Saturday, December 10, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas, #6: Black Sesame Shortbread

This next cookie is made with my mom in mind in particular. You see, she's a fan of black sesame seeds, and I wanted to make a cookie just for her. Plus I loved the idea of pairing the intense, nutty, almost savoury flavour of black sesames with the buttery sweetness of shortbread.

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Day Six of my Twelve Days of Christmas series: Black Sesame Shortbread.

I love the delicateness of shortbread and its melt-in-your-mouth texture. But just because it's frail doesn't mean it's the same in the flavour department, because this cookie packs a whole lot of punch. First, you're hit with the scent of toasted sesames, and then the taste of it as you take a bite. Then you have the little bits of crunch here and there from the seeds.

This is a lightly sweetened shortbread so as not to take away from the savoury-like flavour of the sesames. I did roll the sides in a bit of crushed sesames and sugar mix though, to add some more textural interest to it and pretty them up.

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Black Sesame Shortbread
Adapted from The Sugar Bar
Makes about 3 dozen

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted and ground, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Caster sugar, for sprinkling

Whisk together the flour and salt.

In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons of ground black sesames and vanilla extract, and mix until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour, leaving a little out at the end to test the texture of the dough. If you find your dough is still too moist, then add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated; do not overbeat. The dough should start to come together as a ball.

Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough equally and using plastic wrap or parchment paper as a guide to help wrap the dough, roll and shape each dough into a cylindrical log, about 2-inches in diameter. Twist the ends of the wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until hardened enough to cut cleanly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one of the logs from the refrigerator and let it come down in temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Roll the sides of slice in a mixture of half ground sesame seeds, half caster sugar, and place cut-side-up on the lined baking sheets.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool on the sheet for about 10 minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookies.


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