How to make traditional (and addictive) Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

Biscotti Rainelle, or, in English, Queen’s Cookies or Italian Sesame Cookies, are a traditional Sicilian treat. These little cookies are crunchy with a hint of sweetness and a rich nutty flavor due to the fact they are covered in toasted sesame seeds.

The sesame cookies are easy to make and are great served along with a cup of coffee, espresso or cappuccino. They will last for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

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Yields 24 (2 ¼ -inch cookies)

1 plus 2 tablespoons stick softened butter

1 tablespoon sesame oil

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ cup water

1 cup toasted sesame seeds


  1. Place the butter and sesame oil into a mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to cream this mixture until smooth. Add in the sugar and continue mixing until fluffy.
  2. Add in the 2 egg yolks, almond extract and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and then fold the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it forms a smooth dough. Place the dough into plastic wrap and cover. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a 15-inch log. Cut each log into 2 ¼ -inch pieces.
  7. In a shallow dish, whisk the reserved egg white and water together. In a second shallow dish, pour the sesame seeds.
  8. Dip each cookie in the egg white and then roll each one into the toasted sesame seeds. Place the sesame seed cookies onto the lined baking sheets and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool completely.
  9. Store the sesame seed cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or for up to 2 months in the freezer.

The article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of 225 magazine.