1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted, plus extra for flouring rolling surface
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Soak the sesame seeds in 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and set aside.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with two forks or a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse cornmeal or is in pea-sized pieces. Stir in eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated and you can form a ball. Cut the ball into four pieces.
On a floured surface, roll each dough ball, one at a time, into a long rope, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut ropes into 2-inch pieces. It's like you are making gnocchi, if you have ever done that.
Take the wet sesame seeds and spread them out on another surface or flat plate. Roll the 2-inch cookies in the seeds until completely covered.
Place cookies on cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.