Sesame Seed Cookies

Italian Giuggiulena: scrummily simple…or, simply scrummy.


A traditional Italian Christmas nibble, these simple to make, tasty little sesame seed cookies or biscuits are great any time of the year, not just the festive season, and give us a little dose of seeds we need, topping us up with Omega-3, fibre and Vitamin E, as well as being low in sugar and salt, compared to other biscuits – so healthy as well! Their Italian name Giugiuleni sounds very exotic; they are also known as ‘little loaves’ due to their shape.

They are great as a stand-alone snack, but are very popular with dunkers, in both coffee for the grown-ups and milk for the youngsters. They freeze well and keep brilliantly in an air-tight container, so we would recommend you make up a large batch; the amounts below can be easily doubled, trebled etc so are perfect for after school snacks before dinner-time, or a healthier option with your morning coffee than a standard biscuit…

An ideal storage vessel for a large batch of sesame seed cookies

An ideal storage vessel for a large batch of sesame seed cookies

Making sesame seed cookies is very easy, and a child-friendly recipe (apart from the oven segment)…

1 Cup butter
¾ Cup sugar
1 Egg
2 Teaspoons anise extract
2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
¼ Teaspoon baking powder
Good pinch salt
1 Cup sesame seeds
½ Cup milk (optional)


  1. First, preheat the oven to 175 C, 350 F, Gas Mark 4 and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the egg and anise extract until well blended.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and stir into the butter mixture until well blended.
  4. The dough should now be soft and will hand roll easily. Cool in refrigerator to make it easier to handle.
  5. Pinch off pieces of dough slightly smaller than a walnut, and roll them into small logs.
  6. Dip in milk if you like and then roll in sesame seeds. Dipped dough will encourage more seeds to stick; it depends on personal taste – I love a really seedy biscuit!
  7. Place cookies one inch apart on a cookie sheet; they shouldn’t spread a great deal.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bottom and sides of cookies are lightly toasted. Keep an eye on them, as they catch very easily!
  9. Remove from cookie sheets with a palette knife and leave to cool on wire racks.
  10. Guard them from marauding children and grown-ups, as they are delicious when still warm!
  11. Store in an airtight container or can be frozen….
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