Greek Lemon Sesame Biscotti (Paximathakia Portokaliou) Recipe

Carrie Vasios

I've always been upfront about my habit of eating cookies for breakfast. Other members of my family do it, which makes sense given that we're part Italian. Italian supermarkets stock cookies that are meant to be eaten specifically for breakfast—my favorite are made by the Mulino Bianco brand. But for some reason, Americans aren't really behind the idea. I'm here to reiterate: if you can have a chocolate croissant or frosted doughnut for breakfast, then you can certainly have a cookie, which doesn't even need to be very sweet by definition.

These Greek biscotti are a good example. They're digestive-like in their mild sweetness, almost bland, really, which makes them perfect for a dunk in coffee (especially a strong, sweet coffee or espresso.) Lemon zest and juice perk them up a little, olive oil provides a subtly fruity backbone, and sesame seeds add some textural variety. But to be straight, these aren't going to knock your socks off. They're just going to help welcome you into the day; a simple, calming bite for those mornings when even a plate of eggs is far too complicated for your mind or stomach.

adapted from Nancy Gaifyllia

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 0 mins
Serves: 60 servings

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  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons pulp-free orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups (about 17 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle and upper middle positions and preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine orange juice and baking soda; set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

  3. Add olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and warm water to bowl with orange juice and whisk to combine. Add sugar and whisk until well combined and lightened, about 3 minutes. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in sesame seeds.

  4. On a lightly floured surface, kneed dough until it it smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into four equal logs, each about 14-inches long. Transfer two to each baking sheet. Score the each log with 1/3-inch slices, cutting close to the bottom but not all the way through the dough.

  5. Bake logs unti golden on top, about 15 minutes. Take cookies out of oven and decrease temperature to 200°F.

  6. When logs are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut into individual cookies. Place cookies back in the oven and bake until dry, about 1 hour.

Special equipment

whisk, baking sheets