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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Biscotti di Regina: Attempt #1

Every holiday season my brother-in-law has given us the most wonderful Biscotti di Regina from his neighborhood Brooklyn bakery. These cookies, also known as Queen's Biscuits, are classic Italian cookies with a sweet, cake-like texture with a crispy coating of sesame seeds. They are a traditional Italian accompaniment to wine or coffee.

This year, after finishing the entire box he gave us, I decided I'd start a quest to try to make these on my own. I took a recipe from and made my first try today. The resulting cookies are quite good but definitely don't compare to the Brooklyn cookies!

I used the following recipe and have noted below where I will change the recipe next time to try to achieve a more 'Brooklyn-like' cookie:

  • 2 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (I felt the cardamom flavor was much too strong with just 1/4 tsp; next time I'll halve this to 1/8 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract (next time I'll replace this with vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (the recipe did not call for this but I used it for brushing on the cookie for browning purposes)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a large bowl. Cut shortening in with a pastry blender until the size of small peas (next time I'll cut in the shortening until my mixture looks like cornmeal; some of the cookies had bites of crisco the size of small peas!)
  • Stir in the egg, lightly beaten with flavoring extract. Stir in milk one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition.
  • Break dough off in small pieces and roll hands to form a log about 1.5" long. Flatten slightly and roll in sesame seeds (here is where I brushed it with the heavy cream)
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheet about 3/4" apart. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until lightly browned.


  1. These sound like a really good cookie. Good luck in your quest!

  2. Love the cardamom in it. There's a similar Chinese cookie with sesame seeds which is fried. I think this i much better.