Biscotti Regina

Throughout most of the twentieth century, there were more Sicilians living in the New Orleans area than anywhere else in the world except for Sicily! Many Sicilian food traditions are still proudly observed here, including the meatless food altars erected in homes and churches on March 19 to honor St. Joseph. Every visitor to the altars leaves with a gift bag complete with holy card, lucky fava bean, and several homemade cookies.

Theresa Alberti and her husband (and chief assistant) Al were sunny additions to the market for many years. Her brightly packaged baked goods were as delicious as they were beautiful. Unfortunately, the Chalmette residents lost everything, including their health, in Hurricane Katrina, and they never returned to the market. These two sweet treats are included in Theresa’s honor.


  • 2 pounds (about 7 cups) all-purpose flour (I use Gold Medal.)
  • 1 pound Crisco
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 pounds natural sesame seeds (loose seeds are available at some Italian grocery stores)


In a large bowl, combine flour, Crisco, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla; blend well. Gradually add milk to moisten the dough; mix well. Do not add sesame seeds at this time. Cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, form dough into a long roll approximately the diameter of a broomstick. Clear flour from surface and spread sesame seeds in a wide row the same length as the dough. Roll dough in seeds, coating on all sides. Pat the top of the seed-covered roll to make it flat, then cut (diagonally, if you wish) into cookies approximately 1-1/2 inches long. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until brown.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Recipe compliments of Poppy Tooker

Return Print

Market Umbrella


Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.

Crescent City Farmers Market


The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.