Sesame … brittle?

The Book
Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe | Joanne Chang
(Chronicle Books, 2010)

The Recipe
Black Sesame Lace Cookie

The Reason
More Joanne Chang! This is the fourth thing I’ve made from this book; I think it’s the most recipes I’ve ever cooked from one book. This is actually proving to be really good for me; because I had a post to write afterwards, I made them, rather than just thinking ‘Oh, those would be nice to make’. Also, purely practically, I got a massive pot of black sesame seeds in the Chinese supermarket, so it was incentive to actually make use of them.

The Cooking
The preparation was super easy. It’s just one bowl and a lot of stirring. It’s another of those ‘not a last-minute thing’ things, in that it needs to be chilled for several hours. I left it over night, and as my reward for preparing the dough, ate enormous amounts of Chinese food and watched the first episode of Game of Thrones. (NO SPOILERS.) Who needs to go out on a Saturday when there’s baking to be done?

The cooking was less straightforward, which was entirely my fault. The recipe called for at least three inches of space between each ball of dough to allow them to spread, but that would have required me cooking, like, two at a time over the space of a whole day, (especially as you can’t take them off the baking sheet until they’re fully cooled) so I left a bit less space to get them all done at once. That’s actually one criticism of this specific recipe – it seems to assume you’ve got an industrial-sized oven to work with, which is unusual, as the book’s normally really good at adjusting to domestic scales.

As it turns out, they cook in about twenty minutes and cool in about fifteen, so it wouldn’t have been too onerous to have done them in batches, so lesson learned for next time.

The result
Aesthetically, kind of a disaster. I’m generally photographing things, but these really don’t deserve to be immortalised like that. I really should have left the required amount of space, because they all just ran into one big sheet. It did still look pretty – properly lacy, with the tiny holes, and the semi-transparent effect. Weirdly, the different trays cooked differently. I guess that’s not that weird. One of them ended up kind of gooey, but the other two ended up properly brittle and crisp. And tastewise, it was (is) great. Because the sesame’s got that savoury bite to it, it stops what is basically just baked sugar being too cloying

.And now I’mma go buy ice-cream, because these will be amazing on the side of ice-cream,