Esse BuraneiMy trip through the Venetian Lagoon was phenomenal and the stunning sites and scenery will be forever etched in my mind. Especially the food. And of course the Prosecco.

When I see something wonderful to eat, my heart beats just a little bit faster. In the case of the sensational Fritto Misto (fried squid and shrimp) served on the boat, it was pounding. And it continued racing with the first bite of the Risotto Gò. But it slowed to its normal rate when the plate of cookies was set down on our table for dessert. “What’s that?”, I asked pointing to the rather nondescript baked items. Monica and our table mates all smiled like they had a secret and answered, “Bussolà!” Okay, I thought, but they don’t look very interesting…and absolutely nothing was registering on the amazing food heart palpitation meter. Then I had a bite.Esse Burranei BussolaMy oh my! Light, buttery and heavenly can only start to describe this blissful cookie. Its rich taste is similar to an English shortbread or French sable. You really can’t judge a book by its cover (or a cookie by its crunch like sbrisolona, but I digress).

BuranoA traditional sweet from the island of Burano, known for its brightly colored houses and handmade lace, the cookie goes by a few different names depending on the shape. The dough recipe is the same. These are called Esse Buranei because the shape is an “S” and Buranei is dialect for Burano.  Bussolà Buranello is the name of the circle shape and the origin comes from busa which means “hole” in dialect. A log form is also acceptable. Same taste, different shape and all can be enjoyed with morning coffee, as a snack or after dinner with a vin santo, dessert wine or grappa. Dipping is always allowed. Sort of an all-purpose, anytime cookie.

Local bakeries on Burano specialize in Bussolà.Carmelina Pastry ShopMarco, the young chef at the marvelous La Terrazza restaurant at Albergo al Sole in Asolo, grew up not far from Venice. After several years of cooking at a renowned Venetian restaurant, he has now made his mark with his exceptional food in this charming hilltop town. Chef Marco was kind enough to share his special Esse Buranei recipe with me.

Esse Burranie Bussola

No matter what the shape, the taste is outstanding and I hope that even before that first bite, your heart will beat just a little bit faster.

Esse Buranei and Bussolà (Cookies from Burano)
Serves: 24
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c./250 g sugar
  • 1 tsp. rum
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 4 c./500 g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 7 oz./200 g butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  1. In medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until well combined.
  2. Add the rum and lemon zest and whisk another 30 seconds until well mixed.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add egg/sugar mixture and the butter and mix starting at a low speed and finishing at medium high until the dough becomes crumbly but holds together when you pinch it.
  4. Gather dough into a ball, cover in plastic and let sit in a cool place, not the refrigerator, for 30 minutes.
  5. While dough is resting, preheat oven to 300°F/150°C.
  6. There are several shapes to form the dough. Take a piece of dough the size of a golf ball and squeeze it gently to form a roll about 4” or 10 cm. Shape it into an “S”. You can also roll it a little longer and make it into a circle. Or if you’re not feeling creative, a log shape is just fine. The taste is the same but just watch the baking time depending on the shape.
  7. Brush with beaten egg whites.
  8. Bake on parchment covered baking sheets for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden.



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  1. Ann Bikales


    Does anyone know where they can be purchased in the USA, internet or otherwise? Thanks for your kind assistance.


    • Laney

      Wow-sorry for the very delayed response Ann. I don’t know off hand of any place, but you may find them at a good Italian food shop or bakery. Or else you might just have to go to Italy to buy them:)

      • Ann Bikales


        Thanks so much for your reply.We have purchased a large number of cookies at the source which were mailed to the USA. We
        have been enjoying them so much. We plan to replenish once our larder empties. We have been informed that they can only be bought through you and not, unfortunately, in the USA. This country does not know what it is missing.
        Thanks Again,


  2. Carol Meo


    Your site is delightful. I hope I can arrange to do something with you in the spring.


    • Laney

      Thank you so much for stopping by Carol and I’m so glad you like the site! Stay tuned for more info – would love to have you join us…

    • Laney

      And thank you for introducing them to me Monica! I would have passed them by and never enjoyed the deliciousness of Bussola…

    • Laney

      I would have passed these cookies by because they didn’t have have any visual pizzazz, but often times those are the ones that surprise. Now you’ll have to go back to Burano to search them out! But in the meantime, let me know how they turn out for you in your kitchen:)

  3. Reply

    This is wonderful, Laney! I love when a new food or recipe surprises you with how good it is. I had some very small shortbread like cube cookies in Rome. They were dusted with table sugar. Would that be the same thing or something else? They were so good!

    • Laney

      Glad you like it Pam! The recipe of the cookies from Rome may be the same but they may be called something different there. Regional foods take on different names even though they might be almost exactly the same. Hope you’re having fun!

  4. Reply

    It sounds like you found some terrific things on your voyage through the lagoon. I’ve always loved these rich, but delicate cookies. Your recipe looks delicious. I will have to give it a whirl. I hope you are having a delightful summer!

    • Laney

      Discovering new recipes is always fun and finding out about these new food experiences while on a boat adds to the adventure. I (and Chef Marco) would love to know how the cookies turn out for you-looking forward to your baking expertise!

  5. Liz Larkin


    So excited to try these, Laney! Thank you for another delicious blog post.

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