Ingredients for 1.1 kg of biscuits:150 g plain wholemeal flour350 g plain white flour500 g brown sugar (+ 1 tsp)400 g unblanched almonds4 eggs (+ 1 yolk for "glazing")½ tsp baking powder1 tbsp wholemeal biscuit crumbs2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil1 tsp milk
In mixing bowl, using a whisk (manual or electric), beat the four whole eggs with the sugar. Now gradually add the sieved flour, already combined with the sieved baking powder, amalgamating all the ingredients thoroughly. Lastly add the almonds and the wholemeal biscuit crumbs and mix again.
Grease a baking tray with the oil (or line it with greaseproof paper and grease that) and sprinkle a little flour over the surface. Roll the dough into cylinders 3-4 cm in diameter, roughly the length of the baking tray, and then lay them on it. Brush with the egg yolk beaten with a teaspoon of milk and a teaspoon of sugar, and bake in a preheated oven, at 160 °C, for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the "sweet" rolls to cool. When they are lukewarm, use a sharp knife and slice them diagonally to form the classic Cantucci biscuit shape.
Arrange them once again on the baking tray, put it in the oven – turned off but still hot – and allow them to "dry out" for a few minutes (5-10 at the most, depending on the heat of the oven). This little “trick" makes the Cantucci biscuits dry and crunchy, but (there’s always a but!) if you overdo it with the time and the heat, they will become too dark and dried-out. Once removed from the oven for the second time, leave them to cool on a cake rack so that they are "aired" on all sides.
This is a classic recipe for Cantucci biscuits (or almost: the wholemeal biscuit crumbs are a family addition to add consistency and flavour), which in Tuscany have always been known as "biscuits from Prato", the town a few kilometres from Florence from which they originate. Nowadays, many of the Cantucci biscuits you find are too soft and spongy, lacking in charm, refined and "enhanced" with chocolate chips, all kinds of candied or dried fruit and, worse still, artificial ingredients and flavourings.