In the meantime, it's sad to say that I've been suffering from mild insomnia lately. I find it difficult to get into sleep and by the time 5 a.m. or so strikes, I'll be knocked out of my dreams completely. Worse comes worst, I have a pair of "panda eyes" now. Weird? *Fainted* I'm not too sure about the causes ... But, my suspicion may be correct ... I think I can't sleep well because of work stress and my fragile heart that's been touched by someone else. Sigh ... =.="" (Well, forget about the crap I talked about, this is a baking, cooking and food photography journal anyway. Duh! Silly me! Bah ... I feel a bit disorganized and unprofessional now ... :( )
I bet you wouldn't want any nagging and to hear good old grandma's stories from me about the person or whatsoever. So, to cut the story short, I'm presenting to you my bake from several weekends ago: black sesame cookies. =) My dad and brothers loved them especially! (My mom wasn't because she's not a big fan of anything sesame.) I also brought some to let my colleagues and ex-colleague try. They finished the cookies up! I was of course delighted to learn about this.
These cookies were on the crunchy side with a shortbread-like texture. The sesame aroma and flavor were good enough to be tasted and perceived-- and yet, they weren't overpowering at all! They also had a good strike of the buttery and sweet vanilla aroma! What a good treat to our sensual experience!
In fact, I baked the cookies twice during the weekend. My elder younger brother brought the entire first batch back to his apartment as he's studying in a smaller town over an hour away from home. I was so happy that I decided to whip up another batch the next afternoon.
On top of that, these cookies were not too sweet. My youngest brother thought that they could've been sweeter. He eats desserts but his tooth isn't that sweet. I was sort of surprised at his feedback actually! (Well, you get the picture here ... I'm obviously the eldest at home. =) ) So, for almost half the second batch, I coated the cookies with granulated sugar before baking. He REALLY loved them! Baby Bro, thanks for your appreciation and praises! Jie-jie (姐姐, which means elder sister in both Cantonese and Mandarin) loves you always!!!
These cookies were easy to be pulled together as they were basically sliced refrigerated cookies. (As long as you don't mind working with sweet, sticky dough ... I don't have any problems as I find these tasks OH-SO soothing ... What a relief from work stress!) Anyhow, I'd better stop my nonsensical talk and make way for the recipe:
Black Sesame Cookies 黑芝麻曲奇 (Adapted from Season Biscuits 《時尚餅乾》, recipe by Kevin Chai 蔡高晉)
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60g castor sugar 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
180g plain flour, sifted once
40g pulverized roasted black sesame seeds (let it cool completely upon using)
1/2 egg, at room temperature
enough black sesame seeds
enough granulated/coarse sugar (optional)
- Cream (A) together till well-combined and look light and fluffy, then fold in the flour to blend well--STOP once a crumbly dough has formed!
- Divide the dough into half, then mix in (B) to one of the halves till well-combined; refrigerate both portions of the dough till they've become hard enough to be handled by hands--about 30 minutes mine took (I didn't cover them with cling wrap.)
- Remove both portions of the dough from the refrigerator. On slightly floured working surface, shape the vanilla dough into the shape of a log measuring at about 3cm in diameter and 16cm in length. Then, roll the black sesame dough into a rough 7x16cm rectangular shape; place the vanilla dough in the middle of the black sesame dough and "wrap them up."
Further shape the wrapped-up dough to get a better, "smoother" shape of a log. Next, refrigerate till it's become hard enough to be handled by hands--mine took about 40 minutes or so (If you find the dough gets too soft and difficult to be worked with, refrigerate it immediately each time till it hardens up to the point whereby you can work with it easily.)
- Slice the cookie dough into 0.7~0.8mm-thick slices and arrange them on lined baking trays, leaving about 2.5cm of space in between each cookie for expansion during baking. Then, gently press some black sesame seeds over each of the cookies, with more concentrated on the whiter center
*If you want sugar-coated ones, coat them in granulated or coarse sugar all over their sides, i.e. around the dark-colored "ring," before placing the cut-up cookie dough on the trays and before sticking them with some sesame seeds.
- Bake the cookies at 170C for 15-18 minutes or till they're slightly golden brown around the edges and their surface looks a bit cracked (No worries, the crack will sort of go away once the cookies are cooled completely.)
- Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately transfer them to cool on wire rack completely. Store cooled cookies in airtight containers