Every year for my Latin class in grade school, we had a (semi-traditional) Roman Banquet. I chose to bake sesame cookies fairly consistently for two reasons. First, they’re extremely easy and require few ingredients, and second, they’re delicious – the perfect combination of cookie and biscuit. Yet another reason to admire the Romans.
This morning, after waking up late and enjoying my first free day in a while, I decided to revisit this wonderful snack. Since the cookies are sweetened with honey (they’re not overly sweet), I can completely justify eating them with breakfast.
I originally made these cookies in high school with a recipe from my Latin teacher. After searching a bit online, I found a recipe below from The Sacramento Bee, which is very similar to the recipe my teacher gave me, and then I made a few changes based on what I remembered doing. The ancient Romans would have used slightly different ingredients, but this recipe is adapted to fit modern kitchens.
Particularly if you’re in the mood to make fun shapes (see picture above), you can get creative with this recipe!
Ancient Roman Honey Cookies
Makes about 40 small cookies. Takes an hour and a half (including one hour of chilling time in the fridge).
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature; extra melted butter for dipping
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine butter, honey and eggs with an electric mixer until well combined. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Cover and chill the dough about 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two baking sheets. Form chilled dough into 1-inch balls (or fun shapes) and place dough on prepared baking sheets.
Flatten each ball slightly on the sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure not to overcook or they will be dry.
When ready, remove cookies from baking sheets. While warm, dip in bowl of melted butter and then roll in sesame seeds. Cool on a wire rack.
I’d love to hear from any Latin students/parents of students about ancient Roman festivities taking place in schools. Feel free to leave a comment below!