The best Traditional Authentic Ottijiet Cookies

– Maltese sesame seed cookies

These Crispy, crunchy golden brown Maltese Ottijiet cookies are just the right amount of sweet without being too sweet, crunchy without being too crispy, crumbly without falling apart, and were made to dip into your afternoon tea. They are a healthy-ish alternative to regular cookies, deliciously dunked in coffee, and a must serve at tea parties.

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The best Traditional Authentic Ottijiet cookies also known as Maltese sesame cookies are a dry, crunchy, and crumbly without falling apart cookie that belongs on every tea table. These lemony spicy shortbread cookies are a golden plethora of deliciousness, from the crunchy texture to the mild sweetness accompanied by the nutty sesame seeds. It’s a cookie recipe with a difference. 

The Ottijiet name refers to the shape of these cookies that resembles the number eight. And it’s a stable in the Maltese kitchen. You will find these Maltese cookies at every bakery and every grocery store and served on every occasion. 

I first fell in love with these Traditional Authentic Ottijiet otherwise known as Maltese sesame seed cookies on my first trip to Malta years ago. It was one of those love-at-first-bite moments. I don’t know if it was the ambiance of Malta, the warm sun on my face, the fragrant Yasmin tea in my teacup together with the dry crumbly Maltese cookies, but something about them stuck with me ever since. Of course, I couldn’t pronounce (or even really spell the name) when I got home, so it took another trip back to Malta to rediscover these amazing cookies. And low and behold they were just as tasty as I remembered them from the first trip. 

This time I took notes, wrote down the cookies name, and even managed to pry the recipe out of my favorite baker in Mellieha. And now I get to not only make these crumbly dry cookies whenever I feel like adding a bit of laid-back Maltese living to my life, but I also have permission to share this cookie recipe with you.

So, what do you need to make the best traditional authentic Ottijiet cookies (Maltese sesame cookies)?

A few different items are needed to make these amazing crunchy fragrant cookies. First, let’s look at the spices and flavor makers you need. 

  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange zest
  • Orange juice
  • Aniseed

How to make traditional authentic Ottijiet vegan

Making these tasty cookies vegan is easier than you might think. My favorite vegan option is to substitute the butter with vegan butter and use 1 flax egg to replace the regular egg. It’s the simplest way of turning this into a vegan cookie recipe and it creates a deliciously fragrant and crunchy cookie.

How to make Maltese Ottijiet cookies

These cookies are delightfully easy to make – just one more reason I adore them so much. 

Just remember you need to set aside 1 hour of resting time because these cookies are much better when the dough has been chilled. 

  • Put the flour, cubed butter, salt, and spices into a food processor and pulse until it forms a crumbly dough. Add the egg, orange juice, and lemon juice to the dough and pulse a few times until it just forms a smooth dough.
  • Remove the from the food processor and use your hands to knead it for a moment until it is a smooth dough.
  • Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30-minutes to 1 hour (30-minutes minimum, but I like to chill the dough for closer to 1 hour if I have the time).
  • Preheat oven to 400F 180C/fan /gas 6 and roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/2” thick or so. Cut the dough into 16 pieces and roll each slice into long sausages. Twist the dough strings into the shape of the number 8 and press the ends lightly together to seal tight. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet. Brush the cookies with milk and generously sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • Chill the cookies in the refrigerator for 15-minutes if you want an extra light and crispy cookie at this point.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before eating. 

The best Traditional Authentic Ottijiet Cookies – Maltese sesame seed cookies

These Crispy, crunchy golden brown Maltese Ottijiet cookies are just the right amount of sweet without being too sweet, crunchy without being too crispy, crumbly without falling apart, and were made to dip into your afternoon tea. They are a healthy-ish alternative to regular cookies, deliciously dunked in coffee, and a must serve at tea parties.
The best Traditional Authentic Ottijiet cookies also known as Maltese sesame cookies are a dry, crunchy, and crumbly without falling apart cookie that belongs on every tea table. These lemony spicy shortbread cookies are a golden plethora of deliciousness, from the crunchy texture to the mild sweetness accompanied by the nutty sesame seeds. It’s a cookie recipe with a difference. 
Course Baking, Dessert
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 16 Cookies
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Equipment

  • 2 large baking sheets lined with baking paper 

Ingredients

  • 1½cups+1tbsp 250g Self-Raising Flour
  • ¼ tsp Aniseed Ground
  • ½ tsp Cloves Finely Ground
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ⅜ cup 85g, (3oz) Cold Butter Cubed
  • ⅓ cup 85g (2½oz) Golden Caster Sugar
  • Finely grated Zest from 1 Orange
  • Finely Grated Zest from 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Orange Juice
  • Juice from ½ Lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 medium Egg
  • 2 tbsp Milk to brush on top
  • 5 tbsp Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  • Put the flour, cubed butter, salt, and spices into a food processor and pulse until it forms a crumbly dough. Add the egg, orange juice, and lemon juice to the dough and pulse a few times until it just forms a smooth dough.
  • Remove the from the food processor and use your hands to knead it for a moment until it is a smooth dough.
    Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30-minutes to 1 hour (30-minutes minimum, but I like to chill the dough for closer to 1 hour if I have the time).
  • Preheat oven to 400F 180C/fan /gas 6 and roll the dough out into a rectangle 1/2” thick or so. Cut the dough into 16 pieces and roll each slice into long sausages. Twist the dough strings into the shape of the number 8 and press the ends lightly together to seal tight.
  • Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet. Brush the cookies with milk and generously sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
    Chill the cookies in the refrigerator for 15-minutes if you want an extra light and crispy cookie at this point.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before eating. 

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