Almond Biscotti Recipe {Cantucci}

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This Almond biscotti recipe, also known as “cantucci” is a staple all over Italy. But visit Florence and you’ll see it everywhere! There are a few misconceptions about biscotti though. AND it’s not just an accompaniment to a cup of coffee or espresso.  (This post was originally posted on November 24th, 2015.)

Cantucci or biscotti in vin santo.

After a recent trip to Florence where my daughter was studying, I returned and decided to tweak my original recipe (published in 2015) to best reflect what we experienced and tasted in Tuscany.

Family in front of the Duomo in Florence.

She also took Italian  cooking classes as part of her curriculum, and was able to contribute in reworking this recipe. (She also tasted a lot of cantucci and vin santo!)

Almond biscotti on a cookie sheet.

What is biscotti?

Biscotti can refer to any cookie or “biscuit”. Derived from medieval Latin, it means “twice baked”. This is most likely where the British adopted the word biscuit for cookie. Shortbread is considered a “biscuit” and not a cookie in Britain. But in Florence, what we Americans think of as “biscotti”, are actually called “cantucci”. I will use both words here.

Ponte Vecchio.
Ponte Vecchio, Firenze.

What do you serve with biscotti, (cantucci)?

While we usually associate biscotti with a cup of coffee or espresso, they will  also served at the end of a meal in Italy with a small glass of vin santo. This almond biscotti recipe is similar to the biscotti we were served all over Florence.

Cantucci at Osteria Cinghale.
Cantucci at Osteria Cinghale Bianco.

Although there are many types of biscotti, we prefer the plain almond with vin santo.  In fact, this is the only way we ever had cantucci in Florence; following an evening meal! I also have a recipe for a chocolate, cherry and almond version which goes well with a cup of coffee or espresso. (Scroll to the end for the add-ins for the cherry, almond chocolate chip biscotti)

Biscotti with vin santo.

Are biscotti hard?

Well, yes and no! After a recent trip to Florence and many a cantucci and vin santo tastings, one of the most surprising things we noticed is that the Italian biscotto is not rock hard. A lot of biscotti served in the US are hard enough to break a tooth! In Florence, the biscotti has just a bit of give in the middle. This recipe for biscotti will yield a slightly softer result.

Does it take a long time to make this almond biscotti recipe?

The “twice-baked” might make you think that this recipe takes twice as long as another baked good. But it really doesn’t. Total active time is just over an hour.

How to make biscotti or cantucci

Another thing we noticed about the biscotti in Florence; they are not as large as American biscotti. Smaller pieces called “cantuccini”, wwith vin santo, so that’s what we’re going for here.

What are the ingredients for this almond biscotti recipe?

ingredients for biscotti.



baking powder

kosher salt





almond extract

Make sure the butter is room temperature. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the flavorings and eggs, then the flour. The dough will be quite stiff, if so, add in the chopped almonds by hand. Form the dough into two or three logs (depending on whether you want a smaller “cantuccini” or a larger biscotti for dipping in coffee. I do measure my logs using a wooden ruler just for the kitchen.

logs of biscotti.

The logs will be about 3/4″ tall by 1 1/2″ wide and about 13″ long. Chill the logs about 20 minutes. Especially if it’s a warm day. Bake the logs just until golden, about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

The logs should give just slightly to the touch. Let them cool about 10 minutes. At this point they can be fragile, so if you don’t have a large offset spatula, you can use a cookie sheet without a lip to transfer the log to a cutting board.

second bake for biscotti.

Cut the logs on the diagonal with a serrated knife. Carefully transfer back to the cookie sheets for the second bake. For the second bake, remember that the bottom is the part that will brown, not the tops, so check at around 5-7 minutes. Once they are lightly golden brown, remove from oven and flip each biscotti over. If you’re using two baking sheets, reverse their position for more even baking. (Middle to bottom and bottom up to middle).

Almond biscotti recipe on cookie sheet.

When done, let the biscotti cool until you’re able to transfer to a wire rack. They will continue to harden slightly as they cool.

Store biscotti in an airtight tin for a week to ten days. (Longer if they last that long!)

Do you have a friend who loves Italian cuisine? A basket of cantucci and a bottle of vin santo would be a lovely holiday or hostess gift!

almond biscotti recipe and vin santo in basket.

What is vin santo?

