Italian desserts: Almond biscotti (cantucci)

The word ‘biscotti’ comes from the fact that these are twice (‘bis’) cooked (‘cotto’), making them crunchy and perfect for dipping into vin santo or coffee. If you don’t have vin santo, you could substitute for another dessert wine, rum or simply skip it.

almond biscotti
Lauren Bamford


125g whole almonds, chopped roughly in half
350g plain flour
200g granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 whole eggs, plus 1 egg yolk for glazing
30ml vin santo
1 tbsp honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place the almonds on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes in the oven, then let them cool.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs in (reserve the extra yolk for glazing later). Add the vin santo and honey (warmed, if not runny enough) and beat the wet ingredients with a fork, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients around them until it becomes a dough. Add the almonds and continue mixing with your hands until the dough is well combined.
  3. Shape the dough into thin logs, about 2cm high, 4cm wide, slightly flattened. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper, at least 5cm-8cm apart. Beat the extra egg yolk and use to brush the tops and sides of the logs. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes, and take out of the oven. Turn the oven down to 130C/110C fan/gas 3⁄4.
  4. When just cool enough to handle, cut the logs at a 45-degree angle, into 1.5cm slices (use a sharp, heavy kitchen knife that can easily chop through nuts). Place the biscotti on their sides on the baking tray and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until crisp and dry to the touch (but not coloured).

TIP These keep well stored in an airtight container. You can replace the almonds with large chunks of dark chocolate. Leave the logs to cool completely before slicing and only do the second baking just before serving so you can serve the biscotti warm, with the chocolate just melting.

Now buy the book

Torta della NonnaOur recipes are from Torta Della Nonna by food writer Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant, £16.99). Emiko has lived in Florence for more than a decade and the book is a collection of some of her beloved Italian desserts. To order a copy for £14.95 until 28 March, go to or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £20.