Cantucci

Learn how to make authentic Cantucci with my tried and tested recipe. Making Italian almond biscotti are not very hard to do, even for a beginner baker.

This cantucci recipe is the best ever and completely addictive!!

Cantucci on black wire rack.
The best almond biscotti recipe!

So what are biscotti?

Biscotti generally refer to the twice baked, oblong Italian cookie that is dry and crunchy. The dough is shaped into logs, baked, cooled and sliced and baked again until dry and crispy.

The original biscotto is from Prato in Tuscany and didn’t contain any fat. Being free from moisture, these biscotti keeps very well and became a favourite of sailors and other travellers embarking on long journeys.

These Tuscan cookies are also known as cantucci, cantuccini or biscotti di Prato and are full of almonds and often flavoured with anise, amaretto or lemon. And hard biscotti are always dunked in vin santo (Italian sweet dessert wine) or a coffee to soften.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Almond biscotti on a black wire cooling rack viewed from above.

On my recent travel to Italy, I sample lots of cantucci in Tuscany and purchased a Tuscan cookbook with the original recipe. But when I tried making cantucci without butter or oil, according to the recipe, the result was such a hard cookie that it would cause dental problems! Has that happened to you?

Today in Italy, most cantucci contain a portion of butter except for those not baked the second time.

So for this recipe, I tested and retested multiple times with different flours, quantities of butter or oil.  You’ll love that this cantucci recipe makes a cookie that is firm and crunchy but not too hard but won’t fall apart when you dunk!

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredient notes

This cantucci recipe is loosely based on the traditional recipe from the little cookbook I purchased in Siena.

  • Flour: all purpose or plain flour
  • Sugar: simple granulated white sugar
  • Whole eggs: I like free range
  • Almonds: unblanched (skin on) and toasted
  • Butter: It does contain a little bit of butter which means these biscotti will not break teeth. The butter also carries and intensifies the flavour of the almonds and lemon.
  • Baking powder: just a little for a slightly lighter crumb
  • Flavourings: honey, lemon rind and vanilla

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC and line a large baking sheet with non stick parchment paper.

Four images of preparation of this recipe.
  1. Toast the almonds and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and combine to form a dough.
  4. Gently form it into a smooth ball.
  5. Divide into four pieces and roll each into a log.
  6. Place onto baking paper lined oven tray and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly until you can handle the loaves.
  8. Reduce heat to 300°F/150ºC
  9. Cut with a serrated knife while still warm.
  10. Bake again for 10-15 minutes.
four uncooked logs of dough on baking paper viewed from above.

Storage

Because this recipe contains butter, these biscotti will not keep as long as the traditional ones. But in an airtight container, you will still be eating a biscotto for at least the next week with your morning coffee.  However, this is a recipe that works perfectly well to be made ahead and baked cookies can be frozen in airtight containers.

When defrosting, you must leave the lid on your containers until completely defrosted. Otherwise condensation may cause the biscotti to become soft. All is not lost if this occurs. Simply refresh by arranging on baking trays and bake in an oven preheated to 300°F/150ºC for 5-8 minutes.

Tips for success and FAQ’s

  • Always toast nuts. This applies to any recipe where you use nuts. Toasted have much more flavour.
  • Don’t overknead. Gently form into a dough.
  • This dough is meant to be sticky. Don’t add more flour.
  • Allow room for spreading otherwise the logs will stick together.
  • Cut while warm.

The main key is in the second baking. Too little and your cantucci will be soft. Too much and your cantucci will be too hard. I have found good results at 10-12 minutes. When removed from the oven these Tuscan cookies will be a little soft but will harden on cooling. In fact, storing for a day or two in an airtight container will improve the crunch even more.

What’s the difference between cantucci and biscotti?

Cantucci and biscotti are the same. To be more precise, cantucci are almond biscotti from Tuscany. The smaller version are known as cantuccini.

In Italy, all cookies are known as biscotti. However what the rest of the world knows as biscotti, Italians refer to as cantucci. So the difference is one of language and the use of these particular words in either Italy or the rest of the world.

How do italians eat cantuccini?

According to the “Italian food rules”, cantuccini are served with a small glass of vin santo. Vin santo is translated to “holy wine”.  Dip these cantuccini into the wine to soften and sweeten the cookies.

Serve these Italian almond biscotti with espresso or cappuccino or even tea which is becoming more popular in Italy for its ‘health’ benefit.

How long does cantucci last

Traditional cantucci last for weeks or even months. However my recipe for cantucci contain a little bit of butter so they will last for less time. Kept in a sealed container, these Italian almond biscotti will last for at least one week.

