Originally from Sicily, Reginelle cookies are popular Italian sesame cookies with a delicious nutty flavor and a lovely crumbly texture.
Not too sweet, with a lovely nutty flavor and a crunchy texture, Italian sesame cookies are perfect with tea, hot chocolate, milk, and coffee for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
You only need some simple basic ingredients to make them and they come together very easily, so you can even ask your kids to help you out!
If you're looking for an easy Christmas cookie recipe or a new cookie idea to add to a wedding cookie table, this is a must-try!
But honestly, you don't need a special occasion to bake these sesame cookies, just make them, enjoy their deliciousness and have some fun in the process!
WHAT ARE REGINELLE COOKIES?
Together with amaretti cookies, and Italian butter cookies, these are one of the most loved cookies in Sicily.
Originally from Sicily, Reginelle cookies are popular Italian sesame cookies that go by many different names: Regina cookies, Italian sesame seed cookies, "biscotti della Regina" or "Reginelle Palermitane" in Italian, or “Viscotta 'nciminati” in Sicilian dialect.
These sesame seed Italian cookies originate from Palermo, one of the most fascinating towns in Sicily.
They have a delicious nutty flavor and a lovely crumbly texture.
In Sicily, we usually serve them for breakfast with milk or tea, or as an afternoon snack.
They are also served as an after-dinner dessert together with a glass of Marsala wine.
SESAME COOKIES INGREDIENTS
This sesame cookie recipe is super easy to prepare with the most basic ingredients.
Here's what you'll need to make them:
- Butter: originally Reginelle were made with lard, you can use softened butter instead or an equal amount of lard (strutto in Italian).
- Flour: I use regular all-plain flour or Italian 00 flour.
- Eggs: go for large-sized eggs.
- Orange: orange zest adds a beautiful citrusy note to the cookies, you can swap it with lemon zest, lemon extract, ground saffron, or vanilla extract if you like. Opt for unwaxed organic orange if possible.
- Sugar: use regular caster sugar for this recipe.
- Baking powder: a little baking powder gives the cookies a nice slightly softer texture. For extra crisp cookies, use an equal amount of baker's ammonia.
- Milk: adding a bit of milk will make your dough softer and easier to work with.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN SESAME COOKIES
This is a quick overview of how to make sesame seed 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 ⅔ of the flour.
STEP 2 - Mix in the remaining ingredients.
Add in the eggs, sugar, orange zest, milk and baking powder. Add the remaining flour if necessary.
Mix all the ingredients, form a smooth dough, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
STEP 3 - Form the cookies.
Place the dough on a work surface, and divide it into small balls.
Roll each ball to form a 3cm/1.2-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into about 5 cm/2-inch long pieces, then press the palm of your hands on each piece to slightly flatten it. Arrange it on a baking tray and repeat the process.
STEP 4 - Roll cookies in sesame seeds and bake.
Arrange a small bowl of water and place the sesame seeds in another bowl. Dip very briefly each cookie in water and then roll it in the sesame seeds making sure is nicely covered. Then arrange them back on the baking tray.
Bake the sesame cookies for 20 minutes or until golden, then cool and serve.
HOW TO STORE
Store the baked Italian cookies with sesame seeds 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 sesame seed Italian 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 Sesame Cookies - Reginelle
- 150 g butter, softened
- 480 g all purpose flour
- 150 g sugar
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- zest of one orange
- 4 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 150 g sesame seeds
- In a large bowl mix the softened butter and ⅔ of the flour until you have a crumbly and sandy mixture.
- Make a well in the center and add in the eggs, sugar, orange zest, milk and baking powder. Stir the ingredients, and slowly incorporate the remaining flour until you have a smooth slightly sticky dough, you won't probably need to add all the flour.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°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 dough balls.
- Roll each ball to form a 3cm/1.2-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into about 5 cm/2-inch long pieces, then press the palm of your hands on each piece to slightly flatten it. Arrange it on a baking tray, repeat the process with the remaining dough.
- Arrange a small bowl of water and place the sesame seeds in another bowl. Dip very briefly each cookie in water and then roll it in the sesame seeds making sure is nicely covered. Then arrange them back on the baking tray.
- Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until nicely golden on top. Remove the tray from the oven, allow the cookies to cool then serve.
- Do not add all the flour immediately, in some cases this could result in a tough hard-to-work dough. Start with ⅔ of flour and slowly add the remaining flour after you have incorporated the other ingredients.
- If you want, replace the orange zest with lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or a pinch of ground saffron.
- For extra crisp cookies, substitute baking powder with an equal amount of baker's ammonia.
- When kneading a small piece of dough, seal the remaining dough in cling film so it won't dry out.
- 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 ITALIAN COOKIES RECIPES TO TRY
If you liked this sesame cookie recipe, check out more favorite Italian cookies recipes here:
I have a question about size. If you form a 7 cm rope and cut into 5cm pieces you would get less than 1 cookie per rope. is the correct?
Hi Terry, thank you for your question! It was poorly written and I just updated it, so you need to form a 3cm/1.2-inch wide rope (it doesn't matter how long they are), then cut into 5-6 cm long chunks. Hope that makes more sense now 🙂