While in Italy last month with Italian Fix (still working on those posts!), we had the pleasure of taking a cooking class with Giulia in her home kitchen in Tuscany. She led our group with the ease, grace and enthusiasm of someone perfectly suited to their work. Together we tasted fresh fava beans with pecorino cheese and truffle honey (oh my God, did you read that last string of words!?), next we made soup, panzanella, veal, and finished with cantuccini. These cookies are cousins of biscotti, only a little chewier and completely open to the ingredients you have around or prefer. They are for dipping in Vin Santo (holy wine) or coffee in the morning (how Italians subsist eating cookies for breakfast, I'll never figure -- however the cheese cake I ate a few days in a row alongside my Americano did delight and fortify!). They are absolutely divine dunked in tea as well.
Speaking of tea, have you tried any black teas from TWG Tea? This company was established in Singapore in 1837. They have beautiful tea salons all over the island. As a little girl, I had the opportunity to visit Singapore -- I'll never forget ordering a giant virgin pineapple cocktail at the Raffles Hotel Bar. The beast was as big as my head and was positively alcoholic!! I had a kooky evening with my dad, he wondering why his drink had no booze in it at all (neither of noticed the switch, it was all so fruity and silly!) . . . This New York Breakfast Tea has a hint of vanilla and an elegant hit of floral. It's heaven with a dash of whole milk and brown sugar.
Blueberry Almond & Ginger Cantuccini (adapted from Juls Kitchen)
makes about a dozen cookies
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated
200g of sugar
20g of agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
250g of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g dried blueberries
25g candied ginger, chopped
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until glossy, a nice meringue will form (about 4 minutes in total for this part). In a small bowl, mix together egg yolks, agave syrup and vanilla. Fold yolk mixture into egg whites. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold these dry ingredients into the wet.
Stir in the almonds, blueberries, ginger and poppy seeds until evenly combined. On a parchment lined baking sheet, form two logs of dough, about 1 inch tall at the tallest point, about 3-4 inches wide and 8 inches long. Bake until slightly golden and center is set, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut cookies in 1/2 inch-wide slices, on the diagonal is pretty! Flip on pan so center is facing up, cook another 15-25 minutes, until golden brown on all sides.
Let dry on pan (they'll firm up a bit). Store in a jar for the week.