Black Sesame Lace Cookies
By Joanne Chang, Pastry Chef/Owner of Flour Bakery in Boston, MA
Makes 24 cookies
Before I opened Flour I was very lucky enough to get a fair amount of local press about the upcoming opening of my new bakery and café. Right before we opened the Boston Globe interviewed me about Flour and featured bigger than life-size photo of my hand holding one of these lacy gorgeous black sesame cookies. The ironic thing was, this cookie was a simple throw-away recipe that I’d been using for years in my restaurant work to garnish ice cream and sorbet desserts. I wasn’t planning on making these cookies at Flour – they were too brittle and delicate for the rough and tumble world of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal scones. But once our doors opened it seemed like every other customer who walked in asked about those scrumptious looking cookies and wanted to order one. We tried making them for a while but indeed they just didn’t hold up that well when stacked with all of the other goodies on our counter. So slowly, ever so slowly, we phased them out and customers eventually forgot about them.
Now they are back for you to make at home! It’s a wonderfully simple recipe made with ingredients that you’re likely to have around the house except for the black sesame seeds. Seek them out – they make such a beautiful contrast in the golden brown cookie and add a distinct flavor. Serve them like I used to with a bowl of ice cream or sorbet as an unusual and delicious garnish.
7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces; 196 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
7 tablespoons (100 grams) tightly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (72 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (80 grams) orange juice
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds (You can find these in most Asian Grocery stores or in health or specialty stores.)
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon, beat butter until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and brown sugar and continue to beat until combined, another minute or so. Add flour and mix until well combined. Slowly drizzle in orange juice; the mixture will look a little broken which is okay. Mix in sesame seeds. Place batter in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to a week.
When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a very flat cookie sheet with parchment paper. (This batter spreads like crazy so you really do have to use an extremely flat sheet in order for the cookies to bake in a round circle and not an oblong amoeba-like shape.) Pinch rounded tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread, at least 3 inches in between each cookie on all sides. Bake in 350 degree oven for 16-18 minutes until cookies are dark golden brown throughout. Remove from oven and let cool until completely firm. Gently remove from parchment and serve. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days with waxed paper in between each cookie.