Italian S Cookies – Biscotti A Esse

Italian S cookies are super popular breakfast cookies. Learn how to make these traditional Sicilian cookies at home with basic ingredients.

Growing up in Sicily, I remember making these Italian S cookies with my nonna during the weekend or around the holidays.

And today I’m sharing exactly my nonna’s Italian S cookie recipe (one of the very few she has written down with measurements!).

I promise these breakfast cookies are incredibly easy to make, you can actually ask your kids to help you out, my 4-year-old loves making them with me!

italian s cookies.
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WHAT ARE ITALIAN S COOKIES?

Together with amaretti cookies and Italian butter cookies, these are one of the most popular cookies in Italy.

The S cookies are called “biscotti esse” in Italian, but they also go by the name of biscotti squisiti (which literally means “delicious cookies”!).

These Sicilian S-shaped cookies originate from Ragusa, one of the most fascinating towns in Sicily.

Traditionally they were made through a grinder with a cookie attachment, to give them a nice wavy texture.

But these days they’re made simply by rolling the dough into thin ropes arranged in a classic S-shape.

They have a delicious lemon aroma and a lovely crumbly texture.

In Sicily, we usually serve them for breakfast with milk or tea, or as an afternoon snack.

sicilian s cookies, biscotti a esse.

INGREDIENTS

You won’t believe how easy these cookies are!

The Italian S cookie dough is made with the most simple ingredients, in typical Italian fashion.

You’ll need just 6 ingredients:

  • Butter: Use softened butter cut into chunks, it makes it easier to mix it with the flour.
  • Eggs: go for large-sized eggs.
  • Lemon: Lemon zest adds a beautiful citrusy note to the cookies, you can swap it with orange zest if you like. Opt for unwaxed organic lemons if possible.
  • Sugar: you can use regular caster sugar for this recipe.
  • Baking powder: a little baking powder gives the cookies a nice slightly softer texture.
  • Milk: This is optional, but depending on the flour brand you use, or the size of the eggs, if the cookie dough is a bit too tough, I usually add 1 tablespoon of milk to soften it a bit.

HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN S COOKIES

This is a quick overview of how to make Sicilian S cookies with step-step pictures.

For the full recipe, scroll down to the easy-to-print recipe card.

STEP 1 – Mix butter with flour.

In a large bowl mix the softened butter and flour.

STEP 2 – Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Add in the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and finally the baking powder.

STEP 3 – Rest the dough.

Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough, and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

STEP 4 – Form the cookies.

Place the dough on a work surface, and divide it into small balls.

Roll each ball to form a 7cm/2.5-inch rope, model it into an S shape with your hands, and arrange it on a baking tray.

Bake for 10 minutes, then cool and serve.

italian s-shaped cookies.

HOW TO STORE

Store the baked cookies in an airtight container or sealed jar. Keep them in a cool spot in your kitchen or in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

CAN I MAKE THEM AHEAD?

Yes, you can! You can form your S cookies the night before, refrigerate them overnight then bake them in the morning.

You can also freeze them before they are baked.

Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to one month.

To bake them after freezing, let them thaw for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator, then bake them.

You can also freeze them after baking them.

Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to two months.

sicilian s biscotti.

DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!

Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!

📖 RECIPE

italian s cookies.

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4.5 from 2 votes

Italian S cookies are super popular breakfast cookies. Learn how to make these traditional Sicilian cookies at home with basic ingredients.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time12 mins

Total Time22 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Serving: 40

Calories: 91kcal

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 200 g sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk, optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix the softened butter and flour until you have a crumbly and sandy mixture.

  • Add in the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and finally the baking powder. Add an optional tablespoon of milk if you feel the dough is a bit hard and rough.

  • Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough, and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Arrange the oven tray onto the middle shelf, and line a cookie baking tray with parchment paper.

  • Place the dough on a work surface, and divide it into small balls.

  • Roll each ball to form a 7cm/2.5-inch rope, model it into an S shape with your hands, and arrange it on the lined baking tray.

  • Bake the S cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove the tray from the oven allow the cookies to cool slightly, transfer them on a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely, then serve.

Notes

  • Depending on the flour brand you use, or the size of the eggs, if you feel the cookie dough is a bit too tough, add 1 tablespoon of milk to soften it a bit.
  • To give them a shiny surface, you can brush the cookies with a beaten egg white right before baking them.
  • Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack, this will help to set the cookies, and results in a crunchy outside and a soft and chewy inside.

STORAGE TIPS
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container or sealed jar. Keep them in a cool spot in your kitchen or in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
FREEZING TIPS

How to freeze unbaked cookies:

Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to one month.

To bake them after freezing, let them thaw for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator, then bake them.

How to freeze baked cookies:

Place them on a baking sheet for an hour, then transfer them to a ziplock bag and freeze them for up to two months.

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

MORE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN DESSERTS TO TRY

If you liked this recipe, check out more favorite Italian desserts recipes here:

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