seed of affection – black sesame cookies

by hungryrabbit on January 25, 2013

Black Sesame Cookies

As mentioned in last week’s post, I’m re-touring my favorite flavors and/or ingredients one by one from our Asia trip to prolong our sensory vacation. An ingredient high on the list is black sesame, which has much deeper flavor and aroma than its paler relatives.

Sesame–whether in seed, paste, or oil form–are use in different cuisines, but it’s pervasive in Asian dishes. The Chinese use sesame oil in numerous savory dishes, but it was the sweet Black Sesame Soup and Black Sesame Rolls that captured my heart when I was young and etched an everlasting food memory.

In the last several years, I discovered a combination that took the flavor to a new level of east-west enlightenment: black sesame and butter in baked goods. Given all the other ingredients I want to explore, however, even this favorite will have to wait for its turn in the oven.

The simplicity of these cookies can be deceiving–they pack an intense black sesame punch. On these cold winter days, they go beautifully with a cup of tea or coffee.


 Black Sesame Cookies

yield: 30 cookies


12 tablespoons (6 ounces/1-1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons black sesame paste
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, mixed, black or white, toasted
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 large egg, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 ℉. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat; set aside.

2. In a small sauce saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add black sesame paste and vinegar; stir to combine.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon of sesame seed. set aside.

4. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add black sesame butter, egg and extracts, continue to beat until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low and add flour mixture, mix until combined.

5. Stir together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of sesame seed. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls; roll them in sugar/sesame seed mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass to 1/4 inch thick.

6. Bake until just browned around bottom edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

sreebindu January 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

this is the first time i have ever heard of black sesame cookies. they look crispy :)

Lynn January 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

I’ve used regular sesame seeds, mostly when I make Gomaae, but haven’t worked with their black counterpart much. Eager to make these, and see how black sesame seeds taste with Gomaae. Your deep, intense flavor punch description pulls me in!

Brian @ A Thought For Food January 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

Would go perfectly with afternoon tea. They look amazing!

Colette @ JFF! January 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm

These cookies look very cool, too.
Love the bird cake pedestal.

foodwanderings January 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Ken, I really love your re interpretation of desserts based on your travel. I can completely taste the buttery sesame goodness here. I love a little bite of a worthy cookie such as this along with my tea. I found the addition of the vinegar fascinating. Happy weekend Wabbit!

Janice January 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm

My favorite use of sesame seeds are in Benne Cookies. If one gardens, growing sesame seeds in the home garden is very rewarding. Somehow everything tastes better and brighter when the ingredients come out of your own backyard. Thanks for posting this recipe :)

Sanaa January 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

How can I get in touch with you regarding a breakfast project?

hungryrabbit January 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

You can shoot me an email from the contact form. Thanks

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen February 1, 2013 at 8:41 am

Wow, these black sesame cookies took my breath away! I love the combination of flavors you used here. And you put rice wine vinegar, too? What a savory combination. Too bad you’re not doing the CNY potluck this year ~ I missed it last year, I was in Asia celebrating over there. Next time, hope to join you guys again. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Ken. I will try it once I get my hands on the black sesame paste.

Le renard et les raisins February 6, 2013 at 3:32 am

They look so crispy ! Thank you so much for this original recipe !

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