Slightly nuttier and more savoury than their paler cousins, black sesame seeds are a wonderful thing to bake with: their intensity – both their flavour and jet-black coats – is a welcome tonic to the sometimes beige blandness of baking. They are particularly good scattered over flatbreads or blended into ice-cream, but these soft cookies are a favourite of mine, combining the slight bitterness of the seeds with treacly brown sugar and sweet white chocolate.
Soft black sesame cookies with white chocolate
You can make these with white sesame seeds too, if that’s all you can get hold of, but black sesame seeds are increasingly easy to find: look in any east Asian grocery store or larger supermarkets.
Prep 15 min
Rest 1 hr
Cook 10 min
100g black sesame seeds
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
120g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch salt
75g white sesame seeds
200g white chocolate
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
Blitz the black sesame seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor, until they are fine and mealy and no whole seeds remain, then set aside for a moment. Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and the ground sesame seeds.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and gently stir together until everything is well combined and youare left with a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour or so – just long enough for the dough to firm up a little and lose its stickiness.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4 and line a couple of baking trays with parchment. Pour the white sesame seeds into a small bowl. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll small portions of it between your palms to create little cookie 25mm balls, roughly . Roll each one in the white sesame seeds to cover them completely, then arrange on the prepared baking trays, leaving plenty of space between them, because they will spread during baking. You will probably have to bake these in a couple of batches.
Bake for eight to nine minutes. Because theyare so dark, it can be tricky to tell exactly when the cookies are done, but as long as theyare puffy and set, theywill be fine. Leave to cool completely on the paper before attempting to move them.
Melt the white chocolate either in short bursts in a microwave (stirring often) or in a heatproof glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip the cookies one by one into the melted chocolate to cover just half of them, like white chocolate half-moons. Arrange over a couple of wire racks and, while the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle a few black sesame seeds on top. Leave to firm and set.