Black Sesame Shortbread

I missed James’s birthday last week and didn’t bother to really congratulate him. Also, I missed his birthday night-out and have been feeling slightly guilty for the lack of effort and affection shown. Hence, this bake fest (I understand it’s quite an overstatement to call it that but I honestly had another phrase in mind that wasn’t too elegant). 

My withdrawal symptoms stemming from days of not having baked was really getting on my nerves as well; kind of like when you’ve got an itch just under your skin and no matter how many times you scratch it, it just gets itchy somewhere else. This has solved all my problems, but created another as well.

The scratch has been scratched, thank the heavens, but bollocks! I’ve incurred the — no, not wrath — but jealousy and bitchiness of the other 100 boys for displaying favouritism. Biscuits for one and none for the rest really isn’t the best track to go, let me warn you first in case you’re as silly as me to make such a mistake.

So despite it being grey as heck today, I pulled my boots on and took a nice stroll to Sainsbury’s. What a pleasant shop it was. Loads of nice grannies and the lady at the till was awfully chatty. Bought some pretty exciting ingredients for the week and a box of eggs that should last me for ages. This recipe has really taken it out of me. It really didn’t seem like much effort when I was reading through it but all that rolling and mixing and bashing about has left me breathless and slightly jelly-like at this point. It doesn’t help that the grey skies seem to be sapping away all leftover energy and lulling me into a lethargic dream state.

Piece of advice, make this only when you’ve got a considerable amount of energy, the skies aren’t grey and make sure you prepare loads for everyone! Jealousy is not a very pretty thing.

The recipe has been taken from Smitten Kitchen which was for a Green Tea Shortbread with White Chocolate Ganache. This makes about 40-52 thin shortbread biscuits. Really like the original recipe but I’ve been saving my matcha for something else (and the millions of cups of matcha latte I’ve been making) so thought to adapt it for these instead.

I remember eating slightly savoury Japanese black sesame biscuits once. They were almost wafer thin but had a really fantastic crunch and flavour to it. Of course, I don’t know how to replicate them because it was Japanese characters up and down the wrapper (and I need my sis to read them) so I had no idea what the ingredients were but these are pretty amazing. Use really good butter if you’re very particular about your shortbread and remember to bash some of the sesame seeds to release their amazing flavor.

Black Sesame Shortbread Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 225g salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs black sesame seeds, half of this ground
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • caster sugar, for sprinkling


Whisk together the dry ingredients. Beat the butter till just soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, beat. Now add all the dry ingredients and mix together. I think it's best to use hands from here on and mesh all the butter and dry ingredients together, kind of like how you’d make scones but without the rubbing as you don’t want too much air in these guys. It helps to use force to bang it all together. Now split the mixture into 2 separate bowls in equal portions. Press everything together to form a dough ball and then gently form them into discs. Wrap each disc with cling-wrap and fridge for one hour , or till just firm.

Preheat oven to 170d Celsius and grease 2 cookie trays. Flour your working surface and rolling pin. Remove the discs from the fridge and place one disc onto floured surface. Roll out flat to your desired thickness — preferably just under 1cm. Use a cookie cutter to form biscuits. Place on greased tray and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat until all the dough has been formed into your shortbread biscuits.
Pop into oven for about 15min or just before the edges get too brown. Remove from tray with a spatula and let cool on wire rack. Eat them slightly warm with a steaming cup of tea.

In my case, bag them up in a candy paper bag and carry out a covert operation to deliver them to desired recipient.

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