add sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon rind and baking powder and salt. Start working the mixture with your hands. When the mixture is still crumbly, add the butter and keep working until you obtain quite a soft dough. Add the almonds and work it again. Divide the dough into logs that are the length of the baking tray and 3-4 cm diameter. Place them on the baking tray lined with baking paper and put them in a 180°C oven for 15 minutes. Then cut the logs on an angle and put them back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.