Discover the charm of Canestrelli, the classic Italian cookies from Liguria and Piedmont. These delicate, crumbly treats, often dusted with powdered sugar, come in various versions, each with its unique flavor. Our featured recipe is the popular Ligurian Canestrelli, known for their flower shape with a distinctive hole in the center. Made with simple ingredients like flour, butter, powdered sugar, and eggs, what sets Canestrelli apart is the inclusion of hard-boiled egg yolks in the dough. Perfect for breakfast, a snack, or any time of day, try making these delightful cookies at home, especially as a festive treat during the Christmas season. Ideal for gifting in charming packages, Canestrelli cookies bring a taste of Italian tradition to your kitchen!


Ingredients for 100 canestrelli
Flour 00 2 ⅔ cups (300 g)
Potato starch 1 ¾ cup (200 g)
Butter 0.66 lb (300 g)
Powdered sugar ¾ cup (150 g)
Lemon peel 1
Egg yolks 6 - hard-boiled
Vanilla bean 1
To garnish
Powdered sugar to taste

How to prepare Canestrelli

To prepare Canestrelli, start by boiling the eggs to make them hard-boiled: it will take 8 minutes in boiling water 1; the hard-boiled yolks will be added to the dough to ensure the right crumbliness. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and powdered sugar (2-3).

Then grate the zest of untreated lemon 4 and add the seeds of a vanilla bean 5; also incorporate cold butter, cut into pieces 6

and mix everything with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to combine the ingredients 7. When the eggs are hard-boiled, peel them 8 and keep only the yolk 9

which you can mash and strain through a sieve to make it creamier and more homogeneous 10. Then it will be added to the rest of the dough 11. Briefly mix the ingredients with a stand mixer 11, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and quickly compact it by hand 12,

just enough time to form a soft and smooth dough. Flatten it slightly and wrap it in plastic wrap 13 (or place it in an airtight container) and leave it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. After the necessary time, roll out the dough into a 1 cm thick disk 14 and with a 3 cm diameter flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the cookies 15; you can re-knead the scraps. In total, you will get 100 Canestrelli.

Then, create the typical central hole using a 1 cm diameter 16 cookie cutter (there are special Canestrelli cutters available on the market that allow you to directly form the central hole). Bake only a few Canestrelli at a time, spaced well apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper 17, in a preheated static oven at 170°C (338°F) for 18 minutes (you can also try with a convection oven, baking a first batch of a few cookies at 150°C [302°F] for 8-10 minutes): they should not brown. Once baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack, then dust them with powdered sugar 18 and serve the Canestrelli as tea cookies or store them in small bags to give away on a special occasion.

How to store

Once cooled and dusted with powdered sugar, Canestrelli can be stored for up to two weeks if well sealed in airtight containers or kept in a tin box.


The Canestrelli dough is ideal for small pastries: it's not suitable as a base for a cake because it's too crumbly and wouldn't support the weight of the filling, but it's excellent for making small shells to fill with fruit and custard!