Twinkle twinkle little star: Christmas canestrelli

Twinkle twinkle little star: Christmas canestrelli

By 14/12/2012

In many countries it is traditional to bake biscuits for Christmas.  If you wrap them up nicely they can make a nice present and many people are really pleased to receive homemade biscuits.

Walking into town the other day I went into my favourite kitchen shop and looked for some star shapes.

So I made, with the help of my little one, some star biscuits using the recipe for "Canestrelli".

Canestrelli are Italian biscuits, typical of the Liguria region, usually in the shape of a flower; they are delicate, vanilla flavoured and deliciously buttery and they melt in your mouth. They are usually finished off with a generous dust of vanilla icing sugar.

It is similar to making shortcrust pastry. In order to achieve a good result all the ingredients should be cold from the fridge and incorporated quickly together to avoid heating them up too much with your hands. The result will be a biscuit that's crunchy outside and soft on the inside.

  • Prep Time : 30 minutes
  • Cook Time : 25 minutes



Sieve the flour and the corn flour on your working top.

Add the icing sugar, the salt, the egg yolks, the vanilla essence, lemon zest and the softened butter.

Work your ingredients quickly, make it into a dough and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry with a rolling pin about half a centimeter thick.

With a pastry cutter shape some stars and line them up on a baking tray ( I am using a silicone sheet on my baking tray so I don't need to grease it, but if you are using a conventional one you will need to grease it with butter or oil).

Brush each star with the whipped egg whites


Cook for 20-25 minutes at 160 C.  Keep checking them whilst they are cooking as they should not get too brown, just a little.

Dust them with vanilla icing sugar.

I am entering this into Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior.

Also I am submitting it to Alpha Bakes where the letter is S, for star, this month. This challenge is jointly hosted by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes.
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15 Responses to Twinkle twinkle little star: Christmas canestrelli

  1. Orchidea

    Buoooooni! Li ho fatti anch’io la settimana scorsa… sono troppo buoni. Che bravo aiutante hai!

  2. la cucina di Molly

    I canestrelli li adoro! Che carine quelle manine affaccendate! Ciao e buon fine settimana!

  3. Caroline Taylor

    Oh these are just too cute! What a great thing to make at this time of year.

  4. Javelin Warrior

    Alida, I’ve never had canestrelli before – although they do sound similar to American sugar cookies which I love. These look even flakier and crisper than sugar cookies, so I’m sure they’re marvelous. So cute – I love the star shape. Thanks so much for sharing these perfect holiday cookies!

    • Alida

      Thank you Mark, they really are moreish!

  5. Mich Piece of Cake

    These look so pretty and delicious! Is that your little boy? He’s gonna be as good as you in baking/cooking when he grows up!

    • Alida

      It is nice to see children learning to bake and enjoying it. 🙂

  6. Balvinder

    Alida, I am not sure if you are aware but your ’email go’ thing has some problems. It says,The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled. And also I could not link back to your blog thru your ID.As you are a good friend, I found you thru google.
    These star cookies are fun to make with kids.

  7. Alida

    thank you Balvinder, I’ll have a look at it now!

  8. Laura Loves Cakes

    These are really pretty and great for making with little ones! They sound so yummy too and perfect as a Christmas gift! 🙂

  9. bakingaddict

    I love Italian cookies – these look amazing and very festive. Love the little helping hands – I’m sure it made the cookies taste better 🙂 Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

  10. Choclette

    Oh Alida, that top photo of your little boy is so cute it’s nearly bought tears to my eyes. Your stars look amazing too and sound thoroughly delicious.

  11. rita cooks italian

    I canestrelli a forma di stelle di Natale sono irresistibili: uno tira l’altro!! Anch’io come te metto al lavoro i miei piccoli e gli faccio fare i biscotti…e poi li decorano e poi li mangiano. Passano almeno un’ora senza litigare!! Un bacio a te e al tuo piccolo, dolcissimo Chef!

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