Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

I’ve been trying to remember how old I was the first time I ever had a homemade chocolate chip cookie.  Hard as it is for me to believe now, I don’t remember having one until my first year of junior high school when we made them in home economics class.  I’ve certainly made up for lost time since then!

My mother was a fabulous cook but rarely baked.  When we would visit our Italian relatives on a Sunday afternoon, that meant first stopping at a local Italian bakery to get a handpicked box of Italian cookies.  I can still see that square white box tied with white string holding a variety of my favorite cookies—none of which were chocolate chip!  There would be twice-baked biscotti (with and without almonds), vanilla crescents, pignoli, biscotti with colored sprinkles, and my very favorite anise-flavored sesame seed cookies.  To this day, whenever I have an Italian sesame seed cookie, I can see me and my sisters in our Sunday best proudly carrying in that string-tied box of cookies to our relatives.

My friend Anita made these cookies once for our bridge group; and I, of course, got the recipe.  It uses an entire 1-oz. bottle of anise extract which I just love.  If you are not as big a fan of anise as I am, you can cut back on it; but I love the strong anise flavor just as it is.

Easter isn’t complete with a big plate of homemade Italian cookies or some ricotta pie.  The chocolate chip cookies will just have to wait until next week.  Hope you had a happy Easter…..

Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 tsp. anise extract (1 whole small 1-oz. bottle)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • Approx. 3 1/4 cups flour
  • Sesame seeds & milk


Beat eggs.  Add sugar, baking powder, salt, anise & mix well.  Add oil; mix well.  Add 3 to 3 1/4 cups of flour and try rolling a walnut-sized ball in your hand.  It should not be sticky.  Add a little more flour if needed to get the right consistency.

Use small cookie scoop and form cookies into an oval shape.  Pour some milk in a bowl and put some sesame seeds in another bowl.  Roll the cookies in milk; then in sesame seeds.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350o for approx. 20 mins

Fran’s Notes

I always have sesame seeds on hand because I routinely make Franola, so I just pour what I need in a bowl.  I’ve never measured; but, if I had to estimate, I probably use at least two cups.  I buy my sesame seeds in bulk at the health food store.  It’s much more economical than buying those little bottles at the supermarket.

Source:   My good friend, Anita

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