Sicilian Specialties: “Reginelle” Biscotti

Often enjoyed with a glass of Marsala, these crisp cookies are made with honey and saffron and crusted in sesame seeds.

Sicilian Specialties: “Reginelle” Biscotti Photo by G. Giustolisi

Among the many culinary Sicilian specialties, these biscotti (cookies) are a real institution not only in Palermo, the city where they were born, but in all Sicily. You can find these crispy and savory cookies in bakeries, pastry shops and even in the best supermarkets of the island. Usually, in bakeries, they are prepared with lard (and, therefore, have a crunchy texture) while in patisseries is privileged butter. In both cases, the taste is unique and special because of the presence, in the mixture, of saffron and toasted sesame covering cookies, giving an unmistakable scent.

Younger diners, eat Reginelle for breakfast (or for snack) “dunked” in milk. Adults and the most refined palates, as tradition dictates, accompany these delights with a good glass of Marsala (Sicilian dessert wine). ?My recipe provides the use of olive oil, in substitution of animal fats, usually used in the preparation of these cookies. Raw sugar and honey are the finishing touch to a typical home made rustic recipe, to share with people we love.

Sicilian Specialties: "Reginelle" Biscotti
Often enjoyed with a glass of Marsala, these crisp cookies are made with honey and saffron and crusted in sesame seeds.
Recipe Type: Dolci, Baking
Cuisine: Italian, Sicilian
Serves: 20-25 cookies
  • 500 g (17 oz/2 cups) Farro flour (or Kamut flour)
  • 150 g (5 0z) raw sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp raw local honey
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 150 g (5 0z) sesame
  • 15 g (½ oz ) organic baking powder
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • milk (or rice milk) to taste (the amount depends on the type of flour used (most are full or, recently refined and more milk is needed)
  1. In a bowl, knead flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the oil, honey, saffron (dissolved in a little warm milk) and salt. Knead the ingredients until the consistency is very compact.
  2. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Obtained sticks length of about five centimeters, and cover the dough with sesame.
  3. Place the cookies on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.?Cook in preheated oven at 200°C (400°F /gas 3for about ten minutes. Subsequently lowered to 180° C (350° F / Gas 4) and cook for another 10-15 minutes.


Veronica Lavenia

Veronica Lavenia

Veronica is a born and raised Italian. She inherited her love for travel, passion for cooking and natural, sustainable, plant based slow food from her parents. Her works have appeared in 'Vegetarian Living', 'Veggie Magazine', 'Lifestyle food', 'Australian Good Food & Travel Guide', 'Chickpea' and 'Free from Heaven', among others. She is the author of "Panini: the simple tastes of Italian style bread"; 'The Rustic Italian bakery" and "The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen", published by New Holland Publishers Australia. Her fourth book, 'A Modern Italian Table: simple everyday natural recipes' will be released in March 2017, for the same publisher.

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