Sesame seeds biscuits are my favourite! I asked many times to my parents to send them to me in boxes, I put them in my luggage to bring back to the UK, I asked friends coming back from Sicily to bring me some. This till I found out how to make them myself.
These type of biscuits are called in Sicilian biscotti col cimino (English ‘ch’ sound) or biscotti con la giggiulena (all the g’s pronounced as the the final ‘g’ sound in ‘fridge’). They can be found in bakeries and are not fancy biscuits at all. Still they are very good. Once I start, I can’t stop eating them.
Looking on the internet I found out some recipes and I finally managed to recreate them my own way with the ingredients I can find in the UK.
250g plain flour
80g spreadable butter (if you use normal, unsalted butter you need to add some salt)
80g caster sugar
3g baking ammonia
100g sesame seeds
Andiamo in cucina! Let’s go to the kitchen!
*first thing, get the spreadable butter you need and leave it outside of the fridge for 10 min so that it cools downs.
*in a bowl, put the flour, sugar and baking ammonia. Create a little hole on the top. This is where you’ll put the butter and egg.
*put the egg (room temperature) and the cooled down butter in the bowl with the flour, sugar and ammonia.
*mix everything together with your hands to create a ball. You’ll see that the mix feels crumbly, don’t worry. It will get to shape. If it doesn’t, with your fingertips, get some of the leftover butter at the bottom of the bowl you used earlier and carry on working the mix. It will form a ball eventually.
*put the ball in cling film or freezing bag and leave it in the fridge for 45 min.
*in the meantime, get a medium size pan and pour the sesame seeds inside. Toast them on low heat. Stir till they become brown. You’ll see they become shiny too.
*After the 45 min (even more, it’s not a problem), get the dough from the fridge. In a bowl put the seeds and in another bowl some water to deep your fingers in.
*get a piece of dough and form a long cylinder a bit wider that a finger. Cut the cylinder in pieces the length of a baby finger.
*deep your hands in water, get what you have just cut and wet it a bit. Roll it in the sesame seeds so that you can cover the whole biscuit. Put it on a tray with baking paper on.
*do this till you have dough.
*put the uncooked biscuits in preheated oven (180 degrees C) for 15 min (using baking ammonia, you need to make sure that they are cooked. Cooking time depends on the type of oven, too).
*take them out and let them cool down.
*when cool, put them back in the oven at 150 degrees C for 10 min.
Your biscuits are ready! If you have some leftover sesame seeds, sprinkle them on an apple. It will taste amazing!
Biscotto means cooked two times (bis-cotto: 2 times-cooked).
Some Italian words have ‘bis” in them, like Bisnonno (bis-nonno: 2 times-grandfater, greatgrandfater).
When someone takes a second portion of the same dish, they say: faccio il bis!
Give a try with these biscotti: a simple, yet full of taste Sicilian experience!