How to Make Italian Sesame Cookies

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 38,014
    Culinary Expert Amy Riolo demonstrates how to make Italian Sesame Cookies.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Amy Riolo. Today, we are making Italian cookies. The cookie which we are going to make next are Calabrian and Sesame Cookies. The ingredients we will be using are 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour plus extra for the work surface, 1/3 of sugar, 1 teaspoons baking powder, a pinch of salt, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cup of un-toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract that can be dry or liquid and a of milk. So the first thing that we will be using to make our dough is the flour. We are going to combine all of the dry ingredients into a standing mixer, but if you don't have a standing mixer at home or you don't want to use it, you can very easily just do it in a bowl and use a spoon. This is a very old fashioned cookie and it's definitely fine to do that. This is a very traditional cookie that's served on Christmas day. In Italian, they are called Biscotti di Regina or Queen's cookies. So now we have all of our dry ingredients in the bowl and I am just going to mix them together for one second. Then we are going to add our vanilla. If you have liquid vanilla, that's fine. Then our 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Then we are going to just mix this together. Then as the butter starts to get broken down into little pieces, you can mix it for a little bit longer until it gets more incorporated and then we are going to add our milk. So now we can add our milk, then we can increase the speed a little bit. Basically, what we are doing is we are working the dough until it gets to have a nice pliable texture. So we are going to keep working it for a few more minutes and then we will roll them and roll them into the sesames. So that's mixed enough and what you really want to do to test the dough is just to form it into your hand. If the dough forms a ball, then that's exactly the right mixture that you need it to be, the right texture. These cookies are very integral to Southern Italian culture. In addition to being served on Christmas day, you can find them a lot at Italian weddings and at other functions. They are nice cookie to have on hand because there is not a lot of sugar in them. As you can see, only a 1/3 of a cup is really not a lot at all. So they are delicious cookie and they are pretty healthy in terms of being a dessert. You can eat them for breakfast and you can also freeze them and have them on hand. So now we have a nice ball with our dough and this is what we need. Then you have a prepared baking pan which you can put either parchment paper on or in this case, we have a Silpat. Then what we are going to do is break off, kind of, 1 inch pieces. You can make them smaller or larger, it really depends upon what you want to do, but the important thing is, with this cookie that you make them all even sized. So bigger, smaller, really doesn't matter, just make them even sized. Then we are going to roll them to coat them in the sesame seeds. Then we are going to place them on our baking pan and then we press down with our finger. This, kind of, makes this little shape this way, kind of, like a walnut piece. That's what you are looking for, you don't want them to be completely round and you don't want them to be completely flat, its kind of an in between, kind of, a size that we are going for with the Biscotti di Regina. This is really fun for kids. When I was a kid, it was always my job to roll. It's a great way to get them to learn how to bake and to learn the importance of getting things to be even sized. That really, I think, helps their concentration and their intention span, when you give them something like this that takes time to do. If you didn't have time to roll them out, you could freeze the dough, you could also put the dough in the refrigerator, but you would just want to bring it back to room temperature before you go ahead and bake them. So we can continue rolling out the cookies. Then when they are time to bake, you want to bake them in a preheated oven. That's been set to 375 degrees and we are going to bake it for about 18-20 minutes. You want to bake them until they are firm to the touch and the bottoms are lightly golden. You don't want to let them actually turn very dark, but 18-20 minutes should be perfect. Those are our sesame cookies which are Southern Italian Calabrian recipe. They have a great crunchy flavor. When we come back, we will be making our Pizzelle.

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