are Italian almond biscuits that originated in the city of Prato. They are twice-baked, oblong-shaped, dry, crunchy, and may be dipped in a drink, traditionally Vin Santo.
Although commonly used to indicate the biscuits of Prato, biscotti di Prato, in modern Italy and Argentina they are also known widely by the name “cantuccini”. These names actually suggest other similar regional products of Italy. The term cantuccini is most commonly used today in Tuscany, but originally refers to variations or imitations which deviate from the traditional recipe. They vary in a few key points such as the use of yeasts, acids (to make them less dry) and flavourings. Rusks are larger, longer biscuits, rustic bread dough enriched with olive oil and anise seeds
The confusion on the name may have been born from the fact that on the old sign (still present) of “Biscottificio Antonio Mattei,” (the leading manufacturer of biscuits of Prato), is written “Manufacturers of Cantuccini.” This at the time was one of the major makers of biscuits. The sign has remained unchanged, and after such a long time people are accustomed to associate the name “cantuccini” with the biscuits typical of Sardinia and Sicily.
In North America, where “biscuit” has taken on other meanings, any twice-baked biscuits are likely to be known as Biscotti.
Since they are very dry, Biscotti traditionally are served with a drink, into which they may be dunked. In Italy they are typically served as an after-dinner dessert with a Tuscan fortified wine called vin santo.
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