Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Filling the Cookie Jar: Sesame Cookies

These sesame cookies are shortbread's quirky cousin, a cookie that seems too plain until you crunch into it and then, yes, it is a happy surprise: almost savory from the sesame seeds, crunchy yet tender, with a definite buttery overtone.

Yet, these cookies are still meek enough to accept many different assignments:

1. plain into the lunchboxes
2. dunked into whatever hot drink you've got in hand
3. spread with lemon curd, or nutella, or a bit of cream cheese and jam
4. complementing a tray of sharp cheese and fruit
5. an elegant pop-up in a dish of pudding or applesauce

and probably, I could add cardamom to these cookies next time and make them really exotic.  The recipe is from Africa, after all!

I spend a lot of time in this spot while the children are at school; here, editing a cookbook

Sesame Seed Cookies - adapted slightly from Extending the Table, Revised Edition (I was one of the proofreaders for this edition); the recipe is from Nigeria

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
scant 1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled

Stir until well blended.  Cover dough tightly and chill for a few hours.  Roll dough out very thinly (1/8") on lightly floured surface.  Cut into shapes.  Bake on ungreased (I used Silpats) baking sheets at 400 F for 10 minutes, until very light brown. Makes 4-5 dozen.

Notes:  You can use all butter or all white flour.  You can use a different extract and skip the zest in order to tweak the flavors - or try adding a spice.

the cookie jar, flanked by pickled lemons and the fancy cheese dome


MDiskin said...

These remind me of Benne wafers -- such an addictive and interesting mix of savory and butter-sweet! Yum. :)

Jan said...

I imagine that they would be delicious with lemon curd. I'm a big fan of the lemon and poppy seed combination. Jx

Laura {a spoonful of joy} said...

These cookies sound right up my alley... I love a heartier tasting cookie to go with my afternoon tea.

jenny_o said...

I'm a little afraid to make these - I don't need any more favourite cookies in my kitchen! They sound like something I could get hooked on.