Black sesame is an ingredient commonly used in many Chinese desserts such as black sesame soup called ji ma wu (a type of tong sui, or sweet soup – I’ve got a recipe for one here!) or as a filling for mochi or tong yuen which are glutinous rice balls.
In the UK however, black sesame is much less commonly used in comparison to its white sesame counterpart and yet they are arguably more interesting an ingredient!
For a long time, black sesame was reserved only for decorating breads or to sprinkle over savoury dishes to make them more attractive and trendy-looking but as the Western world begins to become more greatly influenced by Asian cultures, black sesame has found itself becoming an ingredient found much more frequently in recipes where the black sesame is a main ingredient and not just a garnish.
You might find maverick chefs, patissiers and chocolatiers using black sesame in their tuiles, biscuits, chocolates and cakes – and that includes Iain from Bake Off who made black sesame ice cream (and threw it in the bin)! Its colour as well as its flavour is certainly what has made black sesame such an attractive ingredient; the distinctive grey colour it produces is rather wonderful and tastes completely different to how it looks! You can find my No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream recipe by clicking on the name!
Black sesame has a bitter, nuttier and smokier flavour compared to white sesame which are basically the same except black sesame does not have its outer hulls removed. This minute difference in the flavour means that black sesame is much more exciting an ingredient and what makes it so tasty too.
You’ll often black sesame being paired together with matcha green tea or dark chocolate as in today’s recipe for Black Sesame and Dark Chocolate Biscuits.
This follows a basic sugar cookie recipe which I finally have perfected after trying numerous recipes. If you wanted to make a basic plain cookie, simply omit the black sesame and the dark chocolate and up the sugar by 10g. You can also find my Funfetti Sugar Cookies too by clicking here. You might also want to check out my Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies and my Coffee and Vanilla Striped Biscuits!
90g granulated sugar
190g plain flour
10g black sesame seeds, plus extra to decorate
20g dark chocolate, finely grated
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the plain flour, the black sesame seeds and the grated dark chocolate and fold through until it forms a pliable but not sticky dough.
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the biscuit dough to 0.5cm thick, lifting up from the surface every so often so it doesn’t stick. Using a lightly floured 4cm cutter, cut out rounds of the biscuit dough and place on the lined baking tray, rerolling the offcuts no more than twice; these biscuits do not spread but will bake more evenly with space left between them for air to circulate.
Place 1 black sesame seed in the centre of each biscuit, pressing down lightly so it is embedded.
Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 11 minutes or until the edges have turned golden. Leave the biscuits on the baking tray to cool for 15 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool fully.