Requires: A large shallow baking tray ((approximately 33cm X 44cm in size) and a pastry brush
Preheat the oven to 180°C conventional oven (350° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Line a large shallow baking tray (approximately 33cm X 44cm in size) with baking paper.
Place the almonds onto the prepared baking tray. Bake for 3 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
To make the dough for the cantucci (Tuscan-style biscotti), place the eggs and sugar into a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar together on medium speed until just combined. Beat in the butter until well combined and creamy. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the 00 flour, one tablespoon at a time. Stir in the honey, Vin Santo Liquor (or alternative), orange zest and Italian baking powder to make a smooth dough. Lastly stir in the cooled almonds and add a pinch of salt– you may need to use your hands.
Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties, and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.
Halve the mixture. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking tray and shape into 2 logs of 6 -7cm in diameter and 3cm in height (approximately 20cm in length), allowing 10cm minimum between each log. Wrap in plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Note: The diameter of the cantucci can be increased but no more than 10cm. You will need to allow a longer cooking time.
Meanwhile use a fork to lightly whisk together the egg and milk to make an egg wash.
Remove the logs from the fridge. Discard the plastic wrap (cling film). Use a pastry brush to brush the cantucci logs with the egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Transfer the logs to a chopping board. Use a serrated knife to cut the logs into 1cm thick cantucci slices. Return the cantucci to the baking tray, flat-side down.
Bake for a further 10 minutes, turning half way through cooking.
Allow the cantucci (Tuscan-style biscotti) to cool completely before serving. Cantucci are twice baked biscuits which are best served with Vin Santo liquor (alternatively use sweet dessert wine such as Noble One) or coffee– buon appetito.
Tip: Cantucci will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.