Black Sesame Matcha Cookies

Don’t let the color of these cookies spook you–

black sesame paste is the new black.

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The slightly toasted, nutty flavor of the black sesame pairs so perfectly with the buttery, sweet matcha filling, the two really deserve their own reality TV show. They sort of look like reverse witch hats, right?! And hell, if these aren’t cute enough to eat, IDK what is.

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Anyone got any Halloween plans? You’ll be delighted to discover that I bought a costume for the first time in like 4 years and I plan to saunter the streets of West Hollywood in said costume. I’m going to be Dorothy (pictures to follow, just kidding, I would never leak those to the interwebs) and Pinot, my pug, will be my fat, wrinkly Toto.  I can’t wait.

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If you’re hosting a Halloween party of any kind (this includes parties of one; no judgements) and want to please any and all guests, make this for dessert. These little guys are light and crispy like shortbread, but still incredibly satisfying and rich like mousse. Win win.

Plus, the black sesame paste and matcha powder colors are so pretty; no artificial food coloring necessary.

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What’s so rad about matcha?? It’s made out of powdered green tea leaves so you’re getting the full amount of polyphenols…just a pinch has at least 3x as many antioxidants as a cup of normal green tea! Essentially, it’s a super-rich source of EGCG, a compound that research suggests may lower your risk of certain types of cancer.

Cook up these cookies– your stomach, your mouth, and alla yo’ friends will thank you.

Black Sesame Matcha Cookies

Makes 18-20 cookies

For the green matcha filling *make this first*:

  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Beat all ingredients together in a mixer until super light and fluffy. You can chill it in the fridge while the rest of the cookies are made.

For the black sesame cookies:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup black sesame paste *you can find this in many Asian markets. If not, feel free to use regular tahini, they just won’t be black and the flavor will be more subtle*
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • black sesame seeds (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixer, beat butter and black sesame paste until smooth. Add in brown sugar and beat again for another 45 seconds. Next add vanilla and egg and beat once again until smooth (about a minute more). In other words, just beat it.
  3. Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture to the mixer with the other ingredients, beating until no more flour is visible and the dough is soft and pliable. Put dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll dough into about 20 small dough balls (about a tablespoon’s worth of dough per cookie). Drop them onto the sheet a few inches apart; you will likely need two cookie sheets. Using your thumb, press a little indentation into each cookie (this is where the filling will go).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven when cookies have spread out a bit and are no longer tender to the touch. If the little indentations sort of disappeared, no worries, just use the end of a spatula or spoon and press another small hole in there.
  7. Fill each cookie with some of the green filling, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and eat.

Homemade Nut Butter

You’ve got 3 days on the clock.

And no Christmas present in sight. You are literally the worst.

Santa wants nothing to do with you and is probably wrapping up your lump of coal as I type.

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Enduring the lines at the mall sounds about as appealing to you as shoving a Christmas tree where the sun don’t shine.

You begin to sweat. Profusely.

BUT WAIT. What if there was an incredibly easy DIY gift that is obviously the best kind of gift because you can eat it? ENTER: Homemade nut butter. So easy, a caveman could do it. …..If cavemen had food processors. And also refined and exquisite artisan taste.

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Grab some mason jars and let’s do this.

Homemade Nut Butter 

  • nuts of choice (I like cashew, almond, hazelnut, and DUH, peanut)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • cinnamon and/or unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  1. If you want a deeper and more flavor, roast them nuts. Depending on which nut you’re using, the roast time will differ. Find a good guide here and remember to check on them VERY frequently so they donut burn.
  2. Load up your nuts in the food processor. *Insert immature joke ______ here*

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3. Add in some salt and cinnamon/cocoa powder (if using) and turn on high. Your nut butter will start to look a lil something like THIS:

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4. Keep it going, until you reach the desired consistency…which is very smooth and creamy. Like-a-DIS (the whole process will take no longer than 7-10 minutes):

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5. Taste it and add more salt, if necessary. Scoop into cute little jars, you crafty bitch you.

Macaroon Chocolate Drops

This Christmas, one of the slightly depressing side effects of being a grad student is my lack of funds for gift giving.

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If you took a peek into my scraggly wallet from Marshalls, I am about 99.9% positive you would find anywhere from 6 to 7 cobwebs.

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SO. Consequently, I am giving hugs as presents this year.

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I’m like “YOU GET A HUG!” “YOU GET A HUG!” “EVERYONE GETS HUGS!”

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I kid I kid, I know I can’t feel too bad about the whole thing because I decided to just make my gifts this year.  And these gifts come in the form of dark chocolate coconut truffles. Yanno…to uh, serve as accompaniments alongside my warm fuzzy hugs…

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These chocolate drops are sinfully good. They’re made with rich dark chocolate, creamy coconut, fresh spring blossom honey, and a hint of sea salt.  Additionally, you can get all artsy-fartsy-Martha-Stewart-Pinteresty and roll them in toasted walnuts, crushed candy cane, cocoa powder, or shredded coconut.  I wrapped them up in cute little glass jars with holiday-themed ribbon and tags with every intention to give them away as gifts.  Yet, when the time came to relinquish one to my mother, it was as if I had morphed into Smeagol from Lord of the Rings…she almost had to pry the jar from my chocolatey-stained fingers and the only words that could escape my lips were, “my precious…”

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The best part about these tiny tasty little guys? NO BAKING REQUIRED. Chocolate lovahs, rejoice. When they’re done, stick ’em in the refrigerator.

Macaroon Chocolate Drops

Makes about 40 medium size truffles, ~100 calories each

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 4 T honey (can also use agave nectar or pure Maple Syrup)
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream (can also use the creamy top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed candy cane, or toasted walnuts for rolling
  1. If you’re using nuts to roll some of your drops in (why did that sound soo wrong?) then you’re going to want to toast them first. Spread out about 3/4 cup raw walnuts on a piece of foil and place in the toaster on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes! You can also toast them in the oven on a cookie sheet at about 400 degrees. Keep checking them and stirring until they begin to take on a light brown color and left off a toasted aroma.  They can burn in an instant, so as soon as they begin to change color, they’re probz done.
  2. Back to the macaroon chocolate drops, grab a medium sized saucepan, place it on the stove, and pour all the chocolate chips in it over a very low setting.  Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and gooey.
  3. Stir in the coconut cream and whisk until all the lumps are gone.
  4. Add in the honey, cinnamon, salt, and va-va-vanilla.  Stir until a creamy consistency.
  5. When it’s nice and smooth, pour into a bowl and place in the freezer for 45 minutes.  Then stir with a spoon and transfer the bowl to the fridge.  This “dough” can sit there overnight but if you’re as impatient as I am (there is chocolate involved here, people) then it should be good to go in about 2-3 hours. I know, I know…still an excruciatingly long time to wait…I fully condone eating spoonfuls as “testers” while it’s firming up.
  6. Roll the dough into small lil balls and then pick whatever you want your chocolatey truffles to be rolled in.  I used shredded coconut, toasted walnuts, crushed candy canes, and cocoa powder.  *HINT* Cocoa powder is by the far the easiest one to roll the truffles in.  But hell, it’s the holidays; go to town…try mini chocolate chips or minced up marshmallows. Store these in the fridge!  They should keep for at least a couple weeks.