“COME TO THE DARK SIDE; TO THE WORLD OF BLACK SESAME COOKIES”

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Here is my next post for Hopscotch. Nearly four years back, approximately around the time I started blogging, I happened to come across an almond cookies recipe on food dot come website. I bookmarked it and then totally forgot about it up until now. Apparently I had taken a print copy of the recipe and while we were shifting to our new house in August, in a serendipitous moment I happened to I stumble upon it. With winter baking in mind, I thought of using the recipe to bake some almond cookies. But I had been procrastinating the idea of baking with sesame seeds. And when I found the almond cookie recipe, I decided to turn them into sesame cookies instead. The recipe had mentioned one cup of almond meal which I swapped with half a cup of sesame seeds. The sweetness of almonds holds beautifully against the deep nutty tones of sesame. Besides, I had wanted to make these cookies gluten free so I swapped the APF with chickpea flour and rice flour. As a matter of fact, I was just trying to play around with ingredients. I believed that the warm and nutty flavoured chickpea flour would make an ideal base for black sesame cookies.

Sesame seeds have been generously used in Indian cooking especially in desserts. Revadi (रेवड़ी) is a very popular north Indian winter treat is made with white sesame seeds, using either sugar or palm sugar (गुड़). I remember polishing off hands full of them along with with roasted peanuts. Other popular and delicious ways that they are consumed is via laddus and fudge. Bihar is famous for its Tilkut which is made by pounding white sesame seeds and palm sugar. It is said to benefit the body during the cold winter days since both the ingredients are said to have ‘warm properties’. It is a super flaky and melt in the mouth kind of confectionery. Do try to get your hands on it.

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½ C Butter

¾ C Caster Sugar

¾ C Chickpea Flour (Besan)

½ C Rice Flour

¼ C Cornflour (not cornmeal)

¼ tsp Baking Powder

½ C Almond Meal (powdered almonds)

½ C scant, Black Sesame Seeds

1 tbsp Flax seed Powder

2 tbsp Water

1 tsp Cardamom Powder

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Toast the sesame seeds in a pan on low medium heat for no more than two minutes ensuring that you keep stirring all this while. (I scorched my first batch, therefore timed my next one. My pan was not a heavy bottomed one therefore the process was fast. Adjust the time accordingly if your pan is heavy bottomed). Cool and powder them in a spice grinder or mixer. Set aside.

Add water to the flax seed powder and allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes. The mixture will become glutinous. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix together the chickpea flour, rice flour, cornflour & baking powder and sift them four times. Add almond meal, black sesame powder and cardamom powder and whisk the dry ingredients for a minute (I whisked them using a hand whisk). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the flax seed powder mix and whisk till incorporated. Now add the flour mix to this batter and mix them, using a spatula or hands, till the mixture just comes together. (You do not need to knead the dough.)

Make the dough into a ball and divide it in two halves. Roll each half in approximately 1.5 inch diameter thick log which is approximately 6 inches long. Transfer the dough log onto a cling wrap sheet and roll it gently making sure the shape is retained. Refrigerate the dough for 3 hour. (I refrigerated it over-night and sliced & baked them in the morning)

Preheat the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees C and then take out the dough log from the refrigerator. Cut the log in 7 mm slices and place carefully on a baking sheet (baking tray). Keep an inch of gap between each sliced cookie dough. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or till the edges begin to turn brown. Take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Then gently remove them and transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely. Transfer to an air tight container.

Serve with the beverage of your choice. These cookies are great to give away as edible gifts.

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Note: I rolled the log in sesame seeds to make them look pretty and to intensify the sesame flavors.

Yield: Approx 30 cookies

Other Chickpea Flour goodies:

Lup’pi – लप्पी (Chickpea Flour Sweet Soup)

Besan Laddu (Chickpea Flour Confection)

Spicy Pumpkin Pancakes 

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