Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TWD: Cantuccini with Dark Chocolate and Coconut

When Paul and I were first married, we lived in a two bedroom town home that shared a wall, a porch and a walkway with our neighbors, an elderly couple and their yappy Yorkie. Money was very tight and although we liked the idea of subscribing to the daily paper we chose to forgo doing so in order to save a couple of extra dollars each week. However, one Sunday after returning home from the early Mass, we were delighted to see a big, fat newspaper stuffed with ads sitting on our front porch. The news-people must have dropped us a free paper in an attempt to entice us to subscribe! We snatched up the paper and headed inside to enjoy a breakfast of scrambled eggs and hot coffee while leisurely looking over the news articles and perusing the shopping ads. We enjoyed it so much that we actually considered subscribing just to the Sunday paper, but our practical sides won out and we resisted temptation. However, the next week we were happy to find a Sunday paper sitting on our stoop once again. We did not question it and took it inside to enjoy once more. The following week, the paper showed up again. By then, we thought that perhaps our "free trial" was supposed to last a whole month and resolved to simply enjoy the paper for as long as it continued to come to us. 

Later that same week, I was outside collecting the mail when our neighbor walked outside and began to chat with me. We briefly discussed a story that had been in the news recently when my neighbor offhandedly mentioned: "Speaking of the news, I have had the hardest time getting the paper boy to deliver our Sunday paper. It's been missing the past few weeks."


Remember how I said that we shared a front porch with our neighbors? Apparently the newspaper boy dropped the Sunday paper off a little closer to our door than their door and we erroneously thought it was for us. We had been stealing the neighbors' paper for weeks! I'm pretty sure they already disliked us, so this would certainly kill any chance of us being invited over for a dinner party.

We just quietly stopped stealing their paper and went back to enjoying our Sunday mornings without it. How does this story relate to this week's Tuesdays with Dorie challenge? Not really at all, but for some reason in the process of making these delightful cookies, this memory popped into my head. Maybe it was the fact that these cantuccini, a classical recipe Tuscan recipe for the more ubiquitous biscotti, pair so perfectly with a hot mug of coffee - just like a Sunday morning paper. Unlike biscotti, the cantuccini do not incorporate butter or oil into the batter, using only the fat found in the eggs to flavor and enhance the dough. They bake up extra-crispy and crunchy - the perfect texture for dunking.

I omitted the almonds called for in the original recipe and instead added 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1 cup shredded coconut to make a flavor reminiscent of an almond joy. Thankfully, these come together very quickly and easily. I made them while barely awake at 6:15 AM on a Saturday morning because the children refused to let me sleep in at all. I got them back later in the day by putting them to bed a whopping two hours early.

Emma found them to be the perfect teething cookie. Paul thought these were great with coffee or chai. Matthew just likes any excuse to eat cookies for breakfast. Either way, this is a great recipe!

Cantuccini with Dark Chocolate and Coconut
adapted from Baking with Julia

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Toss with the coconut and chocolate. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead together into a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 12-inch long log. Transfer the logs to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until brown and firm. Remove from the oven and transfer the logs from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

Once cool, cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Using the same baking sheet as before, lay the cantuccini cut side down on the baking sheet and return to the oven for about 10-15 additional minutes, or until browned and firm. Enjoy with coffee or tea!


  1. Love your chocolate version!!! Emma looks like she did, too!

  2. Emma is so sweet! I love your substitutions---great idea!

  3. yeah, these are like the cookie version of melba toast-- love that picture of emma! and your flavor combo sounds great.

  4. Okay, loving the coconut and chocolate version! These look great!!
    And I love your story! So funny. Great post.

  5. Ohhhh...you had me at dark chocolate and coconut...

  6. What a wonderful story and a great adaptation of the recipe.

  7. Loved your trip down memory lane. Struggling days can seem romantic once they are behind us :-).
    Your version of cantuccini with the coconut and chocolate sounds great. Will definitely try it.

  8. Hilarious story and it goes perfectly with "cookies for breakfast"!

  9. Your version sounds delicious! Love your paper story - classic; and the napkin (or placemat?), beautiful! Emma is adorable. :)