The other day I found a little jar of honey with black sesame paste that I had brought back from Japan last year. When I opened the jar and had dipped my finger in for a taste I thought that the nutty sweet paste would go very well with the freshness of the cardamom and lemon in the traditional hálfmánar cookie from Iceland. You won’t find this ready made paste in the shops here so I ground up my own mixture with a mortar and pestle and spread it out over the dough. I rolled it up in a nice tight roll so I would end up with neat spirals when I cut it in slices. The result is so pretty and the cookies taste so good! If you cannot find black sesame seed you can use ordinary sesame seeds for the same taste but the cookies won’t turn out so pretty. If you want to go for the black and white effect you could also blitz some prunes into a paste in a food processor and use that. It won’t taste the same but you do get the elegant spiral effect. So looks or taste: it is up to you!
Sesame spiral cookie
For 20- 25 cookies
180 grams (1¾ cups) flour
70 grams (⅔ cup) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
100 grams (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon ice water
grated rind of ½ lemon
50 grams (⅓ cup) black sesame seed
1 tbsp honey
In a bowl mix the flour with the sugar, the baking powder, the cardamom and the salt.
Add the butter, the egg yolk, the lemon juice and grated rind.
Rub the flour mixture into the other ingredients with the tips of your fingers until rough crumbs form.
Add the water and quickly knead into a nice ball of dough.
Press flat into a disk and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle of about ¼ cm / ⅛ inch thick. Grind the sesame seed until very fine with a mortar and pestle and mix in the honey. Spread the paste over the dough. Start with the long side of the dough and roll up into a tight roll. Let the dough cool and firm up in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.
Cut the roll into slices of about ¼ cm ( ⅛ inch) thick. Place on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-15 mins. or until light brown and done.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet.
This post is also available in: Dutch