Burano’s Sugar Cookies

I Bussolai de Buran

Burano is an island in the Venetian lagoon famous for its gaily colored houses, its handmade lace, and these cookies. The cookies are highly prized in Venice, where the pastry shops sell them at a high price. Their name comes from buso, Venetian for hole, and they are called that when shaped into a circle. They can also be made into an “S” shape, and then they are simply called buranei, after the island they come from.

I have worked with several batters, some with less flour, but I found this the easiest to handle. Once you have tried them, you can adjust the proportions to suit your way of dealing with batter.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature, plus butter for smearing the baking pan
  • cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • The grated peel of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 egg yolks
  • cups flour, plus flour for dusting the baking pan
  • 2 tablespoons milk

A large rectangular baking pan

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the batter into a food processor and run the blade until they come together without forming a hard mass.
  2. Transfer the batter to a container that you can tightly seal and refrigerate it for 2 hours.
  3. Turn on the oven to 400°.
  4. Smear the bottom of the baking pan with butter, sprinkle with flour, then turn the pan over, giving it a tap or two against the work counter to shake off excess flour.
  5. Sprinkle flour on a marble counter or another work surface. Pull off from the batter a piece about the size of a very large egg and roll it on the counter into a cylinder about 8 inches long and slightly less than 1 inch thick. Curl it into a circle, overlapping the two ends, and place it on the baking pan. Proceed thus, spacing the circles at least 2 inches apart, until you have used up all the batter.
  6. Bake in the upper middle level of the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they become colored a very light gold. They will keep well in a tightly closed biscuit tin for 2 to 3 months.

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