Recently, I’ve blogged about the importance of protein for our skin and bodies. Most of us don’t get enough protein in our diet, which can lead to the depletion of our tissues (and in my world this results in premature signs of aging). In my experience, a common challenge for women in particular is that a lot of us don’t like eating high amounts of (or any) animal protein. Then comes the whole “to meat or not to meat” conundrum – which is a long discussion that we can save for another day. Whether we choose to go veggie or paleo, one thing we can do is get more protein in more unassuming places: our snacks, our drinks and our desserts.
Enter: black sesame cookies. I luuuuurv black sesame. Judging from the likes on my instagram, so do a lot of other people. My grandma used to make the best black sesame pudding from scratch. It would take her two full days by hand using a big stone grinder, milling it over and over until it yielded the perfect creamy texture. She used to make my cousins and I help her out by taking shift on the grinder, which was a task I imagine is something similar to how it feels churning butter. Well, after about 4 minutes we would whine that our arms hurt and she would roll her eyes at our groans (actually she would kiss her teeth and shake her head, which is the old Asian equivalent of an eye roll). After two days of the gruelling grind (and a lot more moaning) we would all eat up, victorious with incredibly fresh, wholesome black sesame pudding.
You see, Chinese desserts are usually dairy-free. This means that there are no chocolate eclairs or tiramisus in Chinese cuisine, black sesame was as good as it got. Between red bean soup and tofu pudding (which are both exactly what they sound like), black sesame was drool-worthy. But what Asian desserts lack in decadence, they make up in healthiness. They usually are usually made up of a protein (bean, seed, nut or soy) that’s lightly sweetened and flavored with very unsexy flavors. Its a happy day when you stumble on a bowl of red bean soup that has been made with orange peel. Well, my memories of healthy and hearty black sesame carried all through my life. As a penny-pinching backpacker, I would have cereal for breakfast and stir in a spoon of ground black sesame for protein. Oh to be young!
Anyhoo, I came across some black sesame paste (basically a black tahini) in the back of my cupboard and decided to improvise a flourless cookie based on my recipe for chocolate almond butter cookies. The result was a moist, rich, nutty cookie that has that distinctly toasted sesame flavor that would make my grandma proud. You can find black sesame paste at Asian grocers or make your own at home. I think it will be a cinch to make this in my vitamix (I’m sure Ma Ma is eye rolling in her grave). This recipe is simple but uses honey – if you can simply add water or vegetable oil to make it without any sweetener as the cookies themselves have coconut sap sugar (used bc its low glycemic)!
BLACK SESAME COOKIES
1 cup unsalted black sesame paste
3/4 cup coconut sap sugar (found easily at any health food store)
1/2 tsp baking powder
white sesame seeds to top
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Dropped heaped teaspoons formed into balls onto a lightly greased pan (about an inch and a half in diameter).
3. The will melt down a bit but not a lot so then push them lightly down with a fork.
4. Put into a preheated oven at 350 Fahrenheit for approx 15 minutes (when they begin to brown).