Canestrelli (or Canestrellini) is a delicious and crumbly cookie, usually dusted with powdered sugar. Typical of Liguria and Piedmont, they have many versions. We propose the most popular version, the Ligurian Canestrelli, small shortbread cookies very crumbly with the characteristic shape of a flower with a hole in the center.
Perfect to serve as a snack with a good tea or hot chocolate, as an after-dinner drink with a hot mulled wine, but also for breakfast, snack after a meal, to carry in your school bag or in the office!
Canestrelli is nationally recognized as a “Traditional Italian Food Product”.
What is Canestrelli?
Canestrelli are cookies made with very simple ingredients (flour, butter, powdered sugar, eggs), their peculiarity is the use of hard yolk in the dough.
Canestrelli is excellent to be tasted at breakfast, at snack, or at every moment of the day. They are a perfect snack to give you a little break from the chaos of daily life.
Canestrelli ingredients and canestrelli nutritional value
Wheat flour, butter, sugar, eggs yolks, lemon juice, raising agents (disodium diphosphate, sodium hydrogen carbonate).
The secret to preparing perfect homemade Canestrelli quickly is to blend the egg yolks with butter very well in order to obtain a thick cream without lumps that will become the base of this delicious shortbread!
The etymology of the name is uncertain. Some people think the name derives from the term canestro (basket), which is a basket made of straw or wicker where they were put to cool down after cooking and where they were kept to be offered. Others believe it is related to the design of the pincer mold in which they were baked: in Piedmontese language canesterlè, means “with canes”.
Canestrelli is popular sweet, whose origins are very ancient. In the Canavese and Susa Valley, they were prepared since the Middle Ages under the name of nebule, probably by the guilds of wafers producers. They were offered at weddings, baptisms, religious celebrations, and carnivals.
Canestrelli of short pastry, probably more recent, belong to the Ligurian tradition and in the current recipe they have a precise location both temporal and geographical, that is the beginning of 1800 in Torriglia.
How to eat Canestrelli?
Canestrelli can be eaten right out of the oven, after some days, and with an immense combination of drink, jams, and other sides. Grondona provides you with a package of sugar powder, to enjoy the biscuits according to the easiest and most traditional manner.
They can be enjoyed after a quick dip in the tea or coffee for adults, while kids can eat them plain, with fruit juice, or in combination with their favorite spreads. Canestrelli can also be served with cream and chocolate zabaglione, for sweet-savvy palates.
As always, we recommend experimenting with the different degustation options and sharing your finding with us, so that other members of our worldwide community can appreciate your style too.
Flour 00 300 g
Butter 300 g
Sugar 150 g
Egg yolks 150 g
Vanilla pod 1
To prepare the Canestrelli, start with a planetary mixer, sifting the flour, yolks, and icing sugar.
Then grate the zest of an untreated lemon, and add the seeds of a vanilla bean. Add the cold butter into pieces and work it all with a planetary mixer fitted with a leaf to mix the ingredients.
Briefly mix the ingredients with the planetary mixer, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and quickly compact it by hand, just enough to form a soft and smooth dough.
Flatten it slightly and wrap it in cling film (or put it in an airtight container) and leave it in the fridge for about 1 hour. After this time, roll out the dough into a disk of 1 cm thick and with a molded flower-shaped cookie cutter of 3 cm in diameter, cut out the cookies, then you can knead the scraps again. You will get approximately 100 Canestrelli in all.
Then make the typical central hole with a pastry cup of 1 cm in diameter (there are molds on the market specifically for the Canestrelli that allow you to directly obtain the central hole).
Bake a few Canestrelli at a time, well-spaced out, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in a static oven preheated to 170° for 18 minutes (you can also try the ventilated mode by baking the first batch of a few cookies at 150° for 8-10 minutes): they should not darken.
Once cooked, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely on a tray, then dust them with powdered sugar and serve the Canestrelli as a tea pastry or keep them in small bags to give as a gift on a special occasion.
Keep at room temperature in airtight preservatives.