Festive Cantuccini or Biscotti

 

A final, final (promise) Festive Recipe before we move into the New Year.

I´m not sure why, but in our family, Biscotti were always called Cantuccini.  Maybe it´s because the words biscotto (singular) or biscotti (plural) in Italian mean biscuits (cookies) and could apply to any type at all.  I´m not sure.

Of course, now we make our own, and like many of you out there, we add our own special twists to appeal to the people we are giving them to, or the time of year, or depending on what is available.

I´ve made these Festive Cantuccini for the last few years at this time of year because there are so many beautiful dried fruits available and the spices, to me, evoke Christmas smells.  Of course, the fruits, nuts and spices can be changed to please you and your loved ones.

Delicious served with frothy coffee or Vin Santo for dipping.  Buon Appetito!

Ingredients

  • Heat oven to 180º or Gas 4 and line 2 flat baking trays with silicon or greaseproof paper
  • 350g plain flour plus 2tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 3tsp mixed spice
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Grated zest of one large orange and one large lemon
  • About 200g of dried fruit (I used candied peel and dried cherries)
  • 100g nuts (I used whole blanched almonds)

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl with the zest and then stir in the beaten egg with a broad knife initially and then your hands. Keep kneading even though it seems dry, it will come together.

Now add in the fruit and nuts and mix in well.  Divide the mixture into four and make a sausage shape out of each piece, about 30-40cm long. Put two on each baking sheet and bake for about 30 mins until firm.  It will spread out slightly but still be pale.

Leave them to cool slightly for about 10 mins, reduce the oven temperature to 120º/Gas 1. Cut diagonally into slices and put back on trays and into oven.  Continue to bake for about 30 minutes, turning half way through.

Can be stored in an airtight tin for up to one month (like they´ll last that long!).

All that remains for me to say on this last day of the year is, Health and Happiness to you all in 2012!