Serving suggestions

Three baked, oblong shaped cakes on baking tray.

Serving Suggestions

These cookies are also perfect alongside a creamy dessert like these:

Making biscotti at home is incredibly easy and rewarding. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make them perfectly the first time or even the next time because these cantucci will still taste delicous! Bake these today to bring a little of Italy into your home.

Made this recipe?
Please let me know if you liked it by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating and a review below. And remember to subscribe to my newsletter – it’s free!

Cantucci on black wire rack.

Cantucci Recipe

Learn how to make authentic cantucci with my tried and tested recipe. This Italian almond biscotti recipe as based on the traditional hard cookies from Italy however my recipe results in a crunchy cookie that will not break your teeth.
4.90 from 117 votes
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
optional refrigerating time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings:60 cantucci
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • cups (190 grams) almonds I prefer almonds with skins on
  • cup (300 grams) all purpose plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup (75 grams) unsalted butter melted and cooled

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • Spread almonds onto baking tray and toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Leave the oven on. Line a large baking tray or two smaller baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  • Break the eggs into the well and add honey, vanilla and melted, cooled butter
  • Whisk together the wet ingredients slowly incorporating part of the dry ingredients.
  • Before the dry ingredients are completely mixed in, switch to a wooden spoon or clean hands to finish incorporating the dry ingredients.
  • As the mixture starts to come together add the almonds.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. The dough should be firm but soft.
  • Divide the dough into four equal portions.
  • Roll each portion into a 10in/ 25cm log. There are a lot of almonds: if the nuts pop out just poke them back in a smooth the dough over.
  • Place logs onto lined baking tray and, this is optional, with a wet hand smooth the surface of the dough.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until browned.
  • Removed from the oven and cool on baking trays for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce oven to 300°F/150°C.
  • While still warm, cut each log into 15 slices. Check my tips below on how to cut biscotti easily.
  • Arrange cut side up, onto lined baking trays and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Almond v dough ratio
This recipe has a high almond v dough ratio. When rolling the dough, it may seem as though there is not enough dough – there is! Poke the almonds back into the dough and smooth over. If you don’t like lots of almonds, just cut back the quantity.
Size of biscotti
The size of these biscotti are the traditional small cantuccini that you will find in Italy. By dividing the dough into four and proceeding as per the recipe, you will get 60 biscotti. If you prefer larger biscotti that is up to you how you roll and cut them. 
Tips for success
  • Always toast nuts. This applies to any recipe where you use nuts. Toasted have much more flavour.
  • Don’t overknead. Gently form and press together into a dough.
  • Allow room for spreading otherwise the logs will stick together.
  • Cut while warm.
The main key is in the second baking. Too little and your biscotto will be soft. Too much and your biscotto will be too hard. I have found good results at 10-12 minutes. When removed from the oven the cookies will be a little soft but will harden on cooling. In fact, storing for a day or two in an airtight container will improve the crunch even more.
How to cut biscotti easily
  • Cut while still warm.
  • Use a sharp serrated knife.
  • Make a little cut using a sawing motion
  • Then press the knife down firmly and sharply in one motion.
  • From my experience, if you’re having a lot of trouble the first bake may not have been long enough.
Measurements
Weigh the flour by stirring to loosen then spoon into measuring cups without packing.
This recipe is based on the US cup measurements. Use weights if you are in doubt. You may need a little less flour if you are using Australian cups. The other measurements will be fine.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating




129 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have mad this recipe 4 times in the last month or so. It is the best “biscotti” I have tried. I follow the directions for the most part. A couple of time I have not reduced the oven to 300 and they have turned out fine, crunchy but they get dipped anyway in coffee or tea. Delicious!

  2. 4 stars
    My mixture was extremely sticky which made impossible to do anything with except add a lot more flour, at least an extra cup, I was careful to measure/weigh to the exact gram. I see others had the same issue, I live in London so no high altitude here! Any ideas why? Despite this and after adding much more flour, they came out good (my gas oven needed adjusting also to the temperatures recommended) and taste ended up great. Will try again but needs more flour.

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the taste, Nicole. However, this recipe should not be extremely sticky. If you have weighed everything perfectly as you say, then the only thing I can think of is that the eggs are larger than the ones I use. I like to use eggs that weigh at least 2 oz (58 grams) that is 24 ounces (700 grams) per dozen eggs. The mixture is meant to be soft but should never need a cup of flour extra. I make this recipe very regularly (at least every two or three weeks) and it works perfectly. Have you had a look at the process photos? This shows you how soft the mixture will be. Divide the mixture into four and use a bit of flour to make it easier to roll out into a log. Yes, it is soft but manageable. My tips to you are – check the size of your eggs and use flour to help roll the logs of dough.

