Biscotti ReginaClick to Play

Biscotti Regina

Mary Ann Esposito

These are a delicious Sicilian cookie, widely available in commercially-made versions. I assume that the regina (queen) in question is Margherita di Savoia, the second and much beloved queen of a united Italy. Pizza Margherita was also named in her honor. Queen Margherita loved sweets and would often go personally to visit pastry shops with her ladies in waiting. She was known to spontaneously ennoble the owner of a pastry shop where she really liked the cookies, elevating him to the rank of cavaliere (knight)! Biscotti regina are an example of an Italian cookie which is not sliced and re baked, since biscotti in Italian just means cookies.

Makes about 40 cookies


3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flourinto dry-measure cup and level off)
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 - 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Egg wash: 2 large eggs well beaten with a pinch of salt
2 cups untoasted sesame seed


2 cookie sheets or jellyroll pans covered with parchment or foil

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325°F.

Combine the flour,sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with themetal blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the butter is finely mixed in, but the mixture is still cool and powdery.Add the 3 eggs and vanilla and pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball.

Invert the bowl to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Briefly knead the dough 2or 3 times to make it smooth. Shape the dough into a rough cylinder. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide thedough into 8 equal pieces.

Roll one piece ofdough into a rope about 15 inches long. Cut the dough into 3-inch lengths. Repeatwith the remaining pieces of dough, lining up the little cylinders of dough onthe left side of your work surface.

After all the cookies have been formed, place the egg wash and sesame seeds, each in a shallow bowlnext to the cookies, and place the baking pans to their right.

Drop one of the cookies into the egg wash and use a fork to turn it over so that it is completely covered. Use the fork to lift it out of the egg wash, letting the excess drip off over the bowl and place it on the sesame seeds. Use a second fork to roll the cookie around in the sesame seeds to cover it completely. Use the fork to transfer the coated cookie to one of the prepared pans, lining up the cookies so that they are about 1 1/2 inches apart all around. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Bake the cookies until they are risen, firm, and the sesame seeds are golden, about 30 minutes.

After the first 15minutes, place the pan from the lower rack on the upper one and vice versa,turning the pans back to front at the same time. If you know that your oven gives strong bottom heat, bake the pan on the lower rack stacked on a second one for insulation. Slide the papers off the pans to cool the cookies.

Storage: Keep thecookies between sheets of wax paper in a tin or plastic container with atight-fitting cover.

This recipe isfeatured on show 1909 - Sicilian Cookies.

item recipe is featured in Episode 1909 of Season 19.

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  1. Paul Scalice's avatar

    Paul Scalice

    | Permalink
    Dear Mary Ann:

    I seem to remember my grandmother's version of the "Biscotti Regina" having had a lightly anise flavor. Could she have, perhaps, used Annisetta instead of, or in addition to the vanilla extract?

    From your biggest fan in Delaware,
    Paul Scalice
  2. Paul Lally, Executive producer's avatar

    Paul Lally, Executive producer

    | Permalink
    Sure thing, Paul,

    Finely chopped anise seeds or liquid anisette is a very common variant used for biscotti.


  3. Pantuso's avatar


    | Permalink
    Thank you so much! I had come to believe I would NEVER taste this again. My Grandmother (Calo)used to make these at Christmas. There was never a reciepe written down. Thank you for giving me back a part of my childhood!
    Mary-Francis Pantuso-Godsey
  4. Nicoletta Sacco's avatar

    Nicoletta Sacco

    | Permalink
    Thank you-grazie tanto-Mary Ann and Nick Malgieri for the terrific tutorial on biscotti regina. I am going to make them right now.

  5. Carol ATMortillaro Parker's avatar

    Carol ATMortillaro Parker

    | Permalink
    Mary Ann
    thanks for this recipe! it's a good one and your 21st century directions are a breeze.
    ciao bella. c

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