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Spelt carquinyolis or Catalan cantuccini

>> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No, no, no... these are not cantuccini... these are carquinyolis... totally different... (ahem). I'd been wanting to make these typical Catalan cookies for a long time (do I start my posts like this too often?...). As you probably know, this type of twice baked cookies, first as a loaf and then sliced, are known as cantuccini in Italy and they also exist in Jewish ashkenazi cookery, with the name of mandelbrot, almond bread. They are typical in Catalonia, on the Northeast corner of Spain. When I was a child we used to spend part of our summer holiday camping in Catalonia and my parents used to buy carquinyolis. I didn't eat them though... didn't know what I was missing.

I've found the recipe at the lovely Catalan blog La cuina vermella. I've increased the amounts by 50 %, I've used white spelt instead of regular flour, and I've "adulterated" the cookies by adding some dried cherries... just to add a colour touch (heresy! I beg the Catalans pardon... please bear with me).

Spelt carquinyolis (yields approx. 35 carquinyolis)

  • 600g spelt flour, white (all-purpose flour can be substituted, of course)
  • 350g sugar
  • 90g almond meal or ground almonds (what's the right name?)
  • 100g unskinned, unroasted almonds
  • 90g dried cherries (or any other colorful dried fruit)
  • 1 tbsp leaven, not completely heaped
  • 3/4 tbsp cinammon
  • Lemon zest
  • 4-5 medium eggs (it depends on the size of the eggs, the dough mustn't be dry, but sticky) and another egg for brushing the loafs before baking
Put the almonds in a bowl with water to soak. Weigh the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs in the well and mix slowly and carefully with the dry ingredients. Knead the resulting dough until all the liquid has been absorbed. If the result is too crumbly, just add another egg. Finally add the almonds, rinsed and dried with a paper towel, and the cherries. Knead to incorporate.

In the meantime heat the oven to 180 ºC. Divide the dough in two and, on a well-floured counter, form two loafs that can fit in one baking sheet. Transfer the loafs to the sheet, lined with parchment paper. Brush the loafs with the beaten egg (I forgot this step!). Put the loafs in the oven and bake half an hour. The loafs have to be somewhat thin, as they rise quite a lot in the oven. After 30 minutes, try for doneness with a toothpick. Take them out to a cooling rack and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Then slice them with a good serrated knife into 1 cm-thick slices, more or less. I'm not capable of cutting thinner slices. Then put the slices back on the baking sheet and back into the oven for 10 minutes to brown. Turn them once when half baked, to brown on both sides. When done take them out to cool on a rack.

For those who've never had this type of cookie before, they are hard and very crunchy. Catalans dunk them in mistela... mmm. I vouch that at home we have dunked them in cava last Christmas. A lot of cava. Really a lot. Loads of cava. I don't know if this is accepted as a traditional way to have carquinyolis, but what the hell, they're delicious that way...

26 comentarios:

Patty January 5, 2010 at 9:04 PM  

Holy smokes...these cookies are beautiful and make me want to eat some with the cup of coffee I am drinking right at this moment. Thanks for sharing your recipe AND I love the colorful addition!

citronetvanille January 5, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

beautiful cookies, I just made some but the Italian version which is very similar. The cherries seem to be a great addition. Love the pictures!

Drick January 5, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

interesting about these cookies, nice photos and sounds wonderful ...

Melody Fury // January 5, 2010 at 11:43 PM  

Those look gorgeous, Miriam! I'm really really missing Spain :(

Sarah January 5, 2010 at 11:56 PM  

These are lovely.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine January 6, 2010 at 12:23 AM  

these are my kind of cookies love this kind of cookie type and the cherries make a wonderful addtion to them very elegant and beautiful in color.

Anonymous January 6, 2010 at 1:14 AM  

They look awesome!

Tasty Trix January 6, 2010 at 1:58 AM  

Art or cookie? Both, I'd say! Gorgeous!

Anna January 6, 2010 at 2:30 AM  

Lovely cookies and beautiful pictures. Happy New Year Miriam.

Anonymous January 6, 2010 at 2:32 AM  

These sound incredible with dried cherries and almonds, I love this combination!

Mother Rimmy January 6, 2010 at 5:56 AM  

I love these cookies. A friend made a version for Christmas dipped in white chocolate. These look delicious!

Kris Ngoei January 6, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

Happy New Year, Miriam!

This reminds me of Biscotti.... Same texture and crustiness... am I right?

Anyway, beautiful pictures and totally love the knitted fabric background.

Sawadee from Bangkok,

Miriam January 6, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

Patty: thanks!
Citronetvanille: thanks!
Drick: thank you!
Mel: mmm, just try cooking something Spanish ;-)
AOFP: thank you!
Pegasus: thanks!
Pink: thank you!
Trix: wow, thanks!
Anna: Happy New Year!
5 Star Foodie: thank you!
Mother Rimmy: wow, in chocolate!
Bake in Paris: well, they are almost the same, cantuccini are biscotti. The knitted thing in the background is a handmade bread bag I got for my wedding from one of my aunts! Isn't it cute?

Shirley January 6, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

These look very good!

Simones Kitchen January 6, 2010 at 5:31 PM  

They look gorgeous and the red in them really makes them pop! I've never made cantuccini but am dying to give it a try!

Tasty Eats At Home January 6, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

Wow - I love the idea of these. Dried cherries would be a definite plus in my book. They're gorgeous!

Robin, David, Simon and Leo January 6, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

Beautiful cookies. I ate Mandelbrot all the time as a kid, but haven't had any in ages. Sometimes it was perfect, sometimes it was so hard you almost broke a tooth when you took a bite. You've reminded me of a food from my childhood. They would be so nice with tea for this chilly weather, too. Thanks for a beautiful recipe.

Erica January 7, 2010 at 12:12 AM  

Beautiful cookies! I would love those with a cup of black coffee! Love the pictures :)

The Chickenless Chick January 7, 2010 at 2:07 AM  

Beautiful pictures... I love the tin with the bay theme in the background!

Diana Bauman January 7, 2010 at 3:05 AM  

Beautiful cookies Miriam. I am so excited as I finally got Peter Reinhardt's book! Thank you so much for the inspiration :D

Simply Life January 7, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

oh this is just beautiful!

Brad January 7, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

Yumm love the pictures and recipe.

Sortachef January 7, 2010 at 6:52 PM  

Love the cherry addition, and the nuttiness of the spelt. You go, Miriam. Thanks!

Janice January 8, 2010 at 11:05 PM  

Fab photo of your cookies of Catalan! I've blogged an award for you, take it or leave it, pass it on or not. I won't be offended, just wanted to acknowledge how much I enjoy your blog. :}

Miriam January 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

Shirley: thanks!
Simone: mmm, I can still smell them... XD
TEAH: the cherries make them look definitely better
VM: thank you! Nice to hear your memories
Erica: thank you!
Chick: yes! We bought the cookies just for the tin! XD
Diana: wow, hope you enjoy bread baking!
Simply Life: thanks!
Brad: thank you!
Sortachef: thanks!
Janice: thank you Janice, I appreciate it, but you know I don't pass on any award...

mariola April 8, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

carquinyolis are fantastic!
I haven't tried them with cava, but it sounds extremally tempting :-)


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