Super sugary Canestrelli Italian Cookies

Powdered sugar cookies on a table next to a glass of milk.

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.

Donuts with powdered sugar on a baking sheet.

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. 
Powdered sugar cookies on a table next to a glass of milk.

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!

Canestrelli Italian Cookies

Warning! This recipe is very rich in sugar, butter …but it is really tempting! Canestrelli are wonderfully delicious cookies you will definitely fall in love with. 
Dusted with plenty of powdered sugar, they will literally melt in your mouth as they are crumbly and sweet to the right point! In a word: unforgettable! 
Flower shaped, with vanilla flavor, they come from Piedmont and Liguria. 
This is my own recipe (these ones are perfectly baked).
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Italian
Keyword canestrelli, canestrelli biscuits
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  •  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
  • Salt
Servings 10 people


  • 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!

Don’t miss any recipe! Subscribe to Stefania’s Newsletter

3 thoughts on “Super sugary Canestrelli Italian Cookies

  1. This is a topic that is close to my heart…
    Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    1. Hi Alphonso! You can find this info on the top right of the menu, looking at the homepage ☺️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *