Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Queen's Cookies for Mother's Day (Biscotti di Regina) + 2 Giveaways from Cleo Coyle

The name of this rustic, Italian cookie is perfect for Mother's day. Biscotti di Regina (Queen's Cookies) are light, sophisticated treats with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Like coffeehouse biscotti, they are made for the glories of dunking, which is why they're a delicious breakfast treat with coffee and a unique addition to afternoon tea.

Italian families sometimes serve them before or after dinner. They can be eaten as an appetizer with cheese and wine, or added to a dessert tray with fine chocolates, coffee, and sweet liqueurs (like these). 

However you enjoy them, these versatile little cookies are fit for a queen...and the queens of our hearts for Mother's Day!

(I always think of these rustic
Italian cookies as tiny bread loaves...)

A Note from Cleo

  Our readers may remember these adorable cookies from our 5th Coffeehouse title, DECAFFEINATED CORPSE, a murder mystery surrounding the discovery of the world's first naturally decaffeinated coffee plant. 

Click to learn
more or buy.
During the story, our coffeehouse manager Clare serves these cookies at an elegant tasting party for the experimental new coffee. She caters it with her staff on the 26th floor of a New York landmark, where a guest goes over the balcony to the sidewalk below. Did he jump? Or was he pushed? Clare is on the case. As for these "little nibbles," as she calls them, they are a favorite in my Italian-American family.

Just as Clare would, I made my own adaptations to the family recipe. The brown sugar in my ingredient list is not traditional, but I find it adds a nice complexity to the cookie's flavor. Also note that dipping an overly delicate butter cookie into a beverage would crumble it. That's why these are not typical butter cookies! As my family does, I knead the sticky dough with flour. We intentionally develop the gluten, which gives a slightly more biscotti-like crunch. 

Don't forget that dunking your "Queen's Cookies" into a breakfast coffee or afternoon glass of tea or wine is part of the Italian gastronomic experience. So take a little Rome into your home, and eat like a queen with my version of Biscotti Di Regina. 

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

~ Cleo Coyle


For a free, downloadable
PDF of this recipe that
you can print, save, or


Biscotti di Regina 
(Queen's Cookies) by Cleo Coyle

Makes 2 dozen cookies


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt (or finely ground sea salt)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup white, granulated sugar
¼ cup dark (or light) brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup raw or toasted sesame seeds


Step 1 – Make the dough: First preheat oven to 350° F.  and prep a cookie sheet by covering with parchment paper or lightly greasing. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Next add the eggs and vanilla and blend well with an electric mixer. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, blending into a sticky dough.

Step 2 – Lightly knead the dough: Turn out the dough onto a floured flat surface. With floured hands, knead lightly until the dough is smooth but pliable (like Play-Doh).

Step 3 – Form the logs: Using your hands, break off small pieces of dough. Shape each into a walnut-sized ball about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls lightly between your palms to form little logs about 2-inches long (see my photos below). Once all the logs are formed, move to the next step.

Step 4 – Finish and bake: Place the milk in one bowl, the sesame seeds in another. Roll each log in milk to dampen it all over. Then roll it in the sesame seeds. Take your time and coat each cookie well with the seeds.

TIP: As you see in my video loop below, use one hand for dipping each cookie in milk, and the other for rolling in seeds. Otherwise, you may end up spreading seeds into the milk and getting extra milk into the seed bowl, making a clumpy mess. (Ask me how I know. :))

Place the seeded cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving room between each for rising. 

Bake in a 350 F. oven for 20 to 22 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before serving with coffee, tea, or wine. May you dunk with joy!

Click here for the Free Recipe PDF.

Happy Mother's Day!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
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Our NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Mystery Pick of the Month! --Library Journal

Amazon * B&N

IndieBound * BAM

"A gripping and entertaining mystery"
--Library Journal (Starred Review) 
"Penetrating insights" --Kirkus Reviews 
"Sure to delight" --Publishers Weekly


This culinary mystery includes
25 delicious recipes! To get the
Free Recipe Guide, 
click here.

The writing is done. Now let's have fun! 


Marc and I invite you to leave comments for 2 prize package drawings now running to celebrate the release of our new Coffeehouse Mystery (#17)...


Now a National Mystery Bestseller!


For Giveaway #1:

...and jump to Dru's Book Musings, where you can read our humorous post on what it's like to spend: 24 Hours with Coffeehouse Manager Clare Cosi. 
This contest ends May 17.

For Giveaway #2:

...and jump to our guest post on "Our Secrets to Series Longevity," which will also tell you how we came up with the idea for writing Shot in the Dark.
This contest ends May 17.


Finally, for this coming Mother's Day Weekend, we're brewing up a very special guest post and giveaway. Sign up for our Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletterso you don't miss it! To subscribe right now...

Thanks, everyone...

See you at our 2 guest post
giveaways, linked above.
Good luck and good eating!


  1. In New Orleans, these cookies are commonly called "Seed Cookies" and are popular on March 19, where you get them when you visit St. Joseph's Altars. A very popular Italian bakery has seed cookies available year-round, but they are most popular for St. Joseph's Day.

    1. Eleanor - Wonderful to know, thank you! Most Italian bakeries will have these cookies year round. They are very popular in the culture. In our neck of the woods (the northeast area), zeppole are the pastries we enjoy on St. Joseph's feast day. I believe the happy feasting tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, when Sicilians credited San Giuseppe for saving them from famine. So all eating with joy is welcome. Thanks for stopping by today!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  2. I love your stories, Cleo and I picked up Shot In The Dark over the weekend. Thank you for this recipe. These cookies were part of my childhood because a local Indiana bakery made them. Now I can have them again, with coffee of course (while I read your book).

    1. Antonia - Grazie for the lovely comment. Marc and I thank you for letting us know about your childhood foodie memory, that means a lot to us. And we thank you especially for supporting our work.

      BTW - We included some great recipes in the back of SHOT IN THE DARK, too. Be sure to stop by our online coffeehouse (CoffeehouseMystery.com) to download the free recipe guide. Print it out, tuck it into your copy of the book, and you have an instant, illustrated recipe section. Grazie again, Antonia. Be well and keep in touch!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  3. I don't think I have ever come across this cookie. But I do love sesame seeds, will have to give these a try.

    1. Lil - If you like coffeehouse-style biscotti, you will like these. They are slightly sweet, nutty, crunchy and best served with a favorite beverage -- whether coffee, tea, latte, or wine -- may you dunk with joy!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  4. Thanks, Cleo! I first tasted these when the head nurse at our academy brought them to the ward at Christmastime. Seeing them again brought back fun memories of my old job. I am just loving Dead Cold Brew. Shot in the Dark is next!

    1. Billi - It is always so sweet to know our recipe posts bring back memories for someone, thank you for letting us know. And Marc and I thank you especially for suppor