“I’m deciding between cantucci and tiramisu for Friendsgiving dessert.”
“I have never heard of cantucci.”
“Oh… aren’t biscotti just hard cookies that are difficult to eat?”
“You’re supposed to dip them in coffee.”
“Nobody ever told me that!”
Real life conversations between my husband and myself. I have been reminiscing hardcore about my trip to Italy. It holds a special place in my heart, and I don’t see that dissipating any time soon. One of the recipes we learned to make was cantucci, crunchy mini almond cookies served with vanilla ice cream and dessert wine or brandy for dipping. I had considered making these and bringing a nice bottle of brandy to our Friendsgiving dinner, but when my sweet David declared his distaste for them I decided to make tiramisu. Elyse loves my tiramisu so I knew I would have a winner anyway.
The crunchy almond cookies stayed on my mind, so when it came time to bake cookies for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I decided to make Cherry Hazelnut Biscotti. I swapped the almonds for hazelnuts because this time of year makes me crave them, and added dried cherries for a pop of color and flavor. I dipped a few in chocolate, too, because duh, it’s chocolate! I also swapped the name cantucci for biscotti because biscotti is the more commonly understood term here in America, and from what I remember, cantucci is specific to the almonds and Tuscany. So here we are left with cherry hazelnut biscotti that are perfect for dipping in coffee, hot cocoa, or brandy. Diner’s choice.
I sent cookies to The Baking Fairy, Jennifer Sikora, and Brunch with Joy. In turn, I received Brownie Dulce de Leche Bites from A Cookie Named Desire, Salted Caramel Toffee Chip Cookies from In the Kitchen with KP, Oreo Nutella Cookies from The Sassy Life. Abby, Katie, and I had so much fun checking the mailbox every day to see if more cookies had arrived. Then of course sampling our sweet deliveries!
I’m already looking forward to and planning for next year’s cookie swap! What are you favorite cookies to make this time of year?
45 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 200 grams (1 1/2 cups) chopped hazelnuts
- 500 grams (4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 250 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 grams (1 1/4 cups) dried cherries
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place the chopped hazelnuts on a sheet tray and roast until fragrant and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 4 eggs and the vanilla. Mix and knead with your hands until the dough begins to hold together.
- Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle the dried cherries and toasted hazelnuts over the dough, and knead until thoroughly incorporated, and the dough holds together well. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log, about 2 inches in diameter and 12-16 inches long. Place two logs together on a silpat-lined sheet tray, leaving space between them, and use the heel of your hand to gently press the tops of each log to flatten slightly.
- Beat the remaining egg, add 1 teaspoon of water, and brush onto the tops of each log.
- Place the sheet trays in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the trays half way through.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest until they are cool enough to handle. Lower the oven temperature to 300F.
- Slice the logs on the diagonal, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart, and place back onto the sheet trays.
- Bake another 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, transfer immediately to wire cooling racks, and allow to cool completely.
- Place the sliced biscotti back onto the sheet trays, lower t