golden opportunity – sesame gold nuggets

by hungryrabbit on February 24, 2011

Sesame Gold Nuggets

When celebrating Chinese New Year, everything should be red, red, and more red. So, when Jackie (@divathatateny) and I hosted a Chinese New Year Potluck, we laid out red table fabric and hung bright red and gold lanterns to set the mood. We simply asked attendees to bring Asian inspired dishes.

My dish for the potluck was Sesame Cookies. Though I could have used white sesame, I prefer black sesame for its richer taste and aroma. The only problem with these tasty morsels for Chinese New Year is they look more like a lump of coal than auspicious contribution luck in the New Year. I decided to add a dusting of gold to the final cookies.

That’s how I created Sesame Gold Nuggets. It’s not your usual New Year’s dessert but its flavor is undeniably Asian—with a touch of gold to symbolize wealth and happiness. These nuggets have a shortbread-like texture but with a more decadent mouth-feel given the addition of sesame paste.

As promised to potluck attendees, here’s the recipe for these little charmers. Enjoy and thanks again for your participation and that made the event a most enjoyable and memorable Chinese New Year celebration for all—Asian or not.

Sesame Gold Nuggets

make about 2-1/2 dozen nuggets

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup black sesame paste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon gold luster dust (optional)

Directions

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

2. Add butter in mixing bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly pale, about 1 minute; add sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add sesame paste and vanilla; beat until combine. Add flour mixture in small batches, mixing until crumbly dough forms. Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F and position oven rack in middle position. Stir together sesame seeds and luster dust (if using) in a small bowl.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll balls, one at a time, in seeds to coat and arrange 1-1/2 inches apart on one lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies are puffed and starting to crack, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheet for 10 minutes (cookies are very fragile when hot), then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. While first sheet of cookies is in the oven, repeat Step 5 with second sheet.

Cook’s Note:

1. Black Sesame Paste is available at Asian Grocery Stores.

2. Cookie dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours, make sure it’s tightly wrapped.

3. Do not attempt to flatten dough ball or you will loose the flakey texture.

4. Try to keep dough ball as chilled as possible when place in the oven.

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