Cantucci di Prato (double baked almond cookies)

Cantucci di Prato are biscottis, named after Prato, the same town in Tuscany where soccer player Paolo Rossi was born.

They are double baked cookies, very common in Tuscany, where they dip them in a sweet wine called Vin Santo. They pair perfectly with any dessert wine like a late harvest.
I personally love to dip them in coffee with milk. I love them for breakfast, as a snack or after dinner.
In spite of the almonds and anise seeds, they are pretty frugal cookies, not so sweet, proving one more time that the simpler the better.
I used to buy artisan biscottis like these Cantucci di Prato in Caracas.
Once I settled down in Southern California, I couldn't find the same quality in the grocery store, so I decided to bake my own.
They make a perfect homemade present and I baked the ones in the pictures for my Mom, who’s a cookie killer and is coming to spend the Holidays with us.
I adapted the recipe that I found in Biscotti, a compile of cookie recipes from the kitchen of the American Academy in Rome, by Mona Talbott and Mirella Misenti.
After trying at least three different recipes, I think this one captures the best of the so Italian Cantucci di Prato. The original recipe calls for anise liquor, but I used absinth and I love it!
Cantucci di Prato (almond double baked cookies) | Ingredients for 30 cookies
1 ¼ cup of all purpose flour
2 Tbs. of cornmeal
½ Tsp. of baking powder
½ Tsp. of anise seeds
¼ cup + 1 Tsp. of butter
½ cup + 3 Tbs. of sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. of anise liqueur (I used absinthe)
¾ of cup of roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and anise seeds. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well incorporated.  Add the liqueur and combine. Add the dry ingredients and combine. Add the almonds and mix until incorporated. Divide and form two logs 1 inch (2.5 cms wide), wrap them in plastic film and refrigerate them for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Let the cookie logs cool down and transfer them to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut them on a diagonal into ½ -inch (around 1 cm) slices. Place the slices flat on the baking sheet and bake them for 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an air-tight container.

To print the recipe click here.

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