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Canestrelli: easy and delicious Italian cookies!

Canestrelli are delicious and crumbly Italian biscuits dusted with icing sugar. Typical from Liguria and Piedmont, they have numerous versions. The most widespread version is the Ligurian one: small crumbly cookies with a characteristic flower shape with a hole in the center.

The canestrelli are made with very simple ingredients (flour, butter, icing sugar, eggs), their particularity is the use of the hard yolks in the dough.

They are absolutely delicious to be enjoyed at breakfast, as a snack or at any time of the day!!

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!



  • 6 hard boiled egg yolks

  • 150 gr icing sugar

  • 300 gr flour

  • 300 gr butter

  • 200 gr potatoes starch

  • 1 vanilla pod


1. Boil the eggs to make them hard: it will take 8 minutes in boiling water

2. In a Kitchen Aid (KA) bowl, sieve the flour, the starch and the icing sugar

3. Grate the lemon zest and add the seeds of a vanilla pod and add it to the bowl

4. Put the cold butter as well into pieces and work it all in the KA with a paddle to mix the ingredients

5. When the egg yolks are lukewarm, peel them and take only the yolks that you will mash and sieve to make it more creamy and homogeneous. Then add them to the rest of the dough

6. Mix the ingredients with the KA briefly

7. Transfer the dough onto a slightly floured working surface and compact it quickly by hands, just the time to form a soft, smooth consistency. Flatten it slightly and wrap it in the cling film (or place it in a hermetic container) and leave in the refrigerator for about 1 hour

8. Roll the dough into a 1 cm thick disc and with a 3 cm diameter flower shaped cookie cutter, make the biscuits. Then make the typical central hole with a 1 cm diameter (there are commercially available cutters for the canestrelli to form the central hole directly)

9. Cook on a baking tray lined with baking paper, in a 170 ° C preheated oven for 18 minutes (you can also try the ventilation by baking at 150 ° C for 8-10 minutes): they should not get too dark.

10. Once baked, allow them to cool completely, then dust them with icing sugar



Canestrelli can be stored for up to two weeks if you put them in a hermetically sealed container or placed in a can


The dough of the canestrelli is ideal for small pastries: it is not suitable as a base for a cake because it is too friable and does not hold the weight of the filling, but is great for preparing small shells to fill with fruits and custard!

As you can see, it is a very simple recipe, but I can assure you 100% that you will love them!!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

xx Serena

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