Roman Holiday

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

For a new year filled with sweetness and good fortune, why not do as the Romans used to and bake up a little luck? When it’s as simple as these sesame cookies, you’ll be happy to spread the wealth! Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, these good luck charmers are a fun way to celebrate. A departure from the unrestrained confections of Christmas, these are more subtly sweetened with honey and coated all around with crunchy sesame seeds, which, like lots of little coin-shaped eatables, can be said to symbolize wealth. Some traditions even cite sesame seeds as being symbolic of immortality. Symbolism aside, they are full of healthy minerals and nutty flavor. So if we truly are what we eat, then let’s hope these cookies help usher in a year of good health, wealth and cheer—or at the very least, provide a nutritious little snack to help transition back to a post-holiday diet.


Honey-Sesame Cookies


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup honey

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup sesame seeds


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and soda and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and honey; add the eggs and continue to beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture until a dough forms. Cover and chill for an hour, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment. Form the chilled dough into small balls. Roll the dough balls in a small dish of milk, then roll them in the sesame seeds to coat. Place them on the prepared baking sheets and flatten by hand or with the bottom of a glass.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container up to one week.