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Tuscany's Cantucci


From the Biscottificio Antonio Mattei;

The Antonio Mattei cookie factory in Prato, Tuscany has been making one product since its founding in 1858: dried biscuits called cantucci, or "biscotti di Prato." (In America, we refer to them as "biscotti.") Come in the morning when the ovens are hot, and see a good portion of Prato's residents in line to buy their daily cantucci supply.

Wine recommendations: Cantucci and Vin Santo is such a classic pairing that some Vin Santo producers hope to move away from cantucci out of fear of being typecast. But why fight tradition? A genuine Tuscan meal always ends with a glass of Vin Santo, such as Castello di Brolio's Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, and a plate of cantucci. The cookies are dipped into the wine quickly so that they absorb its sweet aromas and a superficial coating of moisture but maintain crunchiness in the mouth.

Biscottificio Antonio Mattei
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup unpeeled almonds
1/3 cup pine nuts
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 360°F. Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs, then remaining ingredients. Roll into a ball. On a clean surface, shape dough into 1-inch ribbons as long as your baking sheet (covered with parchment paper) will allow. Lightly flatten the tops of the rolls and bake for 30 minutes. When still warm, but firm, cut rolls into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Make sure the slices don't touch and bake on their sides for 10 minutes at a lower heat (250°F). Turn the cantucci over, and bake the other side 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
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