Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sesame biscuits

I don’t get Okashi by Keiko Ishida out enough, but like its simple, familiar recipes with often-unusual ingredients such as soy flour and brown-rice syrup. I’ve made the green tea sables, which were great, and the tofu cheesecake, which was the weirder end of great, which probably makes it just okay.

I’ve been looking at the photo of these black-and-white sesame cookies for ages, taken by their handsomeness-rather-than-prettiness, and the way the miniscule black seeds are sliced into a cross-section; it took me a while to find an opportunity where I happened to have both white and black seeds in the fridge.

And they’ve turned out to be delicious – just sweet enough, with a buttery, nutty flavour. I do love a sesame seed. These are like a Sesame Snack in a biscuit.

220g plain flour
50g white sesame seeds
50g black sesame seeds
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
40g egg yolks, from about 2 eggs

Put flour into some sort of container and chill in the freezer (not sure why, perhaps it’s a texture thing, but why not). Toast sesame seeds at 160C for about 15 minutes, or until the white ones develop a slight tan. Set aside to cool.

Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until pale and creamy. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add flour and sesame seeds and fold in with a spatula. At this point the dough will seem very dry and crumbly, but it can be scrunched together.

The recipe says to divide the dough in half, transfer each half to a piece of baking paper, and shape into an oblong 12x7x2.5cm. That looked a bit difficult to achieve, so I lined a small oblong container that had once held quince paste with gladwrap and compacted the dough into it with a coffee tamper. 

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 160C. Slice the chilled dough 5–7mm thick. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and the toasty, sesame-y fragrance fills the kitchen.

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