Italian S cookies are super popular breakfast cookies. Learn how to make these traditional Sicilian cookies at home with basic ingredients.
Growing up in Sicily, I remember making these Italian S cookies with my nonna during the weekend or around the holidays.
And today I'm sharing exactly my nonna's Italian S cookie recipe (one of the very few she has written down with measurements!).
I promise these breakfast cookies are incredibly easy to make, you can actually ask your kids to help you out, my 4-year-old loves making them with me!
WHAT ARE ITALIAN S COOKIES?
Together with amaretti cookies and Italian butter cookies, these are one of the most popular cookies in Italy.
The S cookies are called "biscotti esse" in Italian, but they also go by the name of biscotti squisiti (which literally means "delicious cookies"!).
These Sicilian S-shaped cookies originate from Ragusa, one of the most fascinating towns in Sicily.
Traditionally they were made through a grinder with a cookie attachment, to give them a nice wavy texture.
But these days they're made simply by rolling the dough into thin ropes arranged in a classic S-shape.
They have a delicious lemon aroma and a lovely crumbly texture.
In Sicily, we usually serve them for breakfast with milk or tea, or as an afternoon snack.
You won't believe how easy these cookies are!
The Italian S cookie dough is made with the most simple ingredients, in typical Italian fashion.
You'll need just 6 ingredients:
- Butter: Use softened butter cut into chunks, it makes it easier to mix it with the flour.
- Flour: I use regular all-plain flour or Italian 00 flour.
- Eggs: go for large-sized eggs.
- Lemon: Lemon zest adds a beautiful citrusy note to the cookies, you can swap it with orange zest if you like. Opt for unwaxed organic lemons if possible.
- Sugar: you can use regular caster sugar for this recipe.
- Baking powder: a little baking powder gives the cookies a nice slightly softer texture.
- Milk: This is optional, but depending on the flour brand you use, or the size of the eggs, if the cookie dough is a bit too tough, I usually add 1 tablespoon of milk to soften it a bit.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN S COOKIES
This is a quick overview of how to make Sicilian S cookies with step-step pictures.
For the full recipe, scroll down to the easy-to-print recipe card.
STEP 1 - Mix butter with flour.
In a large bowl mix the softened butter and flour.
STEP 2 - Mix in the remaining ingredients.
Add in the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and finally the baking powder.
STEP 3 - Rest the dough.
Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough, and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
STEP 4 - Form the cookies.
Place the dough on a work surface, and divide it into small balls.
Roll each ball to form a 7cm/2.5-inch rope, model it into an S shape with your hands, and arrange it on a baking tray.
Bake for 10 minutes, then cool and serve.
HOW TO STORE
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container or sealed jar. Keep them in a cool spot in your kitchen or in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
CAN I MAKE THEM AHEAD?
Yes, you can! You can form your S cookies the night before, refrigerate them overnight then bake them in the morning.
You can also freeze them before they are baked.
Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to one month.
To bake them after freezing, let them thaw for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator, then bake them.
You can also freeze them after baking them.
Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to two months.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Italian S Cookies - Biscotti A Esse
- 125 g butter, softened
- 500 g all purpose flour
- 200 g sugar
- 2 eggs, large
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon milk, optional
- In a large bowl mix the softened butter and flour until you have a crumbly and sandy mixture.
- Add in the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and finally the baking powder. Add an optional tablespoon of milk if you feel the dough is a bit hard and rough.
- Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough, and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Arrange the oven tray onto the middle shelf, and line a cookie baking tray with parchment paper.
- Place the dough on a work surface, and divide it into small balls.
- Roll each ball to form a 7cm/2.5-inch rope, model it into an S shape with your hands, and arrange it on the lined baking tray.
- Bake the S cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove the tray from the oven allow the cookies to cool slightly, transfer them on a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely, then serve.
- Depending on the flour brand you use, or the size of the eggs, if you feel the cookie dough is a bit too tough, add 1 tablespoon of milk to soften it a bit.
- To give them a shiny surface, you can brush the cookies with a beaten egg white right before baking them.
- Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack, this will help to set the cookies, and results in a crunchy outside and a soft and chewy inside.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
MORE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN DESSERTS TO TRY
If you liked this recipe, check out more favorite Italian desserts recipes here:
Diane Iribarren says
I tried this recipe yesterday, the mix was to dry. Added 2 more eggs & 2 Tbs. Of milk, to get it right. Can you please check the ingredients. Thanks. Diane
Hi Diane, I've been making this recipe for a long time and the amounts should be correct. Did you follow the gram or US measurements? What flour did you use? Did you use large eggs? Apologies for the many questions, just trying to understand what went wrong 🙂
Jacqueline Dobson says
Love S cookies . Can’t wait to try this recipe .
Can you provide the recipe of the piped S cookies that are in the photo as well ? TIA
Hi Jaqueline can't wait to hear how you liked them! The recipe to make the piped cookies is the same, I simply added the optional 1 tablespoon of milk. However, I don't recommend piping the cookies, it's very hard! You'll need a good piping bag (not the disposable ones), and you need to press very hard. I do however recommend the traditional method mentioned in the post, and use the cookie cutter attachment for a mincer (there's a link in the post for the cookie attachment, it should work also with the Kitchen Aid mincer attchment).