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Buranelli: buttery cookies from the colorful island of Burano

Buranelli butter cookies

Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar

Burano is most beautiful in the early morning, when only few residents are to be found walking among the narrow streets sided by canals, and when the gentle light of dawn mitigates the ultra-vibrant colors of the houses.

At that time of day, the air is still permeated by the strong perfume of butter, eggs and sugar. Buranelli cookies are being freshly baked and the few cafeterias are not yet open. Every time I go so early, I enjoy those moments of solitude; I wander around with my camera and feel incredulous and happy to still be able to experience such silence in the lagoon.

Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar
Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar

Autumn and winter are my favorite periods of the year for this sort of excursion. I take a vaporetto in F.ta Nove when it's till dark and along the way, I see the rising of the sun, the marshlands and the chimneys of the glass factories in Murano. So beautiful.

I confess that once in Burano I feel an urge to get as much as possible done, I feel that there is never enough time to do both Mazzorbo and Burano with that magic light, that lasts only about one hour. Dull days are better, as the clouds contribute to the atmosphere and make everything more dramatic. Anyway, I know that once done, when the first tourists start populating the streets, I will end my trip in one of the cafeterias before Piazza Galuppi, with a cup of coffee and a Buranello cookie. I never eat the whole biscuit, I always break it in two and wrap one half in a serviette and keep it for after lunch.

Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar
Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar
Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar

Buranelli have become famous all over the world, and they are shaped as a circle, in fact, it is said that their name may derive from the Venetian word 'buso' (hole).

The story goes that they were prepared by the wives of fishermen and sailors, who would take them on their long journeys, as they are highly nutritious and preserve very well. This tradition was eventually transformed into a business, and the cookies started being produced to be sold to all Venetians, especially around Easter time. apparently the nuns of the nearby Convent of San Maffio, located in Mazzorbo, ate so many that in the 16th century they received the order to cut down their expenses and spend less on these sweet treats!

I do not know whether this is true or not, but I find it rather easy to believe.

I have found different recipes online, below I will share the one provided to me by my baker friend. It was she who baked them for me and I feel very grateful.

I am sure you will love them as much as I did!

Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar
Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar



Ingredients for about 20/24 cookies:

500 gr 00 flour

150 gr softened butter

160 gr brown sugar

6 yolks

1 teaspoon rum

1 natural lemon and 1 natural orange, the grated zests

a pinch (or two!) of salt


1) In a bowl, combine sugar with the lemon and orange zests. Then add the softened butter and cream well until nice and fluffy. 2) Add the yolks and beat well. Add the rum and, gradually, the previously sifted flour and the salt. Mix until amalgamated trying not to heat the butter too much.

3) Shape the dough into a log, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour.

4) Pre-heat oven at 180°. Slice the dough into equal pieces and, with the tips of your fingers, roll each into a small log. Shape into a circle and place on a buttered and floured sheet of parchment paper.

5) Bake for about 15/20 minutes, until they are starting to become golden at the edges.

6) Let cool and serve with sweet wine or tea/coffee.

Buranelli: Venetian Cookies with butter, eggs, sugar


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