These started out as a lemon poppy seed cookie: crunchy, lemony and addictive. I originally made them to be used as a sandwich cookie with a cream cheese lemon filling. They never made it to that stage as I watched people sitting in my kitchen, unable to stop eating these, just as they were. When I went to make them for this party, I found that my poppy seeds had gone bad but I had a stash of black sesame seeds that were fresh and aromatic.
Both poppy seeds and sesame seeds get rancid quickly, so it’s important to buy them from a vendor who sells really fresh ingredients and store them in your refrigerator or freezer. Taste them before you start this recipe: If they have an oily rancid taste, toss them.
These two seeds have very different flavor profiles. I think the black sesame seeds create a more sophisticated, slightly exotic cookie; but poppy seeds also result in a great cookie.
These cookies are deceptive. They look kind of plain, even unexciting, but the combination of lemon zest, lemon extract, and seeds make these a keeper. Also, the recipe makes a large amount and, carefully wrapped, they freeze well. —At Home with Friends
2 1/4 cups
all purpose flour
(2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Using a stand or hand held mixer, cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add in egg, sesame seeds, lemon zest and both extracts. Mix until well combined.
Add dry ingredients in 3 stages, mixing well after each addition.
Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in two and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill several hours or several days.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll out disks one at a time on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. If dough won’t roll, allow it to warm slightly a few minutes. Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on parchment lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Gather scraps and re-roll.
Chill cookies on baking sheets 15 minutes.
Bake until edges begin to color, approximately 18 minutes. Rotate baking sheets front to back and top to bottom, halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets 5 minutes and then transfer to racks and cool completely.
Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks or, carefully wrapped, frozen up to 1 month.