These Black Sesame Cookies are an absolute show-stopper. And they live up to their eye-catching appeal with a delicious nutty flavor and chewy texture. The cookies get their signature color and flavor from black sesame paste, aka, black tahini. The baked cookies then get topped with a drizzle of white chocolate or ruby chocolate or pop of color and a silky-smooth sweet finish.
Chewy Black Sesame Cookies
These cookies are made with black sesame paste—also sold as black tahini. The flavor of these black tahini cookies is somewhat reminiscent of peanut butter cookies, but with a deeper more refined flavor. They’re nutty and sweet and perfectly chewy.
These are absolutely delicious with a drizzle of white chocolate or ruby chocolate but they also stand on their own without any chocolate.
- All-Purpose Flour: no special notes here. You’ll need 1 ¼ cups flour. When measuring out the flour, be sure to fluff the flour then spoon it into your measuring cups and level it off. Better yet, if you have a food scale, use that!
- Baking Soda: you’ll need ¾ teaspoon to give these cookies adequate lift (and subsequent drop post-bake).
- Unsalted butter: I always recommend using unsalted butter so you can control the seasoning level. Eight tablespoons will get melted and two tablespoons should be at room temperature.
- Brown Sugar: you’ll need on cup packed. I recommend using dark brown sugar, though light brown will also work.
- Black Sesame Tahini: aka black sesame paste. Tahini is a sesame seed paste and black sesame tahini is made from ground black sesame seeds. I buy black tahini on Amazon.
- Eggs: for these cookies you will need one large egg and one large egg yolk. Reserve the leftover egg white for your morning scramble! be sure to use eggs labeled and sold as large. One large egg, out of shell, should weigh about 50 grams.
- Salt: I recommend using kosher salt—that’s what we develop recipes with here. I use Morton kosher salt for recipe development, so if you’re using Diamond Crystal, refer to this Kosher Salt article on how to make the conversion,
- Vanilla Extract: one teaspoon of good vanilla is all this dough needs! I like Simply Organic vanilla extract.
- Chocolate: this is optional—but if you want to finish the cookies with a bit of chocolate, use white chocolate or ruby chocolate.
How to Make Sesame Cookies
- Brown the Butter
Brown 8 tablespoons of butter in a skillet on the stove top. Be sure to cut the butter into chunks before browning, this—and swirling the butter occasionally—will encourage even browning. Once the butter is golden brown and fragrant, remove from heat and pour the butter into a stand mixer with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir the butter together until the unmelted butter is melted.
- Mix the Butter and Sugar
Add the brown sugar and mix, using the whisk attachment, until it’s evenly combined. It should look like really wet sand.
- Beat in the Egg and Yolk
Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium until the mixture is pale, smooth, sticky and slightly fluffy.
- Mix in the Flour
Add the flour then mix until a dough comes together—mix for about a minute. You don’t need to be too afraid of overworking the dough here. You want to mix it well to encourage gluten development, which will make these cookies nice and chewy.
- Chill the Dough
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours—this is an annoying step but it does result in a thick and chewy cookie. If the dough is not adequately chilled, they will turn out thinner and crisper than intended.
- Scoop and Bake
I use a #24 scoop for these cookies—if you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can measure out the dough by 3 tablespoon amounts. Bake the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet just until the edges are set and the centers should look under-baked. It’s key to not over-bake these, if anything they are better under-baked!
- Cool and Drizzle with Chocolate
Allow the cookies to cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cookies are cool, drizzle with melted chocolate, if using.
Black Sesame Seed Paste aka Black Tahini
The base flavor of this cookie recipe is black tahini, or black sesame. I recommend buying black tahini instead of grinding your own from black sesame seeds. I buy black sesame seed paste on Amazon.
The flavor of black sesame is deeply nutty and adds great depth and nuance to these cookies! Use any leftover black sesame paste in these Black Sesame Rice Krispies!
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Use black tahini instead of grinding sesame seeds—it should be drippy and oily texture. This is key to creating the right texture in these cookies. I buy mine from amazon and I prefer Kevala black tahini.
- Brown (most) for the butter—browning butter removes excess moisture which can make for a cagey cookie. It also adds a toasty nutty flavor that enhances the natural nuttiness of black sesame.
- Use only brown sugar—I tested this with a combo of brown and white sugar and found that using only brown sugar was key to making these ultra-chewy. I like dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar will also work.
- Q. Can these be rolled out and cut into shapes prior to cooling in the fridge?
A. If you add ¼ cup flour to the dough, you can roll the dough into a log and turn these into slice ‘n bake cookies. The dough should also work for rolling and cutting out. Bake time should be the same, if they don’t feel quite done after 14 minutes, add on a couple minutes.
Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months.
The dough can be made and stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly in plastic wrap, up to 3 days ahead of time.
Black Sesame Cookie Recipe
- 1 ¼ cups (160g) all-purpose flour flour
- ¾ teaspoon (5g) baking soda
- 10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (130g) black sesame tahini
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt or 1 ¼ teaspoons Diamond Crystal
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 ounces bar white chocolate or ruby chocolate, chopped
- White sprinkles, optional
- Whisk together 1¼ cups (160g) flour and ¾ teaspoon baking soda; set aside.
- Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Continue cooking melted butter, swirling pan constantly, until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 3–4 more minutes. Transfer browned butter to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until completely melted.
- Add 1 cup (200g) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon salt; beat until fully incorporated.
- Add 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk and beat vigorously until mixture is light pale in color, fluffy, 3 minutes.
- Add ½ cup (130g) black tahini and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture and mix for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
- Divide dough into 14 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop) and arrange on a baking sheet.
- Arrange 6 dough balls, 3-inches apart, on a prepared sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require multiple batches. Bake 3 cookies at a time on quarter sheet pans).
- If using chocolate, melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave in 30-second increments on 50% power until melted, stirring after each heating.
- Drizzle cookies with chocolate and top with sprinkles, if using. Allow chocolate to set.
Brown (most) for the butter: browning butter removes excess moisture which can make for a cagey cookie. It also adds a toasty nutty flavor that enhances the natural nuttiness of black sesame.
Use only brown sugar: I tested this with a combo of brown and white sugar and found that using only brown sugar was key to making these ultra-chewy. I like dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar will also work. Storage: Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. The dough can be made and stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly in plastic wrap, up to 3 days ahead of time.
The original recipe was published on October 27, 2017 and was written to be gluten-free using a 1:1 GF baking flour. The recipe has since been updated. If you are looking for the original recipe, leave a comment and let me know. Alternatively, a 1:1 GF flour should work fine in the new recipe.