Whenever a celebration in Italy occurs – especially in Tuscany – it is not unusual to see guests holding one of these biscotti in one hand, and a small glass of Vin Santo (holy wine) in the other. This is because Cantuccini, which is the traditional name of these delicious cookies, are quite hard on their own, so by dipping them for a second into some sweet wine not only do they soften a bit, preventing you from running into expensive dentistry bills, but the combination between the two elements creates a very authentic flavour combination that most Tuscan people would swear by, us included. That being said, some Italians hold the biscuit simply to justify the need for extra wine to dip it into, without actually ever dunking the biscuit into anything. The result of this behaviour can easily be anticipated; people can be seen holding the exact same biscuits for hours on end, while at the same time their glasses keep magically refilling themselves with holy wine as they get bladdered. Well, regardless of the amount of wine you are willing to drink, make sure to bite into the cookie as well at some point, otherwise you’ll be missing out on one of the most popular and delicious Italian preparations ever invented.
- To begin with, preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). In case you have unroasted almonds, you can roast them at 180°C (360°F) for 5 minutes before using them in the recipe.
- Place the sugar and the milk into a bowl, whisk them together to partially dissolve the sugar, and set aside.
- Place the flour, the zest, the baking powder and vegan butter into a food processor, and blitz the ingredients together until combined.
- Place the flour mixture into the bowl, and start mixing the ingredients together with a spatula, and as soon as the ingredients are roughly combined, mix the ingredients by hand for about 20 seconds to obtain a more uniform dough.
- Add in the almonds, and work them in by hand to obtain the final dough.
- Divide the dough in two parts, roll them into a sausage about 5 centimetres in diameter, and arrange them apart on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, or on a silicon mat.
- To obtain perfectly shaped biscotti, slightly flatten and square the logs by hand, before placing the tray into the oven and baking for 30 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, rotate the tray to allow for even browning.
- Once the time has elapsed, remove the biscuits from the oven, lower the temperature to 100°C (210°F) and leave the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes before cutting them. Don’t try to cut the biscotti immediately after the cooking process, as they will fall apart, yielding biscotti crumble.
- Once the time is up, cut the logs into diagonal slices using a bread knife; the slices should be roughly 1 and a half centimetres in size.
- Lay the slices onto the oven tray, and bake them for 7 minutes, and once this time is up, turn the cookies over, and cook for the last 7 minutes. This second cooking stage is needed to properly dry the biscotti, and to make them as crunchy as they should be. The double cooking process is in fact what gives the name to the recipe, as ‘biscotti’ literally means ‘twice-cooked’.
- Leave the biscotti to cool down completely before eating them.
- For this recipe you can use any granulated sugar, citrus zest, and non-dairy milk you want, as they all work well.
Preparation Time: 10m
Resting Time: 10m
Cooking Time: 40m
Total Time: 1h
Cooking Temperature: 180°C - 360°F
Storage Times: Keeps for 2 weeks at room temperature