Giugiuleni (“joo-joo-lay-knee,” Italian Sesame Seed Cookies)
Makes 100 cookies. Recipe from “A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook: Recipes from Ignatius J. Reilly’s New Orleans” by Cynthia LeJeune Nobles, adapted from a recipe by Mary Costanza Gennaro.
2 cups sesame seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, divided
¼ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon anise extract, optional
1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
3. Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl or baking pan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Set aside.
4. In another large bowl and using a wooden spoon, cream together butter and sugar. Add 2 eggs, milk, vanilla extract and optional anise, and beat until combined. Blend in flour mixture to form the dough.
5. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Divide dough into 4 rough balls. On a hard surface, roll a dough ball into a long rope with a ½-inch diameter. (Flour hard surface only if absolutely necessary, and cover surface of remaining dough with plastic.) From the rolled rope, cut off pieces of dough 2 inches long. Dip each piece in the egg wash, then roll in sesame seeds, pressing them to adhere. (If desired, you can roll pieces into an “S” shape.) Repeat with remaining dough.
6. Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared sheets and bake until the bottoms and sides are lightly toasted, 18-20 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheet 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store tightly covered up to 1 week.