Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cantuccini and Vin Santo

We received a couple of bottles of Vin Santo (yummy dessert wine, straight from Italy!) in return for babysitting a cat that is much nicer and "people friendlier" than ours A MUCH OLDER AND UGLIER CAT THAN OURS (psst, Cat just came into room!). And what goes best with Vin Santo? Cantuccini, of course, crunchy-crispy almond biscotti cookies that I last baked about 15 years ago. So I went looking for a recipe, found one, baked them, liked them, but the next day (just when company came over, ugh!) they had turned all soggy. Apparently I hadn't twice-baked them enough. So they went for another turn in the oven until they were a DEEP golden brown, and yum, finally got that toasted almond-flavor that goes so well with the wine.

2 2/3 cup (300g) flour, 3/4 cup (180g) sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks, pinch of salt, 1 cup (120g) coarsely chopped almonds (I buy "slivered almonds" from Aldi and give them quick chop), 1 Tblsp milk.

Directions: Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, 2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk and salt. Fold in almonds (you may want to lightly toast them beforehand). Divide into two parts.

On a floured surface, shape both parts into 30 cm (12 in) long logs and place them, slightly apart, on a parchment- lined cookie sheet. Mix milk and 1 egg yolk and brush on the logs (you can sprinkle them with some sugar as well).

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown. Place on cutting board, immediately cut at a slant into 1/2 inch slices with a sharp knife. Put the slices on their side and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, turn over, bake some more until deep golden brown. Let cool on wire rack. Dunk into Vin Santo/coffee/hot chocolate, and enjoy!

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