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…
Making sesame seed cookies is very easy, and a child-friendly recipe (apart from the oven segment)…
1 Cup butter
¾ Cup sugar
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)
- First, preheat the oven to 175 C, 350 F, Gas Mark 4 and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the egg and anise extract until well blended.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and stir into the butter mixture until well blended.
- The dough should now be soft and will hand roll easily. Cool in refrigerator to make it easier to handle.
- Pinch off pieces of dough slightly smaller than a walnut, and roll them into small logs.
- 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!
- Place cookies one inch apart on a cookie sheet; they shouldn’t spread a great deal.
- 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!
- Remove from cookie sheets with a palette knife and leave to cool on wire racks.
- Guard them from marauding children and grown-ups, as they are delicious when still warm!
- Store in an airtight container or can be frozen….
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