In Tuscany, cantucci di Prato—miniature, anise-flavored almond biscotti—are traditionally served at the end of a meal with a glass of Tuscan dessert wine, vin santo, for dipping. “But, being English, Trudie and Sting often eat them with tea,” Sponzo says. Il Palagio’s vin santo (which is Italian for “holy wine”) is made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes from the estate’s own organic vineyards, which are dried in rafters before their sweet juice is pressed and fermented.
Serves: 3 dozen (depends on how you thick or thin you cut them!)
500 g bread flour
300 g sugar
250 g almonds, unpeeled
50 g pine nuts
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
grated peel of one lemon
a baking or cookie sheet, parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Add eggs and the rest of the ingredients until the ingredients stay together in a ball of dough.
On a clean surface, turn out the dough and shape it into a 3 cm wide roll as long as your baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper to help keep the cookies from sticking to the sheet (as no butter or oil is used). Place roll on the sheet, lightly flattening the top part of the roll.
Place sheet in oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the roll from the oven. The roll should be warm and firm; place it on a cutting board and cut diagonally, making 1 cm wide slices.
Place the slices back on the baking sheet on one of the cut sides, making sure to leave some space between each slice and place the sheet back into the oven, lowering the temperature a bit to 150°C (300°F). Bake for 15 minutes, then take the cookies out and turn them onto the other side and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh.
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These are great with chocolate chips instead of the almonds – or orange bits – or even hazelnuts. You can play around and see whish you like best! Make sure the oven is HOT when you put them in or you won’t get the required crunchy-ness.