Our Italian instructor Lorenza brought cantuccini to class last tuesday. They were so good that I ate 6 of them, and that I decided to make some myself one day later. Regular cantuccini are made with almond-extract (you know the taste of Amaretto?), but I wanted them to taste fresh and citrusy, as spring is on its way here in Germany… So I made cantuccini all’arrancia, with orange zest and juice.
They’re nice little companions for cappuccino and espresso, but they’re also nice little companions for, well, nothing :) (which means you can also eat them on their own.)
I used my homemade vanilla sugar on this. You just pop scraped vanilla beans you used on other recipes into some regular granulated sugar, and after a few days you have the BEST and most aromatic vanilla sugar you can get. If you wanted to you could additionally scrape the inside of a vanilla bean into this for bourbon vanilla sugar. Seriously, forget the instant stuff, it’s made from waste in paper industries. It will never be as good (and cheap!) as this.
Get together your all purpose flour, vanilla sugar (you could also use regular sugar and vanilla extract), baking powder, salt, butter, egg, orange & lemon zest and orange juice.
Combine all ingredients until a nice dough forms. Skin the almonds (just pour some boiling water over them and let sit for a couple of minutes, they will slip out very easily) and add them to your dough. If it’s too sticky, just add some more flour. Pop the whole thing into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Take the dough out of the fridge and form two bars. Bake them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 25 minutes (really depends, it might also take longer) at 180°C.
Note: this is my cute mini baking sheet for my cute mini microwave-oven. It’s half as big as a regular baking sheet, just to get the proportions right.
When they’re not too soft anymore, cut them diagonally into 1cm-slices and bake these again, each side for 10 minutes.
Once they’re done, you should get something that looks like this.
145g (5oz) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
80g (3oz) vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar and vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
zest of one orange
1 tsp lemon zest
15g (0.5oz) butter
100g (3.5oz) skinned almonds (whole)
Knead the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, orange juice, zest and butter until a nice smooth dough forms. Add the almonds and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).