I have always loved sesame seeds. I’m not sure why really, on their own they are somewhat nondescript. But, on a bagel or on a cookie they are so much more. These are my buttery black and white sesame cookies; a cross between two well-known sweets served during the Chinese New Year; smiling-ball cookies, (a traditional cookie that symbolizes happiness and laughter) and Chinese almond cookies, (coined shaped cookies that symbolize wealth, prosperity and good fortune in the year ahead). With an added buttery texture (from a combination of butter and coconut oil) my sesame cookies are simple, yet remarkably flavorful, with an added crunch. Festival worthy if you ask me, these cookies are slightly addictive and they happen to pair perfectly with a hot cup of green tea on a brisk winter morning.
Sesame (or Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant naturalized in tropical regions around the world and cultivated for it’s small edible seeds which grow in little pods or “buns”. What many don’t know, is that little sesame seeds have one the highest oil contents of any seed with a rich and nutty flavor. In asian cultures, sesame seeds and sesame oil are very important condiments. The slightly sweet, robust nuttiness of the sesame is what makes these somewhat simple sesame cookie slightly more complex flavor-wise.
Health-wise, sesame seeds have many believed health benefits most don’t realize. Rich with essential minerals such as copper, magnesium, calcium and iron, these little guys are also a great source of protein and fiber. Sesame seeds are also said to be great for your hair and skin, as well as helping to maintain strong bones.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup unflavored coconut oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Step 2 In a small bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well.
- Step 3 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer such as a Cusinart, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter, coconut oil and sugar. Mix on low until well incorporated.
- Step 4 With the mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla and almond extract. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until the dough starts to come together.
- Step 5 Remove the dough from the mixer and using your hands, roll into small balls, about one inch in diameter.
- Step 6 Place the white and black sesame seeds in two small shallow bowls. Divide the balls in half. Working in batches, roll half the dough balls in the white sesame seeds to coat and the other half in the black sesame seeds. Place the coated dough balls on the prepared baking sheets about two inches apart.
- Step 7 Place the cookies in the oven and bake until set, about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool before removing them from the baking sheet.