Ypsi Cooks

healthy and sustainable for the frugal foodie


My Mom’s Cookbooks

Amelia likes to take lids of bottles and pour. This is an important thing to remember when you’ve just added a few drops of almond extract to your waffle batter: don’t leave the bottle on the counter and walk away. But did I think of that little piece if logic? No. Needless to say, I walked into the kitchen to see her standing on a chair at the counter with an empty bottle of extract. Into a little bowl I poured off what I could and mixed the rest into the batter, hoping for the best. The waffles turned out fine, if a bit “boozy,” as Tom said. But what to do with that precious little bowl of extract?

I recalled an unusual little cookie, a recipe I had seen many times in my mom’s wonderful collected cookbook. She actually has several of these binders, each labeled with it’s major food category, filled with newspaper clippings, recipes pulled off the back of boxes, and note cards from friends. I admit, the only one I’ve ever actually opened is the one labeled “Cookies, Pies, Cakes and Treats.” Now, the problem with this particular cookie recipe is that I could only recall the image of it, not the recipe itself, along with a very vague memory of this unusual, delightful cookie. An Almond-Sesame Cookie. Not recalling her recipe, and not wanting to call her to give me the recipe over the phone, I scanned the internet. I sat in front of the computer disappointed. None of the recipes offered what I was looking for, either lacking almond or sesame punch.

What’s a girl to do with a little bowl of extract and no recipes to suit her fancy? Make something up. When served the cookies for dessert, Tom looked up and said, “This is a keeper.” The next day we were at my mom’s house, so I pulled out her sweets binder. It felt good to see all those recipes I had looked at so many times as a kid, all in their proper places.  I quickly found her  ”Chinese Almond Cookie” recipe, written out in her hand. The ingredient list was almost the same (her’s had cornmeal which gave it an interesting texture as I recall), but the proportions were significantly different. So here’s my version.

Almond Sesame Cookies

Use the greater quantity of sugar if you’re looking for something very cookie like. The smaller quantity has a sweetness similar to a store bought granola bar: plenty sweet for me. One website included instructions to shape the dough into ovals about 2 inches in length. I think I’ll try that next time for a more interesting look. *Also, I might try moistening my hands when shaping the dough to improve sesame seed adhesion.

•            3/4 cup sesame seeds

•            1 1/4cups all-purpose flour

•            3/4 cup almond meal

•            1/2 to 3/4 cup turbinado (or light brown) sugar, depending on desired sweetness

•            5 tablespoons butter, softened/melted (doesn’t really matter!)

•            2 tablespoons water

•            1 teaspoon baking powder

•            1 teaspoon almond extract

•            1/4 teaspoon salt

•            1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°. On a cookie sheet while the oven preheats, toast sesame seeds until golden brown, about 15 min, or until preheat is complete. Set aside. Measure remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl. With hand-held or stand mixer at low speed, beat until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in a generous 1/4 cup sesame seeds.

Using a scant 2 teaspoons of dough for each cookie, roll into a ball and press into remaining toasted sesame seeds*. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container for up to 1 week.

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