10.12.08

 

Cantuccini

This is the English version of the Cantuccini recipe. This is the first post of a long series of Italian recipes in English. Unfortunately, I'm not a native English speaker, so please don't care too much about language imperfections. Anyway, if you want to suggest a better translation, you're definitely welcome!

Per chi si è già stufato di leggere in inglese, c'è la versione italiana.


CANTUCCINI

This is a slightly modified version of the famous biscuits from Tuscany.
A team of professional tasters is currently comparing the two versions to analyze the differences :-)

Time required: 15 minutes + cooking time. Really not so much.
Difficulty: medium. High precision and a bit of experience are needed.


Ingredients for the standard batch (about 50 Cantuccini):
- 300 gr. pastry flour (type 405 / 45 / 00)
- 200 gr. white sugar
- 40 gr. butter (at room temperature)
- 2 whole eggs
- 70 gr. almonds (not minced)
- 5 gr. baking powder (half of what usually required for 300 gr. of flour)
- 0.5 gr. vanillin

Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350°F.

Put all the ingredients (except for eggs) in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Create a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the eggs. Incorporate the rest gradually into the egg cream, until a homogeneous dough is ready.

Now it's time to clean our hands again and be ready to accept to smudge them with dough.
Make four "snakes" with the dough, long as much as the baking tray. Put them on the tray, after protecting it with baking paper. The best results are obtained with an iron baking tray.

Bake at 180°C / 350°F for 45 minutes. If necessary and if you use a convection oven, use the fan during the last 5 minutes.
Take the "mega-cookies" off the oven and let them cool for 1 or 2 minutes (just in order not to burn your fingers). Then cut immediately the cookies in pieces 2 cm wide, with a clean cut. If possible, make diagonal cuts, because it's cuter :-)

WARNING! Baking is the most tricky part for a good outcome. Therefore:
1)NEVER go above 180°C, in order to avoid overcooking the bottom side of the cookies.
2)After 20 minutes of baking time, monitor the surface of the mega-cookies.
3)To verify whether the cookies are ready to be cut, you can pierce them with a toothpick: if the toothpick remains dry, the cookies are ready.

Debugging & Problem Solving:
- The surface is still soft or wet. Solution: bake for some more time.
- The surface is still white / not yet orange. Solution: it doesn't matter, it's OK anyway. What's important is the consistency, not the color.
- The bottom side is still soft or wet. Solution: flip the mega-cookies upside-down and bake for 5 minutes with the fan running (if you use a convection oven).
- The bottom side is black (overcooked). Solution (unfortunately only for next time): DON'T go above 180°C, DON'T run the fan for more than 5 minutes and, if necessary, reduce the baking time.

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