On my culinary tour to Italy in 2002, I had the most amazing Italian ‘biscotti’ in Siena. Cantuccini are what biscotti are known as in this region – small cookies, shaped like biscotti, but soft and melt in your mouth!
Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).
In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
Add the eggs and beat until fluffy.
Add the orange rind and vin santo (or other liqueur) or juice and rind and mix until blended. In a food processor or blender, chop the almonds, apricots and cranberries.
Add to the butter mixture and mix well.
Sift the flours with the baking powder and salt and add slowly to the butter mixture.
Stir until blended.
Note, the above mixing can also be done using a bowl and a wooden spoon.
Line baking sheets with parchment (or grease and dust with flour or cornstarch, shaking off excess).
Dust your work surface and hands with flour.
Split the dough into 4 and shape into logs (you can also use saran wrap, parchment or waxed paper to shape/roll the logs), making them slightly shorter than the length of the tray, to 1¼” high and 2 in” wide.
Place logs carefully onto baking tray, separating logs (leave about 2” between each log).
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until they are golden and dry (they will seem a little soft).
Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Using a shape knife, cut ¾” to 1” slices at an angle with a sharp knife, sawing the surface lightly to just pierce through and the chopping through cleanly once, rather than sawing through the biscuits as they may break.
Handle them carefully as they will be fragile before their second baking.
Lay the slices cut-side-up onto the baking sheet and broil for few minutes to toast the biscuit interior but keep an eye on this as you don’t want to burn the biscotti.
Cool before storing in an air-tight container, where they will keep for several weeks.
*Pistachios or hazelnuts or a combination of all nuts can be used. Toast the nuts at 350 F° for 5 to 10 minutes before using them in the recipe – it gives the nuts more flavour. Let cool, chop and use in recipe. Chopped dried apricots and/or cranberries, or chocolate chips can also be used (reduce amount of nuts by the amount of chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips used).