I bet that many of you have eaten sweet Tuscan cantucci, the hard and crunchy, twice-baked cookies, at least once. They are often served as an after-dinner dessert to dunk in Vin Santo, a fortified sweet wine made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. Savory cantucci, on the other hand, aren’t so well known.
They are the reinterpretation of sweet ones which are generally given at Christmas. Almonds are not lacking in this recipe either, but there are also pistachios and grated Parmesan to transform the dessert into a tasty and appetizing apertif, to enjoy with a glass of white wine or beer. This could be an idea for a party hors d’oevre. Easy and fast to make, and sinfully delicious to eat.
Nowadays cantucci are enjoyed all over the world and one of the emblems of Italian cuisine. They have only one defect: they are too good – one leads to another, and when you start it is hard to stop! They are a real temptation, resistance will be futile!
CANTUCCI SALATI (SAVORY CANTUCCI)
Total preparation time: 30 Baking time: 20 minutes Yield: 30-35 cantucci
100 g (3.5 oz) unpeeled almonds, coarsely chopped
100 g (3.5 oz) shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
255 g (9 oz) all-purpose flour
100 g (3.5 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
3 g (about ½ teaspoon) baking powder
2-3 tablespoons cold water
A pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
2. In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients: flour, Parmesan, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the eggs and olive oil, mix well. The dough should be pretty dense. If it is too dense, add 2 o 3 tablespoons of water. Divide the dough in two equal parts. In one add the almonds and in the other one the pistachios. You can mix the nuts or use just the type you prefer
4. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and shape each one into a 18 cm (7 inch) roll about 6 cm (2.5 inch) wide and 3 cm (1.5 inch) high. Transfer each roll, using a spatula, onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave enough space to spread while cooking. Bake for 15 minutes
5. At this time, remove from the oven and cut diagonally into about 1-1.5 cm (½ inch) wide cookies. Bake again for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack . Eat when they are completely cold.
Note: Cantucci store well for several days in a cookie container.
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