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lavender and orange cantuccini

italian cantuccini are crunchy (they are baked twice so they dry out) almond biscuits, traditionally from tuscany. having bought many different types over the years i thought it was time to try making my own. dried lavender from my friend liz’s garden provided me with the flavour inspiration i needed.

these biscuits are usually served with coffee or sweet wine. i prefer these with sweet wine, not least as this really brings out the orange flavour.


lavender and orange cantuccini (makes 30-40 biscuits)

250g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

50g ground almonds

150g golden caster sugar

zest of 1 orange

1 tablespoon dried lavender

2 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100g whole almonds

combine the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, sugar, orange zest and lavender in a mixing bowl.

beat the eggs with the vanilla and honey and then add to the flour mixture. using your fingers, stir the mixture so that the flour and eggs start to combine and form a dough. if it is too sticky add a little more flour.

transfer to a floured surface and knead the mixture until you have a smooth, non-sticky dough. then work in the whole almonds.

split the mixture into 3 and form into logs c3cm wide. place these on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. they will spread out as they cook so you need to leave space between them.

bake for 20 minutes at 200c. take out and leave to cool, then cut into 2cm thick slices.

spread the slices on the baking tray, standing up if possible so both cut sides are exposed. bake for another 15 minutes until they are dry and slightly browned on the edges.

leave to cool on a wire rack. serve with something to dunk them in.

Reader Comments (4)

these sound lovely - but how do you dry lavender? Having several plants in my garden I would be interested to learn how to do it

August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermaureen
they were already starting to dry when liz picked them from the plants. i just rinsed them to get rid of soil etc and then left them in a sieve, overnight, to dry. next day, pick off the individual flowers and they are ready to use.

you can add the flowers to sugar to make lavender sugar. or heat sugar and water to make sugar syrup, add the lavender while it cools. you can then use the strained sugar syrup in cakes/icing.
September 1, 2006 | Registered Commenterabby
I'd forgotten how delicious these were. I think I managed to scoff my share and John's on the train home from London. Must try them myself this summer when there is lavender in the garden.
January 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDom
amazingly it was just before Christamas that we (i.e. david) finished the final few! i think i want to use green and pink peppercorns in my next batch.
January 5, 2007 | Registered Commenterabby

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