Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies go by many names like Biscotti Regina, Giugiuleni or, as Joe’s family calls them, Cimino Cookies. This cookie is shaped like a little loaf of bread covered in sesame seeds. It is isn’t overly sweet, but is perfect for dunking!

These cookies are a holiday favorite

Many years ago, Joe’s mom, Anna Rose, taught me how to make Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies, as well as the Vanilla Tutu Cookies and the Chocolate Tutu Cookies. I make these cookies every year as part of our Christmas tradition. Now you can too!

I have tried multiple recipes for Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies over the years. I’ve tried making them with sugar. I’ve also tried making them with honey and even replacing the butter with lard. This recipe is my (and my friend’s and family’s) favorite! It is made with honey, instead of sugar. The honey keeps the cookie moist, yet adds a deeper level of flavor. Rolling the cookies in sesame seeds before baking allows the sesame seeds to get nice and toasty. Adding yet another layer of flavor and texture.

Sesame Seeds Cookies are quintessentially Sicilian

Joe and I went to Sicily on one of our trips to Italy. Not only did we have a fantastic time, but we also learned about the history of the island. Many different groups occupied Sicily over the years. They all left their stamp on the island. Starting with the Phoenicians and Greeks, moving on to the Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish. Above all, now the Sicilians say the Italians are “occupying” them. For instance, the Arabs brought sugar, citrus, sesame seeds, rice and many other foods to the island. These ingredients, especially the sesame seeds are quintessentially Sicilian, therefore they always bring me back to that wonderful trip. Now you can take this Sicilian adventure too!

Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies

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Recipe by Margaret Sanfelippo Course: DessertsCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


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Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies are shaped like a little loaves of bread covered in sesame seeds. They’re the perfect cookie for dunking!


  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 flour

  • 1 tsp 1 baking powder

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 salt

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 honey

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 vanilla extract

  • 2 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 milk

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 sesame seeds


  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Put the butter, honey, eggs and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl, as necessary. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined (the dough will be very soft). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough about 1 hour or until firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with a silpat silicone liner or parchment paper. Form chilled dough into
    1 ½ “ x 3” “loaves”.
  • Put the milk in shallow bowl and the sesame seeds in another shallow bowl. Roll the cookies in the milk and then the sesame seeds. Place on the baking sheets about 2” apart.
  • Bake about 10-12 minutes until just golden brown. Be sure not to overbake or they will be dry. Cool on a wire rack.

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