Made with sweet cream butter, sesame seeds and a hint of lemon, these Italian sesame cookies are a classic family favorite. They can be made in advance and kept for several weeks- at room temperature or frozen- in an airtight container. Recipe adapted (with changes) from Italy Magazine.
- 250 g (2 cups, lightly spooned & leveled) all purpose flour
- 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 113 g (8 tbsp. or “1 stick”) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cold-ish)
- 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for coating)
- 2 tbsp. milk (full fat or any %)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tbsp lightly packed (optional).
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds, plus more as needed
Notes & Tips
You won’t need the full 3 egg whites for coating the dough in sesame seeds (1-2 is plenty). Feel free to portion out only what you’ll need and save/freeze the rest for another recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- By hand or with a stand mixer: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter. With your finger tips (or paddle attachment if using a mixer) rub the butter into the flour mixture; the texture should look like coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using. Mix until the dough holds together (it should be smooth- not sticky or dry). Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes- 1 hr or overnight.
- Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll into (8x) 5-inch long logs. Cut the logs into (24x) 1 1/2-inch pieces, like gnocchi but bigger.
- Dunk the dough in the reserved egg whites and then roll in the sesame seeds. Place onto the sheet pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes until light golden brown.
- Once completely cool, store the cookies in an airtight container for several weeks. Freeze for up to 1-2 months.
Keywords: Italian sesame cookies, sesame seed cookies, Regina cookies, Reginelle cookies, egg whites, all purpose flour, egg yolks