'The true cook is the perfect blend, the only perfect blend, of artist and philosopher. He knows his worth: he holds in his palm the happiness of mankind, the welfare of generations yet unborn.'

Friday, 7 December 2012

Black sesame cookies


No explanations needed I think: crunchy, moreish cookies bursting with the irresistable flavour of black sesames. Either toast the sesames yourself and grind them in a food processor after cooling, or buy ready-ground sesame powder.


Black sesame cookies


You can use different kinds of fat for these: butter is the obvious choice here, but lard gives a more Asian flavour, and vegetable shortening gives a more neutral background and makes the sesame flavour shine through clearly.

115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, vegetable shortening or lard, at room temperature
85g (17 tbsp) ground black sesame seeds
80g (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) granulated sugar, preferably caster or superfine
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
150g (1 cup plus 1 tbsp) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder with a whisk to combine and loosen the mixture.

2. In a separate large bowl, add the vegetable shortening/butter/lard, sugar, salt and sesame  powder.


3. Starting on slow speed, cream everything together until it becomes smooth. Add the egg and cream again till fluffy.


4. Add the flour mixture in a few additions (with a spatula) until you have a cohesive dough.

5. Scrap the dough onto a large sheet of clingfilm/plastic wrap, press down firmly and use the clingfilm to help you form it into a cylinder. Roll on a flat surface to smooth it out.


6. Chill for at least 3 hours till firm. Do take the trouble of re-rolling the dough after 45 minutes or so in the fridge since the bottom would have flattened out and you want to re-roll it to a roundish cylinder before the dough gets too hard.

7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150C/300F, and line two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I have an ultra-large baking sheet, so I baked mine on one sheet rather than two.

8. Cut thin slices from the cylinders with a sharp knife and place them 2-3 cm apart on the lined baking sheets. It's up to you how thin you want your biscuits - I cut 0.75cm slices which yielded 24 biscuits.


9. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cookies are baked through. Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom halfway through baking. The centre should be firm when you touch it, and the edges should turn a light brown in colour. The precise baking time depends on how large and thick your cookies are.


10. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.



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