Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
THEME: #279 SESAME SEEDS
RECIPE: ITALIAN SESAME SEED COOKIES/BISCOTTI REGINA
Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
Italian Sesame Seed Cookies/ Biscotti Regina, a classic Italian treat, so crunchy and lemony. These authentic Italian cookies are so easy to make. Originally called Biscotti Regina these cookies from the Sicily region make a good snack option. They can be served as dessert or with coffee. Translated, the name Biscotti Regina means Queen’s Biscuits. Crunchy outer because of the sesame seeds and a slightly soft center, these cookies are best enjoyed dunked in coffee, milk or tea.
Unlike the more famous biscotti we know which are twice baked, Biscotti Regina are baked only once. How they originated is debatable. In this case, it is believed that Queen Margherita (Margherita di Savoia II) was very fond of sweets and often visited bakeries with her ladies in waiting. So perhaps Biscotti Regina were baked in honor of her just the way Pizza Margherita was created for her.
FoodieMonday/ Bloghop Group
For the 279th theme, its my turn to suggest the theme. Therefore, I suggested Sesame Seeds. I’ve asked the members to use them in a recipe to prepare anything from soup to dessert. Actually, my initial plan was to make a Makar Sankranti recipe which is just round the corner. However, going through my bookmarked recipes I came across Italian Sesame Seed Cookies and got tempted to bake them. Indeed, I’m glad I did as these cookies are not overly sweet. They go perfectly well with my afternoon coffee.
In fact, I’ve been a part of FoodieMonday/Bloghop for over 4 years. But, after this theme I’m leaving the group as I need a break and a change too. In short, as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, I’ve learnt so much from this group and made some awesome friends too. On the whole I will miss the Monday routine but change must happen.
Sesame seeds as the name indicates are seeds. Actually, they are widely used in many different cuisines. Besides having a nutty taste, they have a high oil content. In fact, sesame seeds are used in bakes, deserts, main dishes, salads. Besides that, sesame seeds or simsim are used to make spice mixtures, tahini, butter, relishes, chutneys, etc. Also, sesame seed oil is used in many different cuisines too. There are mainly two types of sesame seeds, white and black. Certainly, sesame Seeds are rich in several minerals and is good for the skin, hair, heart and stomach. However, I will not go into details about the health benefits as that information is easily available on the internet.
Some Recipes where Sesame Seeds are used:
- Poppy Seeds and Sesame Crackers
- Semolina Sesame Seed Bread
- Chinese Smiling Sesame Cookie Balls
- Janeiiong/Black Sesame Seed Pulao
- Chocolate Sesame Fudge
- Pane Siciliano (Sicilian sesame seeded semolina bread)
- Sesame Honey Chilli Potatoes
- Tal and Mixed Nut Ladoo
- Til Gud Ladoo
- Tal Sankari
- Cilantro Scallion Rolls
- Mango Sriracha Hummus
Ingredients Required for Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
- Flour – traditionally all purose flour or plain flour is used. Here I have used wheat flour (atta). Use wheat flour that is meant for rotis or wheat pastry flour.
- Butter – use salted or unsalted. Long time ago lard was used but butter or oil have replaced it.
- Sesame Seeds – the sesame seeds are lightly roasted in a wide pan over low heat till they begin to pop. Stir continuously to avoid burning them.
- Baking Powder – as the leavening agent
- Sugar – I’ve used less sugar. Add more if you prefer sweet cookies.
- Lemon Zest – for flavour. Or you can use vanilla extract or anise extract.
- Milk – generally egg is used but I replaced it with milk and a little extra butter. If you want to use egg for the recipe given below use one egg and no milk.
- Egg free
- Consume in moderation as the cookies contain sugar and butter.
ITALIAN SESAME SEED COOKIES/ BISCOTTI REGINA
- ½ cup sesame seeds roasted
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 120 g butter softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest grated
- 8 tbsp milk
- 2 tbsp honey
- Take a wide pan and add the sesame seeds. Roast the seeds over low heat, stirring all the time till they just begin to pop.
- Remove the roasted sesame seeds from the pan onto a plate. Allow the seeds to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Line baking trays with parchment paper or grease it lightly with butter.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Add sugar, honey and butter into another mixing bowl.
- Cream the mixture till it becomes light and fluffy.
- Add milk and lemon zest and mix till the milk is completely incorporated into the butter sugar mixture.
- Add the flour mixture. Using you hand make a soft dough.
- Take about a tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll it into a shape of yoru choice. You can make them round, logs or square.
- I shaped them into logs about 2 inches in length.
- Brush the logs very lightly with milk all over.
- Roll each long in the sesame seeds till they are fully coated.
- Arrange the cookies in a baking tray, an inch apart.
- Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes. I baked them for 20 minutes at 180°C and then lowered the temperature to 150°C for the last five minutes.
- Remove the baked cookies from the oven.
- Remove them from the tray and allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.
- Store in an airtight contianer or jar.
- Serve the cookies for dessert or with coffee, tea or milk.
- I've used wheat flour. You can replace it with all purpose flour.
- Make sure you roast the sesame seeds for that lovely nutty crunchy taste.
- Replace milk with an egg if you wish.
- Add flavoring of your choice.
- You can omit honey, but it adds a lovely flavour to the cookies.
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