Around the world in 80 bakes, no.47: Black sesame cookies from Japan

Around the world in 80 bakes, no.47: Black sesame cookies from Japan

The Japanese may not have centuries worth of baking tradition: their traditional cuisine is more likely to involve steaming or cooking in a pan. But they’ve taken to the Western idea of baked desserts with a vengeance and added flavours that are characteristically Japanese. Green matcha tea cookies are a favourite for many, but as I’m not particularly fond of matcha, so I’ve gone for a different flavouring: black sesame seeds. These cookies (黒胡麻クッキー or Kuro goma kukkī) are very popular in Japan, they’re easy to make, not too sweet and have a distinct taste that I remember from trips to Japan but not from anywhere else. Thanks to Nami and her blog justonecookbook.com for the recipe.

I’ve followed Nami’s recipe reasonably accurately for my first effort (she gives an option of keeping the sesame seeds whole or grinding them – I went for keeping them whole). Next time, I might go for grinding them and using a few more to get a bigger hit of sesame flavour. I might also take the sugar down a bit, although these aren’t extremely sweet by any means. If you’re looking at the photos, it’s clear that I should probably have sliced the cookies a lot thinner to get a crisper result.

  • 40g black sesame seeds
  • 160g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2g salt
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until fragrant, leave to cool slightly.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, weight out the flour, ground almonds, sugar and salt. Stir until evenly mixed (or, if you dare, pulse the food processor briefly).
  3. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into cubes. Add to the food processor and run until you have an even crumbly mix.
  4. Add the egg and sesame seeds and pulse for a few seconds until everything is even.
  5. Now take the mixture out of your food processor into a bowl and bring together with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
  6. Form your dough into a long sausage. (Nami’s recipe says to cut the dough into two and do two sausages – I forgot). Wrap them in cling film and refrigerate for around an hour. Ideally, the sausage(s) should be round, but it’s fairly hard to avoid having a flat edge.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare two baking trays with baking paper (or silicone mats) and preheat oven to 175℃.
  8. Take the sausage of dough out of the fridge and cut it into circular slices around 5mm in width. Lay these out on your baking trays, allowing room for a bit of expansion.
  9. Bake for around 15 minutes until a light golden colour.
  10. Leave to cool on a rack for as long as you can manage without scoffing them.

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