Monday, January 15, 2018

Honey Sesame Cocoa Cookies

At first glance these may look like molasses cookies.

Think again, and maybe they look like chocolate cookies... well that would be close!

These cookies feature the exotic combination of honey and sesame with a good helping of cocoa.

In a way they remind me of "mole", the complex chocolate-infused sweet & savoury sauce of Central America, minus the array of spices and chili. Although, that wouldn't be a bad idea!

Sesame comes in two forms today:

1. Tahini - a creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds, similar to almond butter but with way more of a punch! Tahini has a strong flavour and should be used sparingly in recipes, but it adds a wonderful savoryness. Make sure to stir it in the jar before using it because the oil tends to separate.

2. Sesame seeds/sugar blend for rolling the cookie dough in. They will toast lightly as the cookies bake for a nice texture and look!

The defining feature of these cookies, other than their unique flavour profile, is their texture.

They soft and fudgy with a bit of a chew - similar to molasses cookies.

It's the honey that keeps them so soft for days because honey, like other liquid sugars (i.e. molasses, corn syrup, agave, maple syrup) is classified as a humectant. Humectants are hygroscopic or "water-loving" by nature. It all sounds very technical, but what it really means is that it has the ability to attract and bind moisture, so that these cookies are more resistant to drying out during baking and during storage.

That means you get to enjoy soft freshy cookies all week long!

If you're in the mood for something a little different, but still awesome (because Hello, chocolate!) then give this recipe a go!

Have a sweet week.

Honey Sesame Cocoa Cookies
makes about 18 cookies

½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75g) packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) honey

1 tbsp (15ml) tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (180g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (28g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

For rolling:
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
3 tbsp sesame seeds

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a spatula), beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy. Beat in honey and tahini. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.

Cover dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Meanwhile, combine granulated sugar and sesame seeds in a small bowl.

Take heaped tablespoons of chilled dough and roll it in the sugar mixture, pressing the dough balls down a bit so the sesame seeds adhere. Place onto baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until cookies are slightly puffed but still a bit soft in the middle. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely.

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