Right now, I am really feeling easy to make desserts because it’s summer! No one wants to be in the hot kitchen when it’s 80+ degrees outside. A few months ago, I made the most amazing lemon earl grey shortbread cookies. I remember I kept thinking why I’d never made shortbread cookies before. They’re the ultimate pantry dessert. They are easy to make and use only a few simple ingredients. Here is another version of my favorite pantry cookie but made with one of my favorite Asian flavors: black sesame. This is a recipe for my black sesame shortbread cookies. If you want to take this recipe further, check out my black sesame sandwich cookies!
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Black sesame seeds – This is the main flavor component of these cookies. Make sure to pulverize them in a spice grinder, so they’re really fine.
- Powdered (confectioners) sugar – Powdered sugar is a combination of fine sugar and corn starch. This ingredient is a must for these cookies because it makes them soft and tender.
- Butter – I used unsalted butter for this recipe. It’s important to use unsalted butter because it helps you control the amount of salt in your recipe.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract adds flavor to the cookies. A better substitute would be vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean because they have better flavor. Substitute vanilla paste in a 1:1 ratio – 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.
- Flour – I used all purpose flour for this recipe.
Tools you will need
- 2 baking sheets – You want 2 baking sheets, so you don’t crowd the cookies onto one.
- 2 silicone mats – I use a silicone mat because I don’t have great surfaces to roll out dough. The great thing about a silicone mat is that the dough doesn’t stick to it like it does other surfaces, so it’s easy to punch out the cookies.
- 1 rolling pin
- Cookie Cutter – I used a biscuit cutter for my cookies, but a cookie cutter or cup works as well. Feel free to get creative with your shapes!
- 2 mixing bowls (1 big and 1 medium sized) – One for wet ingredients and one for dry ingredients.
- 1 spatula or wooden spoon
- 1 spice grinder – The purpose of a spice grinder is to pulverize your black sesame seeds into powder form. This spice grinder that I have is easily my favorite tool in the kitchen, and one I use for a lot of my black sesame recipes like my black sesame chocolate chip cookies and black sesame waffles.
Making my black sesame shortbread cookies
First toast your sesame seeds. Add them to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat for ~30 seconds until you smell a toasted black sesame aroma. Pour them into a spice grinder and pulverize them until they are as fine as powder. Combine the powdered black sesame with all purpose flour and mix. Set aside. Next cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in your vanilla extract and salt. Mix until well combined. Sift the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. Combine with a spatula until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough onto a silicone mat until it is 1/4 inch thick. Let dough cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough is cooling, prepare your baking sheets and preheat your oven. Move your oven rack to the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie cutter that is 2.5 inches in diameter to cut out your cookies. After you cut out your first batch, combine the remaining pieces of dough and roll it out again to cut out more cookies. Repeat this process until you run out of dough. Place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges turn a golden color. Cool for 10 minutes. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and serve.
Tips on how to make the perfect black sesame shortbread cookies
Roll out the dough prior to resting it in the fridge
The reason I rolled out the dough first before resting it in the fridge is because the dough is easier to work with before it goes into the fridge. In addition, the cookies hold their shape better if you punch them out while the dough is cold.
Why I use a silicone mat
I used a silicone mat because it’s easy to roll out the dough on the surface, it makes it easy to transfer the dough onto a baking sheet for resting, and the cookies don’t stick when I transfer them onto another baking sheet for baking.
What to do if your dough gets too warm
When I was cutting the cookies, there were moments when the dough got too warm. Like I mentioned, the cookies bake better when they’re cold. If this happens, put the cookies back in the fridge for 10 minutes before continuing to work with it.
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Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies
Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies
- Toast black sesame seeds for ~30 seconds until you can smell a toasted black sesame aroma. Pour into a spice grinder and pulse until it becomes very fine.
- Mix the flour and powdered black sesame seeds together. Set aside.
- Cream powdered sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and salt. Mix until well combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients from step 2 into the wet ingredients. Combine with a spatula until a soft dough forms.
- Roll out the dough onto a silicone mat until it is 1/4 an inch thick.
- Transfer the silicone mat onto a baking sheet. Rest dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Move the oven rack to the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare 2 baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
- After 30 minutes, take the dough out from the fridge. Use a cookie cutter that is 2.5 inches in diameter to cut out your cookies. After you cut out your first batch, combine the remaining dough, and roll it out to cut more cookies. Repeat this process until you run out of dough.
- Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes until the edges start to turn a golden color.
- Cool cookies for 10 minutes.
- Combine the ingredients for the glaze and drizzle onto the cookies.