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?
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.
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