Sesame & Almond Cookies
Summer may feel like it’s waning, so now seems the time to eat our absolute fill of frozen desserts–and the cookies that go with our ice cream.
On Friday, at the Dutchess County Fair, I ordered a root beer float instead of one of the other snacks in a long, long list. There were fried jalapeños, frozen chocolate-covered bananas, ribbon fries, maple cotton candy, freshly roasted peanuts, Polish-style hamburgers, footlong hot dogs, frozen lemonade, and funnel cake to choose from. But these are the last official days of summer, and so I had to pick the irresistible favorite from the country ice cream stand, the float.
I’ve made that same choice–for ice cream–many times this summer. As a host, I love to figure out the best homemade dessert for a given crowd and occasion, but as an eater, I’ve been pretty single-minded: let’s have ice cream, I think, over and over, no matter what we’re having for dinner.
And so, for dinner guests who came earlier in the summer and feasted with us on roasted chicken, good bread with softened butter, and grilled romaine salad with lentils, we ended the meal not only with a selection of ice creams and sorbets but also with simple homemade cookies made only because they went well with the frozen sweets.
These are cookies with almost no flour. They get body from almond paste and from eggs. They don’t have too many ingredients beyond that! To things finish off, you roll balls through a plate of toasted sesame seeds, coating every millimeter of the soft, sticky dough’s surface in the seeds. Baked, the cookies deliver the flavor of halva with the texture of almond macaroons.
We ate ours with caramelized banana chocolate chip gelato from Brooklyn Larder (incredible!) and fresh blueberry-strawberry sorbet. Though these cookies are far from neutral, they pair remarkably well with everything frozen, from plain vanilla scoops to banana splits that need a little contemporary pizzazz. You could also, of course, munch on one plain.
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 3 1.2 ounces (100 grams) of almond paste
- ⅜ cup sugar
- 1 egg white
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pulse 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Break the almond paste with your hands and add to the processor, pulsing just til mixed. Add the sugar and pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put in the egg white and the vanilla, then process to bring everything together into a dough. Add the flour and salt, and process once more, til smooth.
- Pour the remaining sesame seeds onto a small plate. Using a teaspoon and slightly moistened hands, take about 1 teaspoon of batter and roll it into a ball. Gently drop the ball in seeds and turn until completely coated. The dough will be very sticky, and the cookies will want to squirm around. Don't worry if they lose their shape; just slightly remold them into balls when you place the on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on racks.
- Store in an airtight container. If you don't eat them all, extra cookies will last about a week.