It was a typical conversation—one about food and cooking of course—when Mother posed the question “What organism is a sesame anyway?” Hmmm, thought provoking indeed. Where do those little seeds that grace the top of so many bagels and burger buns come from? Could they originate from a tree, shrub, or grass? And while we’re on the subject, why do people always say “open sesame”? Hmmm…
But what’s really important about sesame seeds isn’t that they come from a plant that looks rather like a weed or that they were first domesticated in India, it’s that they’re tasty and delicious (especially toasted). The sesame crunch candy that I keep in a bowl on my dining table made me think of making cookies loaded with sesame seeds.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Whisk together the flour, sesame seeds, and salt in a medium bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium until creamy. Add the egg and sesame oil and mix on low until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a 2-inch log. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Unwrap the dough and cut into 3/8-inch slices. Arrange the slices about an inch apart on parchment-lined baking trays. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.
Makes about 30 cookies. Cookies keep for several days in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. The log of dough, or portions of it, may be frozen for up to 1 month tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Perfect with a cup of green tea.