Twice baked Italian cantuccini cookies are a little extra work than your average biscuit recipe, but this Italian biscotti recipe with apricots and cinnamon is so worth it!
These long lasting Italian biscotti are flavoured with apricots throughout the dough and spiced with cinnamon too. They are quite different to the usual biscuits I make, like these ginger biscuits or these party ring biscuits.
Unlike the biscuit recipes that you are probably used to, the difference with these it that you bake Italian biscotti in a log shape like these fig rolls.
Cantucci biscuits are typically harder, owing to the double baking process. But, the double baking also makes them longer lasting, so the shelf life for these Italian biscuits is greatly improved in comparison with a normal baked biscuit.
The cinnamon in this recipe gives them a real Christmas biscuit feel, they make a lovely homemade Christmas gift from the kitchen too. But you don’t have to wait until a certain time of the year. Crunchy Biscotti can be enjoyed at any time.
Biscotti or Cantucci or Cantuccini?
In the UK or USA we would refer to this type of biscuit as biscotti. They are actually known in Italy as Cantucci and originate in Tuscany. The word biscotti is a plural for the Italian word biscotto, which just means biscuit or cookie of any kind and using any ingredients.
The difference between Cantucci and Cantuccini is simply the size. Think of the “ini” at the end of the word like “mini” it just means little or smaller and you will find many Italian words add the “ini” on the end to signify this. Think “Bambini“.
You can see where things can be confusing if you were to ask for biscotti in Italy.
Cantucci biscuits typically contain no fat, so you won’t find any butter or oil in this biscotti recipe. They are a hard biscuit that is baked twice to improve it’s shelf life.
Owing to the hard texture of these biscuits, they make the perfect Italian biscuits for coffee. Dipping them in coffee, hot chocolate, tea or warm milk will soften them up but they won’t easily crumble like other softer biscuits.
In Italy, you may also find these crunchy biscuits served with a dessert wine called Vin Santo after a meal.
You will most commonly find Cantucci with almonds, but there are many flavour combinations to try. I didn’t add almonds to this particular fruity cantucci recipe because I wanted to make these biscuits more child friendly.
How to Make Cantucci Biscuits
Being kept super busy most of the time and squeezing in some happy baking moments whenever I can. I always thought Italian biscotti would be too much of a faff to make. All that having to bake them twice, seemed like too much work initially. But the result you get making your own cantuccini biscuits are worth the extra time and effort here.
If you have never made biscotti before, let me explain the process. Firstly, they are baked as a cookie log, taken out and allowed to cool slightly. Then they are cut and baked again with a single turn during the baking time. See what I mean when I say it didn’t really appeal to me at first?! But honestly, once they’re ready and you take that first crunchy biscotti bite you realise that the extra work is worth it. They taste amazing! I will be sure to be trying out some more flavour combinations!
Owing to the fact that there is no added fat in these biscuits, the initial dough can look rather crumbly in texture, this is normal. Once you add your eggs, it will bind the biscotti dough together and as you handle and roll it, the dough will come together so you can form your log. You might need to mix it a bit but it will happen eventually.
Don’t rush the cooling process after the first bake before you slice the biscuits. If you cut the log straight out of the oven, you may squash the log as it will need 15 minutes to firm up a little bit before you use a serrated knife to create your biscuits.
If you want to make these Cantucci biscuits into Cantuccini biscuits you can! Remember, it’s just about the size. Make your biscotti logs smaller and don’t bake them for the first time for as long. I would cut the initial baking time to 20 minutes here, but keep a close eye on them and bake them until they have lightly browned.
When it comes to flavour choices for Italian Biscotti, you will usually find them containing almonds. But the flavour list is endless. I use dried apricots and cinnamon, but other flavourings as well as almonds include cranberries, pistacchio, lemon, orange and chocolate. You can try other flavours if you like, just be sure to use dried fruits or berries only and not fresh. To flavour with lemon or orange, you can use a little citrus extract combined with the zest of your chosen fruit too.
I don’t recommend fresh fruit owing to the liquid content. Fresh fruit contains a lot more liquid that would mess up the ratio of wet and dry ingredients and make
You can store your biscuits in an airtight container, somewhere cool and dry, for several weeks.
Italian Cantucci Biscuits with Apricots
- 140 g Ready to Eat Dried Apricots
- 275 g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 150 g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 0.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Measure out the apricots and use scissors to cut them up into small pieces.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon together in a bowl.
- Add the apricots and sugar and mix through.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly to form a dough.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until it becomes smooth.
- Divide the dough into two (weighing about 340g each) and roll into a log shape measuring about 4cm across in diameter.
- Place both logs in the oven at 190C (170C fan assisted) for 20-25 minutes until they are lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Take a serrated knife and cut the logs into pieces which are 1cm thick.
- Place on ungreased baking paper with the cut side down and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, turn them over onto the other side and bake for a further 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container.
Looking for More Italian Biscuits?
Try these Amaretti Biscuits now!