Che buono! (so good!)
Dry? Hard? Not sweet enough? In defense of the Italian cookie
Despite our country's romance with all things Italian, it seems there is a serious gap when it comes to Italy's colorful, diverse repertoire of cookies. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
• "Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray" (St. Martin's Griffin), by Maria Bruscino Sanchez, is short on photos, long on authentic recipes.
Sicilian sesame cookies (Biscotti regina)
Prep: 40 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: 24 cookies
Note: From "Dolci," by Francine Segan.
2 cups (12 ounces) flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
8 tablespoons butter, olive oil or lard, see note below
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon honey
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons water
1. Combine the flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolks, milk, honey, lemon zest and salt; knead with your hands until a dough forms. Roll the dough into a ball; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.