"These twice-baked biscuits, similar to the Italian cantuccini, are famous in Catalunya, especially in the mountain village of Rupit, about half an hour’s drive from Vic, in the region of Ausona. When I lived in Catalunya I often used to visit Rupit, with its feisty river running through it and its stone streets, where the shops do a roaring trade in freshly baked carquinyols. Although mostly people buy, rather than make, the biscuits, my friend Núria Montiel bakes her own, and this is her recipe. She uses whole almonds with the skin still on, so that when she adds the nuts to the dough before baking, it sticks to them. Mellow rather than sweet, and very crunchy, the biscuits are excellent with a mid-morning coffee, or a sweet aged sherry or Moscatel wine after dinner.
The trick is to get the timing right so that the dough, when baked the first time round, is not so hard that you can’t slice it into rounds for the second baking.
They keep well, up to 4 weeks in an airtight container, so Núria makes them in big batches."
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place all the ingredients, except the almonds, in a bowl and mix to a dough, then add the almonds.
- Moisten your hands and divide the dough into three. Shape each piece into a ciabatta shape about 3cm wide and with a curved top, and lay on the lined baking tray.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden.
- Take the tray out and turn the oven off. Leave to cool for about 12 minutes, then cut each piece horizontally into slices about 1cm wide.
- Put these back on to the lined baking tray - laying them flat - and return it to the cooling oven for around 12 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the biscuits have dried out and are crunchy.