What happens when you merge Alice Waters and stale cookies? Eggs divide, organic flour magically appears, and a Biscotti baking book is born. If you read yesterday's review, you probably already have the baking book from the American Academy in Rome on your Amazon wish-list. If not, well, you've still got several days to add it. In the meantime, we're adding those biscotti regina (sesame seed cookies) from the book to our Twelve Days of Cookies must-bake list. Turn the page for the recipe.

Biscotti Regina (Sesame Seed Cookies)

Note: From Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome. The cookies may be stored for several days in a well sealed container.

Makes: About 40 biscotti

165 grams or 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

58 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

3.5 grams or 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

50 grams or 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter, room temperature

20 ml or 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

50 grams or 1/3 cup raw sesame seeds

1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and baking soda until the dry ingredients are well mixed. Add the butter, milk, egg yolk and lemon zest all at once to the dry mixture and mix slowly until a soft dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form it into forty 7 gram (1/4 ounce) balls. Transfer the sesame seeds to a small mixing bowl and gently press the seeds into each ball, then reshape the dough into small rectangles. (The unbaked cookies may be frozen for up to 1 month.)

3. Allow the dough to come fully to room temperature before baking. Evenly space the cookies 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

LA Weekly