Spanish Sesame Cookies

These Spanish cookies (tortas de aceite y anís) are the delicate sisters of my grandmother’s anise cookies. They taste very similar, but the Iberian cookies are flaky and dissolve in the mouth. Whereas the Moroccan anise cookies are more rustic and tough, because you’re supposed to dip them in hot mint tea.

Anise and fennel seeds are not the same. Anise seeds are smaller and have a stronger licorice-like flavor. They are also slightly sweeter than fennel seeds. You can use fennel seeds instead of anise seeds if you have to; however, if you do, crush them a little bit before adding them to the cookie dough.

I adapted the recipe from The Food of Spain cookbook.

The Moroccan version

Spanish Sesame Cookies

Mildly sweet, crispy cookies with sesame, poppy and anise seeds.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Total Time23 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Spanish
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: Baking, Cookies, Plant-Based
Servings: 16 large cookies
Author: Shelly


  • 2 baking sheets
  • baking paper


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour or *all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup beer
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons anise seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds - Optional


  • Whisk the flours, salt and coconut sugar in a medium bowl. Pour over the olive oil and beer, and stir with a wooden spoon. Knead the dough in the bowl for 1-2 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of water. Dust your work surface and knead the dough on it for 2 – 3 minutes. Form a ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel (to prevent the dough from drying) and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Put all the seeds in a small bowl and mix.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  • Dust your work surface and divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Put 1 – 2 teaspoons of seed mix in a pile and put the ball over it. Press it gently and with a rolling pin roll into a thin, semi-round (or cloud-like) cookie. Embedding the seeds underneath. Put the cookies on the baking sheet with the seeds facing up and bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until the cookies are crisp. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
    Turn the broiler on and broil the cookies for 40-60 SECONDS, or until they’re golden. Wait by the oven and don’t be on your phone! The cookies are thin and will easily burn.


  • I like to mix it all purpose flour with whole, nut or legume flours to make baked good more nutritious. Feel free to replace the flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour. 

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