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Christmas time is coming – as every year – with an intense gift trafficking and an amount of food that would be just enough to feed a football team for a year or so. I will be spending the festivities in Naples, mostly cherishing my idleness and dealing with  arguing sisters  (they argue at every blink of eye according to the best Italian tradition and family custom).

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This year my little sister, who is the bright star of the family with her energetic mornings and a starting brilliant future as a Rugby player (!), promised to help me with the blog by cooking yummilicious recipes together. She must be thinking this blog is all kale and soups and needs a sweet twist.

Since last Christmas she was the author of this fantastic Swiss Nutella Roll, which hit the Reddit’s top 10 (a glory moment in my life), I will very much welcome her help in the kitchen.

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To batten down the hatches, I should refrain from eating sweets and opt for a more discrete/light diet. This is the plan.

After all, the 12000 worth calories dinner is only a few days from now.  This is the wise little voice in the back of my mind.

What do I do instead? I crave for biscuits and bake a chestnut-based version of the popular Tuscan biscotti called cantuccini. Down to earth, this is reality. Ah, temptations…

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Cantuccini are a special type of biscotti, twice-baked cookies originating in the Italian city of Prato. These ones here are made with chestnut flour I bought in Tuscany. I can’t tell you how easy it was to make them. More than easy.

Uhm… well, maybe just a little less than “more than easy”. I had one (=1) difficult moment, to tell the truth, when I unexpectedly found my fingers glued to the dough in the attempt to shape it.

The dough is sticky, must be because chestnut flour absorbs water differently or because I kept it well wet;  whatever the reason, you need to wet your hands in water before touching it.  This should be just enough to help you avoid the glue effect.

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I am almost done with Christmas gifts and social dinners in London. Another biscuit, a couple of special pralines I got from Denmark, a glass of warm Mulled wine and I am all set for Italy, ready to delve into its bright sky and its mess, so crazy yet so heart-warming.

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How are you spending your Christmas holidays?

Chestnut Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 80 g of brown sugar I used coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g of plain flour
  • 250 g of chestnut flour
  • 100 g of almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of whole milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Whisk well the eggs into a large bowl with sugar.
  • Add the chestnut flour and the plain flour sifted with the baking powder, then stir in 2 or 3 tablespoons of whole milk (adjust to the right consistency) and the almonds.
  • Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spoon the dough over the tray to form a flat loaf, about 5 cm large and 2 cm thick.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove them from the oven, cut them slantwise into 2 cm thick slices.
  • Arrange them a cut side down on the tray and bake them for other 5 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
  • Let them cool down on a wire rack before serving.

 

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25 Comments

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  1. Oh and one more thing: they are indeed incredibly easy to make! I had the ‘glue’ problem for sure but like you suggested, the ‘issue’ was easily overcome with some water 🙂 Thanks again! I will post a pic in my instagram and naturally refer to you!

  2. So, I am a bit late to the party but I want to let you know that I just made these and they are DELICIOUS. And so amazing texture-wise, dry but not to dry, crumbly crunchy top that still holds it shape…Just Perfect. I substituted the regular flour with almond flour to make them paleo and it worked out fine. I also used only about half of the sugar recommended and added some cinnamon, as I find the chestnut flour so sweet already. They’re like little healthy Tuscan Biscotti…So, naturally, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this amazing recipe! I see it becoming a staple in my family!

  3. Hey there I am so happy I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Google for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  4. I have two big chestnuts trees in my backyard so I would like to try this using real chestnuts (boiled and then mashed?) instead of chestnut flour. Do you have any suggestions on how to do it best? Thanks.

  5. In your recipe it says 2 tbsp of milk, but in the directions, it say 3 tbsp. I am assuming it is 3? Also, for the plain flour are you using ‘0’ or ’00’? Thanks! Can’t wait to try these!

    1. Hi Hannah, thanks for letting me know! 2 tablespoons are fine but some flours absorb liquids differently so you may need to adjust the quantity (adding more or less liquids and using more flour to shape the dough). I usually buy a Canadian flour, which is pretty strong (more protein content). In general I look at the nutrient content of the package and read the protein “number”, if it’s around 10-12 g I know the flour is pretty strong and more suitable for baking pizza and bread. For this recipe you can a plain flour, no need to look for special flours like the “00”. Kisses, Daniela

  6. Hi Daniela,
    I see you used regular flour as well (at first I thought it consisted of only chestnut flour) but it is still less wheat than regular cantuccini. I really have to try to find chestnut flour over here at special food stores.
    BTW, what’s the difference between Cantuccini and Biscotti?
    Michal

  7. we always shy away from chestnut flour biscotti…somehow felt they will never be right….but now with this perfectly posted recipe we are feeling confident enough to try them at home…a definite for this weekend,thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  8. First of all let me say that I am totally envious that you live in my home town! I miss London and would do anything to move back, alas American husband and children and commitments don’t allow it to happen as readily as I would like!
    These cantuccini are just gorgeous! I love the beautiful deep golden colour. Thanks for visiting, your blog and recipes are beautiful.

    Nazneen

  9. What beautiful biscotti, and such a fabulous flavour too! Last time I made biscotti it was a bit of a drama LOL… not successful.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, since you live in London, maybe we can meet for coffee sometime :).
    *kisses* H