Last weekend was the 2nd annual Cape Town Cookie Swap. I don’t really have favourite cookie recipes so take the opportunity to page through all my cookbooks and to choose a new recipe to make. Katie Caldesi wrote a wonderful Italian cookery book called The Italian Cookery Course. The book is beautiful, interesting, easy to understand and covers the Italian culinary map.
I decided to make the Orange and Pistachio Cantuccini in the book and replaced the orange peel with dark chocolate chips. These biscuits are a winner and so easy to make. Flavourful and still a bit soft which I prefer to the rock hard biscotti you seem to find everywhere.
- 75g whole blanched almonds
- 75g shelled & skinned pistachios
- 250g plain flour
- 150g sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
- icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, Spread out the almonds on a baking tray and lightly toast in the oven for 5 minutes, taking care not to burn them.
- To give a brighter green look to the pistachios, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then drain. Slip off the skins.
- Mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the nuts, eggs, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Stir to form a thick but soft dough. Divide the mixture into thirds. Form each third into a sausage shape by rolling it with your hands in icing sugar. Place the rolls on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and flatten slightly. Bake for 20 minutes until rather dark golden brown.
- Remove from the oven. Cut each roll diagonally into strips about 5mm - 1cm wide. Spread the strips in a single layer on baking trays and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Enjoy as is or dunked into a glass of Vin Santo or other sweet wine.