Canestrelli cookies

Canestrelli cookies

Biscotti canestrelli

By
From
The Italian Baker
Makes
40

I’m again going to have to start with “When I was a little girl”… I’m sorry, but I do believe that for us bakers and food lovers the best memories always come from deep in the past. So, here goes: when I was a little girl, many desserts, cookies or candies were forbidden, so every time I was allowed to have something sweet my taste buds would go crazy! I remember the local bakery in Rome near my house baking these cookies. There were small and would fit perfectly into a little girl’s hand... Because they are baked in a shape of a flower with a hole in the middle, the game was to eat 10 cookies, one from each finger, and consequently become completely covered in sugar. Ah, my mum was so happy about that!

Canestrelli (“little baskets”) come from the Piedmont and Liguria regions and are similar to ovis mollis but the different ratios give a different texture and flavour. The recipe apparently dates back to the Middle Ages, and has been much appreciated ever since.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 hard-boiled egg yolks
330g plain flour
180g potato flour
120g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
300g butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

Method

  1. Using a fork, press the egg yolks through a fine mesh sieve directly into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Alternatively, you can use a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.
  2. Sift both flours and the icing sugar into the bowl and slowly beat them into the egg yolks. Add the butter and vanilla and beat until the mixture forms a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Roll the chilled dough out to a thickness of about 1 cm. Using a 4- or 5-cm flower shaped cutter, stamp out about 40 cookies. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and make a hole in the centre of each cookie using a medium piping nozzle.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes until cooked but still very pale. Remove and leave to cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, dust the tops generously with icing sugar.

Note

  • For a lovely gift, place the cookies in a metal tin and wrap with a pretty ribbon. They will last a little more than a week.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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