All I want for Christmas is Italian Tozzetti

Tozzetti – Italian Almond Biscuits

Origin: Italy

I can barely begin to describe to you the exquisite feeling of bliss that sparked through my whole body when I took my first bite of Tozzetti last month. The sweet and savoury flavours of this almond biscuit oozed out as I dunked a slice into my morning coffee. And afternoon coffee. And evening coffee. I just couldn’t get enough!

Italian biscuits, or biscotti, are baked twice, giving them a hard and dry texture, and thus long shelf life. In fact, the word biscotti is derived from bis, the Latin word for twice, and coctum, meaning baked. The biscotti traces its roots to Ancient Rome, where it became a popular nourishment for travellers and the Roman Legions on their long journeys. Can you just imagine a Roman soldier declaring victory over some helpless Mediterranean town and celebrating over biscotti and wine?

After the fall of the Roman empire, it was not until the culinary age of the Renaissance era that the biscotti reemerged in Tuscany, as Tozzetti, incorporating the flavour of locally grown almonds. Popular thereafter, they are best enjoyed with coffee or mulled wine, making them perfect for the Christmas season.

Hundreds of varieties of Tozzetti can be found today across Italy, with flavourings of aniseed and amaretto to chocolate, rum and raisins. But today, in honour of the lady who introduced me to Tozzetti and forever changed my morning coffee experience, I’m sharing Daniella’s Tozzetti with you.  Harking back to its ancestors in Tuscany, this biscotti is full of sweet almond flavour.

Check out the recipe below, and watch the full video here for a better cooking experience!

Ingredients

500g all-purpose flour

450g sugar

Zest of half a lemon

16g vanilla yeast

250g almonds

3 eggs

Milk to bind

Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Cooking

  • Sift the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl or onto a clean work surface.
  • Add lemon zest, yeast and almonds to the mix.
  • Make a small dip in the centre of the dry mix for the wet ingredients.
  • Break the eggs (yolk and egg white) onto the dry mix.
  • Add approximately half a cup of milk, and using your hands, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Add more milk if needed to bind the mix.
  • Using flour or sugar on your hands and work surface, continue to work the flour until it is sticky and soft, and form a dough ball.
  • Divide the dough into three equal log shapes.
  • Gently place the logs on the baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, test the logs with a wooden toothpick to ensure the dough has dried out and the crust is golden brown. If not, give the logs another couple of minutes in the oven.
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven and gently lift and transfer the baked dough to a wire rack or clean work surface. Allow to cool for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 150C.
  • Once cool, slice the logs into biscuits (2cm width) with a sharp knife, using both hands as shown below to achieve a clean slice. Arrange the slices on to the baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the biscuits are a beautiful golden brown colour.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (on the baking tray itself).

Cooking Tips

Use regular yeast (instant) and a teaspoon of vanilla extract if vanilla yeast is unavailable.

Do not over-bake the biscuits if they feel slightly soft after the second bake. They will become hard as they continue to lose the last of any residual moisture as they cool.

Serving

Store the tozzetti in an airtight container. They will keep for approximately 2 weeks.

Merry Christmas!

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Get more inspiration here on enjoying Italian desserts for Christmas.


I would love to have a look if you make it! Tag your photo with #veggieshewrote on Instagram.

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