Savoiardi Cookies are light, airy, and wonderful with an espresso or cappuccino.
But did you know that this Italian treat is actually quite easy to make at home with very simple ingredients?
You might know this Italian treat by another name – sponge fingers or even lady fingers, either way, you’ll love the taste of this homemade classic. I like to flavor these with a little vanilla extract and finely grated lemon rind. Just like many Italian recipes, the ingredients used to make this delicate Italian sweet are very basic – just eggs, sugar, flour, and flavorings.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
Savoiardi Cookies are the basis of some of the most popular Italian desserts. These sponge fingers are an integral ingredient of Italian Tiramisu but also my Zuppa Inglese. I also like them for my super easy Tiramisu Cups!
This recipe makes soft sponge fingers which are delicious with a superior flavor compared to store-bought, savoiardi ladyfingers. Even though these cookies are soft, they will still stay intact when dipped in coffee or other liquids when you make a tiramisu, trifle, charlotte or other dessert.
You’ll need just the basic ingredients of eggs, sugar, and flour plus flavorings to make Savoiardi Cookies. However, it’s essential to separate eggs without getting any yolk into the whites. Any fat from the yolk will stop the egg whites beat up nice and fluffy.
There are a few ways to separate eggs easily but first start with cold eggs. Cold egg yolks are less likely to break.
- Use a little contraption called a ‘separator’ (very inventive name) which allows you to crack the egg into it. The yolk will be held in the little indentation while the egg white slips out into a waiting bowl.
- Use the shell to shell method which means cracking the egg and holding the yolk in one half allowing the white to fall into the bowl. Transfer the yolk from shell to shell until most of the white has dripped out.
- Use clean hands. Crack the egg into the palm of your hand and allow the white to slip between your fingers into the bowl.
Homemade sponge fingers are just a sponge cake batter piped into small, easy to handle cookies.
- Beat egg whites with sugar until thick and glossy just like a meringue.
- In a small bowl, beat in the egg yolks with the very finely grated lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- Add the egg yolk mixture to the beaten egg whites.
- Lightly fold the egg yolks into the whites.
- Sieve the dry ingredients over the egg mixture.
- Fold the dry ingredients in carefully.
- Pipe the batter into lengths.
- Sieved powdered sugar over the Savoiardi cookies twice before baking to create the distinctive crust.
Hint: If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a plastic zip lock bag with the end snipped. Or just spoon the batter onto lined baking trays to make circular savoiardi cookies. They won’t be fingers anymore – sponge or lady – but will taste just as good
Store these savoiardi cookies (savoiardi biscuits or ladyfingers in some countries) in an airtight container for two weeks. At first, if haven’t dried them out completely they may seem a bit sticky however very soon any stickiness disappears.
To freeze, layer in an airtight container with non-stick paper between layers and freeze for up to a month.
Tips for Success
This recipe contains no baking powder. All the lightness comes from the air which is beaten into the egg whites and sugar. Take care when incorporating the dry ingredients. Use a gentle folding and mixing action so that the air is retained in the batter.
Here are the most important points.
- Use extra fine white granulated (castor) sugar that will dissolve easily.
- Beat the egg whites and sugar thoroughly to incorporate a lot of air.
- Fold the dry ingredients in lightly so as not to deflate the mixture.
- For dry, crispy savoiardi, dry out these sponge fingers by returning them to a cooler oven after baking. Just place the Savoiardi Cookies on baking trays and return to the oven overnight or until dried and crispy.
- If you live in a dry climate it might be possible to dry these cookies at room temperature on uncovered baking trays. Unfortunately, because the area I live in is humid and tropical, I can’t test this for you.
This savoiardi biscuit (or cookie) recipe as it is written is not gluten-free. However, sponge batter can be made entirely with gluten-free cornstarch (cornflour). Just replace the plain flour with gluten-free cornflour for gluten-free sponge fingers
Savoiardi cookies are known as ladyfingers or sponge fingers.
There is no difference between savoiardi and ladyfingers. These light and air cookies are known by different names around the world. Savoiardi is the Italian name. It’s said that these cookies were created at the Duchy of Savoy (in the area of Piedmont, Italy) to mark a visit by the King of France.
Of course, Savoiardi Cookies are an important component of many Italian desserts.
You’ll find that homemade Savoiardi Cookies are so delicious and much tastier than the store-bought variety. Along with pizzelle or biscotti, these are perfect served with a good coffee. Just put your feet up and enjoy!
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- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup white granulated sugar superfine or castor sugar is best (75 grams)
- ½ teaspoon very finely grated lemon zest lemon extract or lemon oil can be used
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cake flour (95 grams
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch wheaten cornflour is some countries
- pinch fine salt
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar (50 grams)more as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180ºC. Line two large baking trays ( or three small baking tray with non stick baking paper.
- Separate the eggs, putting the egg yolks into a small bowl for later.
- Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy.
- Mix the lemon zest and vanilla extracts into the egg yolks.
- Use a spatula to combine the egg yolk mixture with the egg whites until just incorporated.
- Sift the cake flour, cornstarch and salt over the egg mixture.
- Use a spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients in until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently to not to deflate the batter meaning that the savioardi would be flat and not as spongy. The mixture will deflate a little but that's fine – you've got a lot of air into those egg whites.
- Use a piping bag with a plain ½ inch (1.5cm) tip (or you could just snip the end off, or use a ziplock bag filled with the batter.
- Pipe the batter into 5 inch (12cm) lengths leaving space between each to allow for spreading.
- Sift half of the powdered sugar over the savoiardi and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will melt and look wet. That’s what it’s meant to do.
- After 5 minutes, sift over the remaining powdered sugar. You may need a little bit more. Sprinkling with powdered sugar is what creates the characteristic crust of savoiardi.
- Bake savoiardi cookies for 10 minutes, then rotate the baking trays and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove with a metal spatula while still warm and cool on a wire rack.
- Store in an airtight container.
For dry, crispy savoiardi similar to store bought
- This is what I do using an electric oven.
- Allow the oven to cool down for two hours or until under 200°F/100ºC. Place savoiardi back on baking trays and return to oven overnight or until dried and crispy.
- Try to find fine, white granulated sugar that will dissolve easily. Granulated can also be whizzed in a food processor to create a finer sugar.
- Egg whites and sugar must be beaten thoroughly until thick, white and increased in volume.
- Fold the dry ingredients in gently and lightly.
Nutritional Estimate Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.