Thursday, March 14, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Biscotti Regina (Sesame Cookies) / Cookies for Lent

I know this is Lent.
Strictly speaking we should confine ourselves to very plain fare.
And no desserts.

Well… There are ways to get around that.
Think it through.

We're allowed bread and pasta, which are made from flour.
Eggs are an economical source of protein.
Cookies are made from flour and eggs.

So, if we make very plain cookies, like Carmela Soprano's Quaresimali or
Ma's Kwarezimal or Ma's Biskuttini tar-Rahal or Ma's Qaghag tal-Gulglien
Well, it's just bread, right?

Janice Soprano's chapter Sunday Dinner in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook
has a recipe that should be perfect as a Lenten dessert.
I can believe that Livia prepared Biscotti Regina to finish off a Sunday dinner in Lent.
Sure… Livia and Janice would prepare this with a clear conscience.
I would agree with their logic.
Which, I guess, isn't really saying much for my conscience.
Oh, my….

                        Biscotti Regina

In a shallow bowl pour
1/2 Cup milk

On a piece of waxed paper spread
2 Cups unhulled sesame seeds

Grease and flour 2 large cookie pans         
Preheat oven to 375º        

Mix together
4 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl whisk together
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated orange zest 

In a large mixer bowl, on low speed beat 
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
Gradually add the dry ingredients.
Stir in the egg mixture.
Blend well.

Pinch off a golf ball size piece of the dough.
Shape it into a log 2 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.
Dip the log into the milk, then roll it in the sesame seeds.
Place it on the prepared pan and flatten slightly.
Repeat with the remaining dough and place them, 
1 inch apart, on the baking sheets.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the logs are well browned. 
Let cool on the cookie pans for 10 minutes.
Transfer to racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

Would I make Biscotti Regina again?
Sure, and I still think they're perfect for Lent.
I mean, they make sesame butter.
Which is like peanut butter.
So this is just a kind of crunchy sesame butter sandwich, right?
Oh, hell...
Bless me, Father, for I have eaten...

One recipe down.  Thirty-three more to go. 

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