  3. 5 stars
    Omg! These cantucci are amazing. Just like the ones I had in Italy last year. There is a lot of almonds and I had to take my time (patience is not my virtue!) when cutting them but lots of almonds make these so delicious. Thank you for a great recipe that works!

  4. 3 stars
    I needed more flour almost a full cup more. Even though I used the same proportions. It was sticking to the surface and impossible to make rolls without adding more.

    1. Val, are you sure you used the correct measurements. There should be no need to add more flour. Are you at a high altitude? I am not at a high altitude but I have researched this and baking at high altitude can require an increase of flour – as much as 10% more depending on altitude. Other than incorrect measurements, this could be another cause. This recipe as written has been tested at least 20 times with complete success on every occasion.

  5. Not sure what I missed but this dough is not sticky at all. Was I supposed to add the juice from the lemon too?

    1. No, don’t add the juice of the lemon. If the dough wasn’t sticky at all it indicates that the measuring may have been off. My preference its to weigh ingredients like flour, sugar and almonds but if using measuring cups, stir the flour to loosen then spoon into the cups before leveling off with a flat knife or similar. Never dip and scoop into the flour bag. This packs the flour into the cup giving you way more flour than needed. The cantucci though, would probably have worked though…if the dough wasn’t too dry.

  6. 5 stars
    I made these this morning & I was so pleased at how quick & easy they came together👌I cut down the sugar to 150gm & I also roughly chopped the almonds. They formed nicely into the 4 logs & sliced neatly after they came out of the oven. Flavour is delicious too👍😋I’ll be making these frequently in future😊

    1. Thanks for your very informative feedback, Rita. I so glad you enjoyed our family’s favorite cantucci and found that cutting back the sugar worked out well for you!

  7. 4 stars
    So many almonds makes the cutting a bit difficult but the tip about making the indent was useful. I used a heavy meat cleaver to make the cut. This gave much more biscotti shapes rather than having them crumble.

    1. Glad you enjoy the cantucci. A very sharp thin serrated knife is the key to clean cuts. I use my fingers to support the loaf and cut slowly and with care. Hope that helps. Of course, you can reduce the amount of almonds if you’d rather. I personally love lots of almonds.

  8. 5 stars
    ciao marcellina I baked the cantucci and they turned out great the bit of water that I put in the dough they turned out jimmy thank you so much ciao marcellina

  9. ciao marcellina I made the cantucci today the dough was dry I had to put a bit of water to bring it together I did wat the recipe said I don’t know what went wrong thank you again

    1. Ada, what could have gone wrong is that there was too much flour in the dough. Did you weigh the flour or did you use measuring cups? If you used measuring cups did you use the “dip and scoop” method (ie dip the cup into the flour and scoop it up then level the flour off). The “dip and scoop” method is notorious for recipe failures because the flour becomes packed into the cup resulting in too much flour. I much prefer to stir the flour to fluff it up then spoon it into the measuring cup before leveling off with the back of a knife. Check what I say in the “Notes” section of the recipe. The dough is meant to be a bit sticky – definitely not dry. I hope that helps.

  10. 5 stars
    I am so happy to find your cantucci/biscotti recipe,it’s very tasty ,and the ingredients are perfect,I like it to mutch, i will tell you thank you a lot to find you my dear

  11. 5 stars
    Best cantucci/biscotti recipe I have found! The butter makes all the difference to being crisp without being too hard. I substituted the almonds with cranberries and macadamias, we finished all the biscuits in 3 days! Making the next batch now 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Lisa! Yes, the butter does make all the difference. This recipe has been tested many times and compared with Cantucci and biscotti in purchased in Italy and stand up as just as good if not better. I’m so glad you love it so much!

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you Marcellina for this wonderful recipe. The dough assembled easily without a mixer and the finished biscuit is a delight! I will make more today as we have already finished our first batch!

  13. This is the best biscotti I have ever made . I sometimes use Orange zest instead of lemon zest.

  14. I love this recipe it’s the best!!!!!! Do you have one for a chocolate biscotti? Thank you!!!

    1. So glad you love it, Romina! I’m working on a chocolate biscotti at the moment. Once I’m pleased with the recipe, I’ll have it up. Shouldn’t be long!

  15. 5 stars
    I made the biscotti but used walnuts as I had quite a few left from the holidays. Great recipe. I didn’t find the dough very wet and I made one long log about four inches wide. I did have to increase the baking time. Delicious.

  16. Hi Marcellina I made your almond biscotti and they came out amazing. The only thing I would add is almond extract. I found it needed more of a kick. Thank you