Vin santo or “holy wine” is an Italian dessert wine. Traditionally served in Tuscany, vin santo is made with Trebbiano and Malvasia, but it can also be made with Sangiovese for a rose version. Similar to sherry, vin santo can vary in sweetness from dry to very sweet. Vin santo is served at the end of a meal as a “digestivo” or digestive drink.

Almond biscotti and vin santo.
Vin Santo and cantucci in Florence.

As with other Italian products such at San Marzano DOP tomatoes, you’ll want to check the label of the vin santo you purchase. Look for the DOC label.

vin santo label.

DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or DOC, which means “designation of controlled origin. You can read more about DOC here.

Here’s the almond biscotti recipe! (With an adaptation for cherry, almond and chocolate chip biscotti).

If you love Italian cookies you’ll love these Blood OrangeRicotta Cookies!

Cantucci or biscotti in vin santo.

Almond Biscotti or "cantucci".

Crisp almond biscotti also called "cantucci" are delicious dipped in a cup of coffee, espresso or vin santo. They make a great holiday or hostess gift!
5 from 47 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
chill 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Cookie
Cuisine Italian
Servings 48 pieces
Calories 84 kcal



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Coarsely chop almonds, then lightly toast for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat (sliicone baking sheets)
  • In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add Amaretto and almond extract, then beat in eggs, one at a time.
  • Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add to butter and sugar, just until mixed.
  • Stir in chopped almonds. If dough is too stiff, mix in by hand.
  • Form into 2 or 3 long logs about 1 1/2" wide and about an 3/4" high.
  • Chill until dough is firm. About 20 minutes.
  • Bake biscotti at 350 degrees F. for about 20-25 minutes or until golden. Don't over cook. They will be very light and give slightly to the touch. Transfer to wire rack and cool about 10 minutes.
  • Cut logs diagonally into 1/2 to 3/4" wide slices. Bake, cut side down, for about 7 minutes. Turn biscotti and then bake another 7 minutes, or until just barely golden. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


  1. Don't over bake the biscotti during the first bake. You'll be baking them again and they will continue to harden as they cool.
  2. For cherry, almond chocolate chip biscotti follow above biscotti recipe and add 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips and 6 ounces dried cherries when you fold in the almonds. 
  3. Store biscotti in an air-tight container. They will last at least a week to 10 days. 
  4. Do not refrigerate!


Serving: 1pieceCalories: 84kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 28mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 69IUCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Wow! You have filled these biscotti with some of my favorite stuff!! I would definitely love to eat a couple of these! Wishing you a fantastic and delicious Thanksgiving holiday! Enjoy! ~ Ramona 🙂

  2. All my favorite flavors Cynthia!!! Cherries and almonds and chocolate. So pretty for a holiday brunch. I am hosting a Christmas Coffee in December and I will have to make these beauties for sure. XO

  3. I really enjoyed these biscotti. Since I had a big bag of hazelnuts on hand, I substituted them for the almonds and used Frangelico instead of the Amaretto. Just delicious!

  4. First time making biscotti. Had a couple of minor problems like having to figure out what to sub for amaretto. Solved it and then freaked bc the batter was sticky. Lol then realized the cooking time in fridge helped that ajd using a little flour to make the logs helped. My only question so far is how do you remove the logs to the cookie rack without them breaking in the middle? Mine is very much wanting to break in the middle if I try to lift it. I’m letting it cool longer on the cookie sheet then will attempt it again. I have good baking intuition usually but apparently no Italian genes so I am working my way through learning this one. Thanks for your easy to follow instructions. I’m sending to my mom who is 85 and has a hard time getting out in a late package of stocking stuffers.
    Hoping to make a hazelnut recipe as well but peeking around for best options. Thanks for the recipe share!

    1. Hi Amy. If you’re sure it’s baked long enough, you can transfer it to a cutting board using a cookie sheet without a lip (sort of like a pizza peel) or a wide spatula. I hope that helps?

  5. 5 stars
    I went to Tuscany in 2019 and saw “cantucci” all over. I’m happy to have found this recipe and to see this recipe served the traditional way with vin santo which I love!

  6. 5 stars
    Dessert wine and almond biscotti – the perfect ending to any meal in my recipe book. Thanks for such a great suggestion and in depth recipe for these delicious biscotti.

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