As Easy As Apple Pie

Cantucci (Italian Almond Cookies)

These Tuscan almond biscotti are crunchy, not too sweet, filled with orange flavor, and studded with roasted almonds.  

Cantucci are perhaps the best known of Italian cookies. Simple to make, easily customizable with your favorite flavor combination, and perfect for holiday gifts and cookie trays!

Close up of a bowl filled with homemade cantucci

Cantucci vs Biscotti

What Americans call biscotti in Italy are known as cantucci or cantuccini if they are small.

Biscotti is the generic term for cookies or biscuits in Italian, and it literally means twice (bis) cooked (cotti). The word “biscotti” is plural….you can have one biscotto or two biscotti!

In Tuscany, cantucci are traditionally served at the end of a meal with a glass of vin santo for dipping, but you can also serve them for breakfast alongside your favorite hot beverage or as a snack.

ingredients needed to make cantucci on a marble table

Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions

These homemade biscotti are made with just a handful of pantry-friendly ingredients.

  • Flour – I used all-purpose flour. You can substitute it with pastry flour, plain flour, or gluten-free flour.
  • Sugar – Adds sweetness. I tried these cookies with only granulated sugar and a combination of granulated sugar and honey. Both versions were delicious! I wouldn’t recommend reducing the sugar as they are not very sweet to start with.
  • Baking powder – It gives a slight rise.
  • Eggs – Eggs bind the ingredients together. 
  • Vanilla extract- Adds a luscious flavor. Vanilla extract can be replaced with almond extract.
  • Flavors – I flavored my cantucci with grated orange zest. You may add grated lemon zest instead.
  • Almonds – Use raw, unpeeled, whole almonds. If you’re not a fan of almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts are great options. More add-ins ideas: dried cranberries, dried cherries, white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, or candied ginger.

How to make freshly-baked cantucci + tips!

Cantucci are one of those remarkably easy-to-make cookies. No special equipment is needed, no chilling; just a mixing bowl, a whisk, a baking sheet, and a serrated knife.  

  • Dough – Prepare the dough and knead in the almonds until evenly dispersed.
  • Shape – Shape the dough into 2 logs. The dough will be slightly sticky but avoid adding too much extra flour and use damp hands to help you.
  • Bake – Place no more than two biscotti logs on a baking sheet, since they will spread as they bake.
  • Cut – Let the logs cool for 10 minutes, then use a sharp serrated knife to slice 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) thick biscotti. 
  • Bake – Bake the cookies again. It’s during this step that cantucci lose any excess moisture and become dry and crispy.

Here I’ve included step-by-step pictures for this easy cantucci recipe to show you the consistency of the dough, how I shaped the log, and how to cut the biscotti.

How to store Tuscan almond cookies

If stored properly, these almond cookies last for several weeks. You can use a tin box lined with baking paper, a glass jar with an airtight lid, or an airtight container. I don’t recommend keeping them in a plastic bag or they’ll get soft.

A plate of cantucci in the middle of a marble table .One hand holding an espresso cup, another hand taking a cookie form the plate

Cantucci FAQ

What’s the difference between cantucci and cantuccini?

Cantucci are regular-sized biscotti, cantuccini are the smaller version. 

Why did my biscotti crumble when I cut them?

If you try to cut the biscotti while they are still hot, they will crumble. Wait 10 minutes; until the log is warm but not completely cold, or it will be too hard to cut. And always use a serrated knife in a sawing motion.

Can you freeze cantucci?

Since they keep well for several weeks at room temperature, I don’t usually freeze them. But you can freeze the baked cooled cookies, tightly wrapped, and stored in an airtight container. 
In my opinion, it’s better to freeze the dough. Just roll it into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap, place it in a freezer bag, and freeze. When you are ready to bake the biscotti, thaw it on a cookie sheet, and bake.

Are cantucci supposed to be hard?

Yes, which makes them perfect for dunking in warm beverages or sweet wine.

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    Easy Cantucci Recipe (Almond Biscotti)

    Homemade cantucci (Italian almond cookies) are easy to make and perfect for holiday gifts and cookie trays. These biscotti are made without butter or oil and are twice-baked to crisp perfection. When stored in an airtight jar or box, they will keep for several weeks.

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups+1 tablespoon (250 g) all-purpose flour sifted
    • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (185 g) granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 4.4 oz (125 g) raw unpeeled almonds

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C).
    • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
    • Add the eggs, orange zest, vanilla extract, and mix all the ingredients.
    • Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a slightly sticky, smooth dough.
    • Add the almonds and knead again until they are well combined.
    • Divide the dough into two halves and shape each half into a log approximately 12 inches (30 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
      Wet your hands; it will be easier to shape the dough.
    • Place the logs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure there is enough room between each log.
    • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Remove the logs from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Then, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut diagonally into ½ inch (1.5 cm) slices.
    • Put the cookies back on the baking sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes.
    • Remove the cantucci from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.

    Notes

    1. If you want to use granulated sugar+honey: 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (165 grams) sugar + 1 tablespoon honey
    2. Store them in a sealed container for several weeks. 

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 cookie, Calories: 79 kcal, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 12 mg, Sodium: 5 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g
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