Canestrelli, or little baskets, are wonderfully delicious cookies from Liguria and Piedmont that you will definitely fall in love with. These daisy-shaped shortbread cookies with a small hole in the middle will literally melt in your mouth. Canestrelli cookies will suit every moment of your day.
You might eat them for breakfast or paired perfectly with a steaming cup of cappuccino or a good herbal tea in the middle of the afternoon. Wrap them in the decorative paper as a present for those you love!
You may encounter plenty of different recipes; mine is an easy one, especially if you are just learning the art of baking cookies. They only call for a few simple products: flour, butter, powdered sugar, eggs, but they do require a surprise ingredient, a hard-boiled egg yolk, which gives them a wonderful texture and finish.
A few suggestions for success
It is a very simple recipe, but follow these suggestions for success:
- Use softened but compact butter. If you combine melted butter with the other ingredients, your canestrelli won’t keep their shape;
- Let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours. This will guarantee their unique texture;
- Knead the dough very fast and for a very short time; you don’t want it to warm up too much. Divide the dough and knead each piece separately;
- Use a flower cookie cutter and cut out your cookies and make the hole yourself with a straw;
- Gently push the dough out of the cookie cutter with the handle of a spoon and place it directly onto the parchment-lined baking tray;
- Let them cool down completely before dusting with powdered sugar.
How can you store canestrelli?
Once cooled and dusted with powdered sugar, canestrelli keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. However, I am sure you will eat them all much earlier!
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp of butter (130g)
- 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour (180g)
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract (4g)
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp of powdered sugar (70g)
- ¼ tsp of baking powder
- 1 hard-boiled egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Dice the butter and let it sit at room temperature to soften (do not use the microwave oven).
- Cook the egg in boiling water for 5-7 minutes until hard boiled.
- Then blend the egg yolk with the butter until the mixture is smooth and without lumps;
- Sift the flour on a pastry board and make a well in the center. Put the baking powder, sugar, softened butter with the egg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt into the middle of the well of flour.
- Mix and knead with your hands until you have a compact dough. Make a ball, wrap it in a dampened tea towel, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to ¼ inch (5-6mm) thickness. Cut out the cookies using a flower cookie cutter and make a hole in the center with a straw or a small pastry tip. Knead the leftover dough and repeat the process until finished.
- As soon as you cut the cookies, transfer them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; Leave about 2 inches (5cm) between them.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Canestrelli should remain pale, so don’t think they have to be golden brown like other cookies.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool down before transferring them to a wire rack. Generously dust with powdered sugar. Eat and enjoy!