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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Cantucci

I always love some of these hard little biscuits in at Christmas - they help soak up liquer type drinks which tend to get proffered at this type of year although they are traditionally served with Vin Santo a very sweet white Italian Wine. Perhaps I am uncouth but I also love them with a nice hot Masawati Coffee, (hot strong coffee liberally laced with dark rum) Hot Cinnamon Chocolate or Milky white coffee. Their flavour goes well and they are more than a little moorish. They keep well in an air tight tin so make them in advance of the Christmas bake and it is one more less thing to do then.

4oz unblanched almonds (ones with their skins still on)
8oz plain flour
3 1/2 oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs beaten
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Heat your oven to 190 degrees C; 375 degrees F or Gas Mark 5 and spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Let them cool down then chop half the amount coarsely and put this half to one side for use later on; grind the rest in a food processor or blender. Combine the ground nuts with flour, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Add the eggs and stir the ingredients together I use a round bladed knife to roughly bring the mixture together. Now mix in the coarsely chopped nuts to the dough together with the vanilla. Put the drawn together dough onto a board and divide into three equal parts. Roll each into a sausage about 1 inch thick. Put the sausages onto a greased baking sheet separated well apart from each other and brush with slightly beaten egg white. Bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes. Take out the oven and cut the sausages on the angle in slices about 1/2 inch thick. Lower the oven temperature to 140 degrees C; 275 degrees F or Gas mark 1 putting the slices back into the oven on the baking sheet. Cook for another 20 minutes, cooling on a wire rack and then store in an air tight container.

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