from Michele Armanino
My grandmother, Vincenza, immigrated from Sicily to Upstate New York in the early part of the last century. Along with that journey came colorful stories, century-old traditions and old-world recipes. Vincenza’s Sicilian cookies were a visual
delight with their bright green and white frosting and sticky fig filling which oozed out of their flakey crusts.
These delectable morsels were also instrumental in bridging a communication gap and showing kindness to those around her. On Easter, Nana piled dozens of crisply-baked colorful Sicilian cookies into a tattered farm basket lined with burlap. Delighted neighbors happily selected a few cookies from her cornucopia as she made her deliveries, door to door.
Vincenza’s Sesame Cookies
½ cup sesame seeds    ¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup water                  ½ cup shortening
2 ½ cups sifted flour     2 eggs slightly beaten
½ sugar                        ¼ cup milk
2 ½ tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Moisten sesame seeds with ¼ cup water. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut in shortening untilmixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix until dough is smooth. Form dough into a ball and cut ball into four pieces.
On a lightly floured board, roll pieces with palms of hands, forming long ropes ½” thick. Cut ropes into 2” lengths. Spread moistened sesame seeds on a flat surface; roll cookies over them, coating well. Place cookies, 1” apart, on greased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are browned 10-12 minutes. Make 3 dozen.