Gf Almond Biscotti - Cantucci Senza Glutine - A Texan in Italy Blog at - 322428

A Texan in Italy

GF Almond Biscotti - Cantucci Senza Glutine 
Feb. 22, 2014 9:33 am 
Updated: Feb. 23, 2014 7:03 pm
Not too happy about the new Italian government.  I have little faith.  So, off with the TV and into the kitchen.

I've tried to make these traditional Tuscan treats for about a month now.  I think I have concocted a good recipe.  They are supposed to be hard.  Almost break your teeth hard.  This makes them great candidates for dunking in various beverages.  I know some people dunk them in their cappuccini.  I like to dip them in a desert wine called Vin Santo;  yet another Tuscan delight.  If you can't find Vin Santo you can also use Passito (a Sicilian desert wine).  I don't know any alternatives to those two wines though.

So, here goes:

Don't preheat your oven.

250g GF flour mix (mine is 65% white rice, 25% potato starch, 10%tapioca starch)
50g masa harina (super fine corn meal)
1 tsp xanthan gum
230g sugar (I used 140g raw + 90g white: Why? because it is all I had in the pantry :-)
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
120g halved or roughly chopped raw almonds with the skins on (Use good quality, fresh almonds.  Old almonds ruin these cookies.)
3 large eggs
40g softened butter
1/2 tsp almond extract (I used bitter almond extract.  Why?  Because I can.  I understand it is not available in the US because unless it has been treated it can make humans ill.  Ours is treated. Use your kind, it should be ok just not as strong as the bitter kind.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Don't use a food processor.

Mix flours, xanthan gun, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl with a whisk.  Add the almonds.  Mix well.  

Add eggs, butter and extracts and mix well with a rubber scraper or rubber spoon.  This mixture gets pretty sticky wet.  

Once completely mixed, let the mixture rest.  Turn on the oven and heat to 300°F.  Let the mixture sit while the oven heats.  I have practiced and find that the rice flour absorbs the liquids and the outcome leaves a less gritty product.  Have faith.

Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.

When the oven is heated to 300°F wet your hands with water.  Use your hands to collect half the mixture.  Form it into a roll approximately 2-3 inches wide.  Place it on the baking sheet.  Do the same to the rest of the mixture.  You should have two 8 inch long 2.5 inch wide "loaves".

They shouldn't be a perfect loaf shape.  If you have ever seen a hand rolled Tuscan cigar, the loaves should look like one of those (the shape not the size).  The ends should taper slightly.

Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until they are light brown and firm to the touch.  Take them out of the oven.  Now there are two schools of thought here.

One school says cut them immediately while hot and pop them back into the oven until golden brown.  The other school says let them cool down for 10 minutes then finish the process.  I've tried both ways.  

I say take them out of the oven.  Wait as many minutes you need where the loaves are cool enough to touch them and not burn your fingers.  This depends on the temperature of your kitchen at the time of baking.  Then cut the loaves into diagonal one inch pieces.  Lay them onto one side and bake again until they are nice and golden brown.  Flip them so they get nice and golden on each side.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.

Let them cool before eating.  The harder the better.  These are good to bake in the morning so they are ready for desert that evening or even for breakfast the day after and after.

Have fun!!


Feb. 22, 2014 8:27 pm
I love your critique of Italy, a very interesting read and I wish you'd have left it up! It's so cool to learn what's happening in other countries, our own problems seem so all consuming. What brought you to be living in a country you seem to so wholeheartedly despise?
Feb. 23, 2014 1:18 am
Hi Raedwulf. Just venting. I didn't want to blog poetic like other people. Just wanted to throw some gluten free recipes your way. Politics just got the best of me after having seen our third non-elected prime minister inaugurated. It's a dictatorship here. I could go on but it wouldn't be very all recipes. :-) It's like living in the third world here. :-(
Feb. 23, 2014 4:57 pm
I too miss your blogs of life in Italy as seen thru the eyes of an American woman. I wanted to read the deleted blog to my wife. I hope you continue blogging about life in Italy. my wife and I wanted to tour Italy. I hope things improve!
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Buckwheat Queen

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Dallas, Texas, USA

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About Me
American living in Italy. I'm married to an Italian and a mom to three Italian/American girls - all teenagers. Celiac sufferer and allergic to ALL seafood, which is a huge bummer...especially in Italy. I don't know which I like more, airplanes or food but can say I don't care for airplane food!
My favorite things to cook
Sweet and savoury whatevers, doesn't mean that my creations are always appetizing. I like trying to adapt gluten recipes with non gluten alternatives. I enjoy the challenge. I prefer to use ingredients from their raw state or as least processed as possible. Mixing different types of GF ingredients is very interesting for learning their qualities. Most of the things I flub up get turned into pie crusts, coatings for baked chicken or bases for other dishes. It's like chemistry lab but you can eat the experiment. I also enjoy trying new ingredients found during my travels.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Burning bread. I get it from my mom. My dad taught me how to choose the worst line at the grocey store. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Every day. If I can get my kids to eat it, it's a triumph!
My cooking tragedies
I can't seem to make a decent Gluten Free pizza crust. Grump, grump.
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