Saturday, 1 September 2012

almond joy

H baked a very good treat following a recipe he got from a colleague for a biscotti variant called cantuccini. These Italian biscuits (Zwieback) translate to “little corners” and were fun and easy to make. The ingredients as presented make a big batch, an entire baking sheet. The biscotti will keep for several days. In fact Pliny the Elder, upon first being acquainted with such non-perishable food boasted that they had a shelf-life of centuries. While I don’t suspect that’s true (since they get rock-hard eventually), being able to keep such stores was quite an important advancement for the Roman army and allowed for expansion of the empire. One could also just halve all the measurements, I suppose.
Into a large mixing bowl, pour 400 grams and add four medium eggs, beating them until frothy. Next add 500 grams of flour and approximately 400 grams of almonds (whole or sliced). Add a few drops of bitter almond oil or vanilla extract and one package of baking yeast and knead the mixture well by hand.
Turn on the oven to 180 ° C and allow to pre-heat while letting the dough to sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Next, form the dough into small loaves and place on the baking sheet for slicing. The dough is quite sticky but manageable. Allow to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, possibly removing the sheet to re-slice the biscuits half way through, as they will expand somewhat and become difficult to cut once baked and hardened. Afterwards, allow to cool and enjoy with coffee and/or grappa, and be sure to share with one’s co-workers and let them know that cantuccini was a staple of the Roman legion.