Chinese sesame cookies
While Chinese cuisine is not particularly well-known for its desserts, there are a number of very traditional Chinese cookies that are usually offered during holidays, like the celebration of Lunar New Year. These unbelievably delicious and buttery sesame cookies are traditionally prepared with both lard and butter, however lard can be substituted for shortening. They are really easy to prepare and extremely addictive. Fantastic as a dessert – we recommend pairing it with Oolong boba tea – or as a mid-afternoon snack. Yields 30 cookies.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup refined lard (or shortening)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup of a mixture of natural, toasted, and black sesame seed
First, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, lard (or shortening), and both types of sugar. Then add the egg and almond extract to the bowl, and beat until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and mix well – you will get a dry and crumbly dough. Pour the dough on a cold working surface, and using your fingers to compact it, shape it into two logs, 10 to 12 inches long. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 and preferably 4 hours, or overnight. Cut each log into 15 pieces, roll each piece into a ball, and roll each ball in a bowl of sesame seeds. You can brush or dip the balls in milk to help the sesame seeds stick. Place the balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet, making sure to space them 2″ apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 15 to 17 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and they easily lift from the baking sheet. Let cool completely and enjoy.