August is an august month for our Blessed Mother! August is dedicated (in addition to the Blessed Sacrament) to her Immaculate Heart. On the 15th, we celebrate her assumption into heaven and on the 22nd, we honor her queenship. This month, turn to the Queen of Heaven and Earth and ask for her intercession through the Rosary. Celebrate her maternal care for us with this fun recipe for Biscotti di Regina (Queen’s Biscuits).
Biscotti di Regina
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
4-5 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons sesame seeds (see note)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with baking parchment, or grease them generously with baking spray or shortening. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed. Remove the top from the food processor, and distribute the pieces of butter over the top of the flour mixture. Put the top back on and pulse just until the pieces are the size of small peas; don’t overmix.
In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly and add it to the food processor. Pulse briefly. Add the milk one tablespoon at time, pulsing between additions, just until a soft dough forms. (Alternatively, you can make the dough by hand; cut the butter in using a pastry blender or two knives, and stir in the egg and milk with a spoon.)
Place the sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.
Break the dough into small balls (a little smaller than a table tennis ball) and roll each between the palms of your hands to form a short, stubby tube about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch wide. Flatten the rolls slightly and dredge each side in sesame seeds. Place about ¾ of an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. These cookies can be kept in an airtight container for three or four days, or frozen for up to four weeks.
NOTE: Unhulled, raw sesame seeds can be found in natural foods stores and some supermarkets (look in the Middle Eastern aisle). You also can find toasted sesame seeds in the Asian aisle of the grocery store; you can use these but they will give the cookies a slightly more pronounced sesame flavor.