Home / Recipes / Desserts / Cookies & Bars / Canestrelli Delicious Italian Cookies

Canestrelli Delicious Italian Cookies

Canestrelli are a wonderfully delicious Italian Cookie, an almost shortbread type cookie but with a crunch, fast and easy. The perfect afternoon tea cookie. A touch of Lemon makes them irresistible.

canestrelli on a blue board and in a cookie jarCanestrelli

I have returned to Italy and of course I am missing all my family and friends, especially my eldest Daughter that unfortunately I didn’t see nearly enough.

She is off on adventures of her own and is now living in Vancouver (this was 2 years ago and now she is back in Toronto!) for the time being. So we only had a few days together.

Although we did have a great time and now we look forward to her visit back home.

Naturally with the return to your home that was mainly kept up by the Italian, well you can imagine what I came home to! To tell the truth it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

At least the dog, the cat and the plants were still alive.

Canestrelli a wonderfully delicious Italian Cookie, a shortbread type cookie but with a crunch, fast and easy.

Needless to say I have a to do list the length of my arm, starting with grocery shopping. So while I was shopping I of course noticed the difference between Canadian aisles and the Italian store aisles. Yeah big difference.

While checking out the cookie aisle (believe me that aisle kept me staring forever in Canada) I noticed how unstuffed the cookies tend to be here. The lack of cream, chocolate, caramel, marshmallows etc.

The very basic cookie, from breakfast cookies to snack cookies with this delicious Canestrelli front and centre. These cookies are sold year round but are very popular at Christmas.

And yeah I actually like the basic ones better. Because sometimes less is more!

Canestrelli Delicious Italian Cookies

canestrelli in a cookie jar

More Italian Cookies you may enjoy!

Pizzicati Italian Cookies

up close pizzicati cookies

Wine Cookies – Ciambelle al Vino

upclose of Italian wine cookies

Abbracci – Italian Hugs Cookies

abbracci cookie leaning again 2 stacked with a glass of milk

Traditional Italian Breakfast Cookies

Italian breakfast cookies front photo in a grey box and 3 in front

I decided to make these Canestrelli, which are one of my favourites! This is a simple crunchy but an almost melt in your mouth cookie delight. The dough comes together in minutes especially if you use your Food Processor.

What are the ingredients in Canestrelli?

They are made with butter, powdered sugar and hard-boiled egg yolks. Yes that’s right,  egg yolks,  strange right? That’s what I thought, but I was told this helps make them crumbly, which is what we want.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

canestrelli in a white jar

Canestrelli are originally from Monferrato which is in the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. If you are looking for a tasty, yummy Italian Cookie why not give these a try.

Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee or just when you want a cookie. Enjoy!

canestrelli on a brown board

Cookies should be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.

canestrelli Italian cookies in a bowl

Canestrelli Delicious Italian Cookies

Rosemary Molloy
Canestrelli a wonderfully delicious Italian Cookie, an almost shortbread type cookie but with a crunch, fast and easy. The perfect afternoon tea cookie. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 60 cookies
Calories 38 kcal


  • 1 cup all purpose flour (130 grams)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar (75 grams)
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons corn starch (100 grams)
  • 2/3 cup cold butter cut into pieces* (150 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 hard boiled egg (use just the yolks)
  • zest 1/2 lemon

*I use salted butter if you use unsalted add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


    • Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water, heat until boiling, then remove from heat and let sit 8-10 minutes. Place under cold water. Remove shell when cooled, separate the white from yolk and mash just the yolk part, well with a fork.
    • In a food processor whisk together flour, sugar, salt, corn starch and zest, then add cold butter and vanilla, pulse a few times to mix, add egg yolks and pulse until almost combined, move to a lightly floured flat surface and knead gently until combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least an hour or two or even overnight.
    • Pre-heat oven to 335° (170° celsius).   Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    • Remove dough from fridge, on a lightly floured flat surface, start with rolling out half the dough to 1 centimeter thickness and cut with a small to medium size flower cookie cutter, using a straw or any small round hole cutter**, cut a hole in the middle of the flower. Place cut out flowers on prepared cookie sheets and bake for approximately 12 -14 minutes, cookies should not brown. Let cookies rest 5 minutes then move to wire racks to cool,  then dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

    **I used a small pastry tip.


      Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 3mg | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
      Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

      Updated from September 2, 2016.


        1. Hi Anna, I have never added anything to the recipe, but I think it would work, just don’t add too many and make sure the pieces are small. Let me know how it goes.

      1. Hello! I cannot find a canestrelli cookie cutter ! Do you know where where I may purchase one? I’ve looked on Amazon but not sure where else to look! Many thanks!!

        1. Hi Jane, I just use a small flower cookie cutter and with the tip of a straw or large piping tube make a hole in the middle. Hope this helps.

        1. The recipe calls for boiled egg yolks but the process says to mash up the egg after boiling. You DO only mash up the yolks and discard the boiled whites, correct?

          1. Hi Carolyn, yes just the yolk part, I didn’t word it very well (I corrected it now). Thanks hope you like them.

        1. HI Cathy It may sound like s lot but that’s the recipe. Corn starch makes these cookies tender and melt in your mouth. It does work, I have been making them for quite awhile now.

      2. 5 stars
        Hi, I just made these cookies… they are delicious!! Thank you so much for the recepie. I baked half of the dough and froze the rest. My son and My granddaughters were here while I was baking them and needless to say, all the cookies are gone.

      3. 5 stars
        Hi Rosemary, I tried your Canestrelli recipe and they turned out georgeus, the taste and smell were simply delicious. I also tried from your website easy italian fresh apricot crumb cake and I posted them on my blog. Thank you for sharing your recipes from an Italian 🙂

      4. 5 stars
        I love these, they are simply delicious. My family loves them too. I also love the little bowl you have them in. Any clue where to find one of those? Thanks in advance and for this wonderful recipe.

        1. Thanks so much Dee, we love them too. And yes the link to where I purchased the bowl is just above the recipe. Hope that helps. 🙂

      5. 5 stars
        Who knew that hard boiled egg yolks would make a crumbly cookie. Not me, but makes sense. These cookies look amazing. I seriously can’t wait to make them. I’m printing your recipe right now! Thanks!

      6. 5 stars
        Hard boiled egg yolks?! How utterly unusual. I’m intrigued. I love the idea of something fairly simple and homey as a way to settle in being back home.

      7. 5 stars
        These are the prettiest little cookies! I’m surprised at the hard boiled egg yolks and really want to give it a try.

      Leave a Reply

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

      Recipe Rating

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.