Biscotti di Regina
My husband’s mother (my kids’ Noni) ate these as a child. Her first generation Sicilian mother used to make them, but a few years ago when I was putting together a family cookbook, she could only find a partial recipe. We searched around and found another recipe (in the Soprano’s Cookbook), which we think is pretty close to the original. These cookies are a traditional Sicilian treat, often eaten with coffee.
My daughter recently had a chance to share a little bit about her heritage at school (as part of the penpal project) and we decided to make these. I was a little surprised, but all the kids seemed to like them–even covered in sesame seeds. Maybe I think kids are pickier then they are! Just in case you’d like to try them, I’ve included a recipe below. I made them in more of a crescent shape, but I guess long finger looking ones are more traditional.
Biscotti di Regina
½ cup milk
2 cups unhulled sesame seeds
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature.
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla or orange extract)
Preheat oven to 375◦ F. Butter and flour 2 large baking sheets or use parchment paper.
Pour the milk into a shallow bowl. Spread the sesame seeds on a piece of wax paper or in another shallow bowl. Set both bowls aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter and sugar together. Add each egg, 1 at a time, and mix in between briefly. Add vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients (you may sift together before adding, if desired). Stir until well blended.
Pinch off a piece of dough the size of a golf ball and shape into a log 2 ½ inches long and ¾ inch thick. Dip the log in the milk, then roll it in the sesame seeds. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough, placing the cookies 1 inch apart.
Bake 15-25 minutes, or until well browned. Let cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.