Canestrelli – A Fabulous Italian Shortbread Cookie

My husband, Scott, has been telling me that I need to change the name of the blog. What do you think? I really like calling it The Café Sucré Farine but he says I need to call it ………………….
……………… The Crazy Cook ……………

Why?  Well, we’re vacationing this week at the South Carolina Coast. He says that most people take a vacation to get away from cooking but me…………….. oh no, I have a blast cooking and trying out new recipes for my sweet family to enjoy! I guess it’s just part of my love language.

 If you’re a regular visitor at The Café, you know that I’m forever including fresh herbs in my culinary adventures, especially in the summer when the herb garden is going crazy. So …………. I brought just a few sprigs along………………… Scott took the picture below just to explain why he thinks I should change the name of the blog.  I thought that everyone brought their herb garden along on vacation ………….. no? 🙂

Please don’t be telling me that you agree with him! ……………..let’s just talk about something else …………..

I teased you last week with pictures of these delicious Italian Canistrelli Cookies. I shared that the recipe was a bit unusual and I think you’ll agree. I’ve never seen a cookie recipe that called for ……………. are you ready? ………………. hard boiled egg yolks! Yes, you read that correctly; hard boiled egg yolks!

The egg yolks are hard cooked before adding to the rest of the dough ingredients. After  cooling, the yokes are pressed through a fairly fine sieve. The rest is similar to a traditional shortbread recipe. The cookies are rolled quite thick, cut in shapes, and baked until pale golden.

The results are hard to describe; buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, not too sweet ……………. and they look just gorgeous on a cookie tray or beside a bowl of ice cream or sorbet. I served them last week with my Fresh Cherry-Limeade Sorbet – a delightful combination!

If you’re looking for something unique, delicious and sure to bring rave reviews, pass a tray of these lovely Canestrelli at your next gathering of family/friends. Just don’t be surprised if there are only crumbs remaining when it comes back to you!

Oh, one last thing about the Canestrelli; make SURE, if you taking pictures of these cookies, that you don’t turn your back, even for a moment, on the photographer ……………. you might just see this:

Check back on Wednesday for a recipe from one of our favorite beach picnic lunches: Herbed Naans (another 5 Minute Bread Recipe!) and one of the most fun sous chefs you’d ever want to meet!

Canestrelli – Italian Shortbread Cookies

6 ½ ounces butter, (13 tablespoons)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup corn starch
3 hard boiled egg yolks, see notes
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting


1.With an electric mixer combine butter, sugar and mix until well combined. Add salt and vanilla.

2. Press the egg yolks through a fairly fine-mesh strainer and add to the the butter/sugar mix, then beat until well combined. Don’t skip the egg-straining, or you’ll end up with lumps of egg yolk in your dough.

3. Add the flour and the cornstarch to the butter mix, taking care not to overwork (and warm) the dough. Sandwich the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, or parchment paper, then pat flat into a disk and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (160° C). Roll the dough, still sandwiched between the two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, to about a 3/8 inch or 1 cm thickness and cut with a 2 inch flower-shaped cookie cutter. If your cutter doesn’t have a hole cut-out in the center you can use the cap of a marker. To avoid the dough clogging the cap, place a piece of plastic wrap slightly larger than the cookie cutter over the cookie, then cut the hole. The dough from the hole, wrapped in plastic wrap, will still get inside the cap, but you can easily pull it off and set it aside with the other scraps of dough.Take leftover scraps of dough, press them together and place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Press dough into a disk and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, then cut more cookies.

5. Place the cookies on sheet pans lined with parchment paper, two inches apart, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until pale golden. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer onto a wire rack until completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar, then store in an airtight container. These keep well and are supposedly even better after a day or two. It’s hard to keep them that long around my house.
~ To boil the egg yolks, you can either boil whole eggs, then discard the boiled egg white  or you can boil the egg yolks separately. To boil only the egg yolks: bring water to the boil in a small pan. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, then place the egg yolks gently into the boiling water using a spoon. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain and let cool.
Adapted from Cristina Colli

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