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Italian Sesame Cookies (Giuggiulena)

Prep Time:

80 mins.

Cook Time:

10 mins.


7 to 8 dozen

These festive Italian cookies are similar in crunchiness to biscotti and are great for serving with (or dipping into) coffee or tea. They’re rolled in sesame seeds and have a delicious hint of anise flavor.


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 to 3 cups toasted sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment. Cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and add to butter mixture, mixing until dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Place milk and sesame seeds into 2 separate bowls and set aside. Cut dough into 8 portions, roll each portion into a 24-inch long rope and cut the ropes into 2-inch pieces. Dip or brush each piece in milk and then roll in sesame seeds. Place on prepared sheet pans.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Let cool completely.

Kitchen Tip:

  • To toast raw sesame seeds, place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until light golden brown and fragrant. Let cool before using.