I am sure that you will agree with me on this: food and memories are linked. When I eat something, my brain starts remembering things connected to the taste I am enjoying. This happens to me all the time. Since moving to Australia though this connection has become somewhat stronger. It’s probably because I can enjoy certain food and flavours less frequently than before, or maybe I am simply getting older and more “emotional”. Whatever the reason, I tend to remember my childhood quite often and today’s recipe is strictly linked to it. To my childhood, that is. I have always had more of a “savoury tooth” than a “sweet” one… except for chocolate, Nutella and these cookies. Canestrelli are simple, buttery shortbread-like cookies, shaped like flowers and covered in icing sugar. Nothing fancy. Yet, they taste amazing and the memories they bring back… well those are even sweeter. Wouldn’t you like to be a 10 year old again?? I do!!!! Sitting in my parents kitchen with a glass of milk (cold and no sugar for me, please!) and a few Canestrelli to munch on! 🙂 Well, I can’t get that wish granted, but I sure can make some Canestrelli at home and enjoy them with my kids. Maybe I will help create some sweet memories for them too. I really hope so! This is my Regional Italian dish for this week as Canestrelli are typically from Liguria! Enjoy!
Canestrelli: simple, buttery shortbread-like cookies, shaped like flowers and covered in icing sugar.
- 200 gms – 7 oz. flour
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. butter softened and chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon grated
- 1 sachet vanillina or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 80 gms – 2.8 oz. sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch baking powder
- Icing sugar
Sift the flour and knead it together with the egg yolk, butter, lemon zest, vanillina (or vanilla extract), sugar, salt and baking powder. You can do this in an electric mixer or by hand.
Roll the dough into a 5 mm – 0.2 inch thick sheet and cut out flower shapes with a small hole inside (I used a little oil bottle cap to make the small hole).
Put the cookies on an oven tray covered with baking paper and cook them in a pre-heated oven at 190°C – 375°F for 10 minutes. The cookies have to be just a light golden colour.
Let them cool down on the tray. When they are completely cold, dust them with a generous amount of icing sugar.