Jun 5

Open Sesame! Black Sesame Shortbread

in Dessert, Recipes by Type

I love sesame seeds. The first time we lived in Japan I was introduced to black sesame seeds, and they quickly became a favorite. In Japan, sesame seeds are found in many salads and baked snacks. Sesame paste is also used in a variety of dishes. Many soft cream stands even offer black sesame as one of their flavors (right hand column, second from the top–YUM!)

I can't get enough, so when I stumbled across a recipe for black sesame shortbread on The Sugar Bar, I knew that I had to try it.
These little cookies aren't overly sweet, just sweet enough to compliment the butter (of course!) and the nuttiness provided by the sesame seeds. The recipe calls for half of the sesame seeds to be ground. This can be done in a variety of ways. You could use an actual sesame seed grinder if you happen to actually have one. You can also grind them in a blender or a food processor. If you use this method, just be careful not to grind it more than a few seconds. If ground too much, it will release it’s natural oil and form a paste. You want it to be a coarse powder. The method I employed was using a suribachi, a Japanese style mortar and pestle.

What makes this mortar and pestle different, is that the inside of the bowl has short grooves in the pottery which make grinding things very easy and efficient.

My suribachi has become one of my favorite kitchen tools!

Black Sesame Shortbread, by The Sugar Bar

Makes approximately 40 cookies

-2 cups flour
-225g (7/8 cup or 14 tbs) salted butter, softened
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-3 tbs black sesame seeds, half of this ground
-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1.Whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, beat.
3. Add all the dry ingredients and mix together.
4. Split the dough and press into 2 balls, then gently flatten them into discs. Wrap each disc with clingwrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.
5. Preheat oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius).
6. Flour your working surface and a rolling pin. Remove the discs from the fridge and place one disc onto floured surface. Roll out flat to your desired thickness (preferably just under 1cm). Use a cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place on greased cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat until all the dough has used.
7. Bake in oven for about 15min or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet with a spatula and let cool on wire rack.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoe June 5, 2008 at 8:30 am

Those look yummy!


The Richards June 5, 2008 at 10:00 am

Here’s an idea: Instead of moving to CA, you should move to Brooklyn. Then I’ll hire you as a chef, and my apartment will smell good 24/7 and I’ll gain even more weight than I did with Samuel! :0)

I’m not sure what I’ll use to pay you yet (since we’re in school), but I’m sure we can work it out. ;0)


diva June 5, 2008 at 10:15 am

o fuji mama, you make my day!! these a lovely…fantastic sugar sprinkling too :)



Meg June 5, 2008 at 10:47 am

The cookies look very yummy! I might try that recipe out this weekend.


Cassoulet Cafe June 5, 2008 at 10:54 am

I love sesame seeds. Interesting recipe, I’ll have to try it one day. :)


Heatherly June 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

hmm wonder if it tastes like halvah. i love tahini…so we might have to try these :0)


Bobbi June 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Yummy looking! I think Panda’s going to attempt making some this weekend.


Jj June 6, 2008 at 11:00 am

Those black sesame seeds sound fascinating; never heard of them either! And the cookies look delicious.


Jackie June 7, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Neal said to me today, “I’m surprised you didn’t make these today. It sounds like something you would jump on the chance to make…” I don’t have any black sesame seeds currently as I haven’t found a use for them… until now! THe store down the street has them so I am definitely going to try it!


culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess June 9, 2008 at 12:41 am

I love that pestle & mortar, I collect them and that one is great.

The cookies look delicious too :)

Thank you for stopping by my blog, and for your offer of help – much appreciated thank you.


Melanie Gray Augustin June 9, 2008 at 1:35 am

Mmm… I love black sesame, those cookies look delish!

Sorry I haven’t done my challenge yet – still a bit under the weather, so waiting until I actually feel like eating again…


bunbun June 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm

I am going to get a suribatchi next time I go to the Japanese Plaza (which is across town) ! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, and I love black sesame as well, it has such a good taste. I cannot think how to describe it accurately. And it goes well in so many things.


Reckless Glue June 10, 2008 at 6:35 am

oh I am so trying those cookies!


Alex June 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

I will certainly try your cookie recipe, once my work schedule slows down a bit. They look and sound (and almost smell) delicious!
Thanks for the recipe.


Meria June 14, 2008 at 4:08 am

olalala ça me fait vraiment envie! en plus j’aime beaucoup le sésame ça tombe bien. bon week end! ^_^


Roz Seeds September 29, 2010 at 4:19 am

These look and sound yummy, going to give them a whirl :) thanks


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