Sesame cookies

The historic recipe of this classic Sicilian specialty

In Sicily the traditional biscuit par excellence is the sesame biscuit, loved by adults and children, it cannot be missing in every Sicilian table!
It is the most widespread, easy to buy in a pastry shop or in bakeries but, above all, simple to prepare at home.

These cookies are a real temptation … One leads to another!
All thanks to the preparation, made as it was once, in which local raw materials were preferred and the aromatic seeds for decoration.

Characteristics and variations of sesame biscuits

The peculiarity of these tasty biscuits lies in the fact that their surface is entirely covered with sesame seeds, an element already used in a thousand ways in Sicilian recipes and especially for typical bread.
Not surprisingly, sesame gives a dry aroma, vaguely toasted and unmistakable!

This distinctive ingredient is a clear sign of the Arabic imprint in the local cuisine and gives the biscuit a particular balance.
The internal sweetness, in fact, is rounded off by the “toasted” scent of the seeds.

A variable aspect, instead, can be found in the components of the dough.
Bakeries prefer to use suet while pastry chefs use butter.
Clearly the difference is substantial: in the first case the biscuits are very crunchy, in the second they are softer but also tastier!

The different denominations of the sesame biscuit

These crunchy delights are found throughout the Island under different names:

  • Reginelle or Biscotti Regina (Palermo)
  • Sesamini
  • Cìmini or Viscotta ‘nciminàti (the cìmini in dialect indicate sesame seeds)
  • Viscotta cu a ngingiullèna (Favara)

Throughout the Sicilian territory you can enjoy these delicious biscuits in numerous variations both in form and in preparation.
In fact, there are several recipes and this one I suggest is my favorite!
I am particularly fond of it because I copied it directly from the old family cookbook.

Come on, roll up your sleeves and have fun!

Sesame biscuit recipe

These fragrant delicacies are eaten mainly at breakfast but it is not unusual to serve them with a steaming tea or an aromatic sweet local wine.
Their unique flavor and unforgettable scent make them perfect for every moment of the day!

  • 500 g of flour
  • 200 g of extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of egg (beat an egg and take 2 tablespoons)
  • rind of a lemon (or orange)
  • 1/2 glass of warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 g of sesame seeds
  1. In a bowl put flour, oil, sugar, grated rind, milk, two tablespoons of egg and baking powder.
    Knead until a homogeneous ball is obtained.

  2. Let it rest for 5 minutes, covering it with a clean dry cloth.
    After this time, cut the dough into loaves and make some “sausages” about 5 cm long and 2 cm wide.

  3. Pass each biscuit in the sesame and place in a baking pan, taking care to place them away from each other so that they do not stick together during cooking.

  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° until they are golden brown.
    Eat after they have cooled down.


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