Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sesame Biscotti - Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

Italian Sesame Cookies

Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
These are an Italian Classic!   Sesame Seed Biscotti

These Italian Sesame Seed Biscotti cookies are very popular not only in bakeries in Sicily, but also among Sicilian families in New York.  My mom used to make these Italian Sesame Seed cookies all the time, but they were especially made for the holidays, birthdays or other larger family gatherings.  They were softer than the hard biscotti, and easier for a kid to eat.   

I used to love these Italian Sesame Cookies as a child.    The toasted sesame seeds and real butter her are essential to making this cookie as good as it could be.   Don’t use Crisco.   Many folks use shortening, but in my opinion, that totally ruins it.   I make
these Italian sesame cookies with organic butter, and I swear I can tell the difference blind folded. 

For Italian Sesame Cookies

•    4 cups flour
•    2 sticks butter, softened
•    1 cup sugar
•    2 eggs
•    ½ cup of Milk
•    2 cups sesame seeds
•    3 ½ tsp baking powder
•    ½ tsp salt
•    1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
•    1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions For 
Italian Sesame Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat.   They will start to darken a little in color, but the taste will dramatically improve.    When toasted, place the seeds in a shallow plate to cool.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder sugar and salt. Set aside
  • In a mixer cream the butter.   Then, mix in the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix in the mixer until a well blended cookie dough is formed.
  • Separate the dough into 1 ½ inch balls.    Take each ball and shape it into a log like cookie, about 2 ½ inch long.
  • Pour the milk into a shallow bowl.    Dip each cookie first in the milk. Then, roll it in the toasted sesame seeds.
  • Place each Italian sesame cookie on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, about an inch or so apart.   Slightly flatten each cookie when placing it on the cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the cookies to be.   The cookies should be well browned.
  • Remove from oven and let sit on pan about 5 minutes.   Then, transfer each sesame cookie to a rack to completely cool.
I hope you have enjoyed this recipe for the very classic these Italian sesame cookies!   Desserts are fun, aren’t they!  Please feel free to subscribe to my blog for more amazing Italian home cooking.


  1. You have to use crisco, for sesame cookies. that is how you get the crispness. and no lemon.

  2. I totally agree with you that the butter makes all the difference. These are by far the best sesame cookies I've ever made and got so many complements. Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! Glad to pass this recipe on!

  3. I made these cookies today, they taste delicious. I'm just a little confused. I followed the direction exactly but my dough turned out more like corn meal. I was able to form them but is this how the dough is supposed to be or did I do something wrong? In any case I love the finished product.

  4. The first time I made these cookies I followed the recipe as is and I got cornmeal and not dough. The cookies were hard to form but the taste was wonderful. Today I made them and creamed the sugar with the butter and it worked so much better. I used 2 tsp.anise extract and 1 tsp vanilla. Unbelievably delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. My Mother used to make these and of biscotti for Christmas every year. She made them with Crisco, I make them with butter. I think the reason she made them with Crisco was a carry back from Works War II, when you couldn't get butter. She used vanilla and no lemon zest. She would roll them out in a long 1inch roll and cut them into 2 inch pieces. While making the roll she would roll in sesame seeds. She also make her other biscotti in the same way cutting them in it's, s's and ones, when baked she frosted in different colors of frosting and sprinkles. Thank you for sharing. What a great memory. Jennifer Guffanti