Monday 10 July 2017

Chocolate sesame sandwich cookies

These Ottolenghi chocolate sesame sandwich cookies are far more fancy than my usual cookies (aka biscuits). But when you are invited to a high tea for book club, it calls for something a bit ooh la la.  I had seen these biscuits made by Cindy recently and was intrigued.  They were a little different to my expectations but nevertheless amazing.

I hadn't really figured out what to make for the high tea until I saw Cindy's biscuits.  Then I had to have these, even though they looked like a lot of work and I had a family lunch before book club.  High tea requires some effort, though it must look like a breeze.

I was glad to have Cindy's comments on the method, especially the advice to chill the cookie mixture before cooking.  While I loved these biscuits, I was a bit unsure if this was how they were intended and have as many questions as comments about them.

Chilling the mixture meant I was baking biscuits as well as mixing the fillings after putting Sylvia down to sleep in the evening.  The Ottolenghi recipe is for yo-yos.  I am quite familiar with yo-yo biscuits which are crisp and short and buttery.  These chocolate sesame biscuits were quite soft.  I wasn't sure if this was intended or if they needed more time because I had chilled the mixture.  I also had an instinct to press down on the biscuits to flatten them slightly like my mum does with yo yos (even if the mixture was too soft to do it with a fork).  I am not sure whether Ottolenghi meant them to be round or flatter.

I do know that Ottolenghi intended for these to use 70% dark chocolate.  I had thought I had dark choc chips but got home and found we only had 100g of 70% dark chocolate in a block and a bag of milk choc chips.  So I fiddled with the ganache by adding cocoa and a bit of salt to make the ganache darker.  It was a bit cheeky but I was too tired to go out to the shops again. And it seemed to work.

My next question:.  Does a mixture of marscapone, tahini and sugar taste like cheesecake to anyone?  Not to me.  I am not very familiar with marscapone but it tastes to me like a thickened cream.  And I am not that fond of cream.  Ottolenghi calls it cheesecake mixture but it is tahini cream to me.  I have wondered what it would be like with cream cheese instead of marscapone.  However, the tahini cream worked brilliantly so I am not going to quibble too much about nomenclature.

I was up early in the morning to sandwich together the cookies before going to Geelong for lunch.  I had all the components prepared so it was pretty easy as a make ahead sweet.  Sylvia "helped" me test how they stood up to a lot of pressure once the fillings were in and I can tell you that this is not advised.  A small child's hand pressed hard on the biscuit made the fillings ooze out the side.  Best to sandwich them together gently.

I had thought that I would be able to take a few biscuits down to the family lunch at Geelong but I only got 10 biscuits.  (Next time I will make them smaller.)  Instead they stayed at home, ready to be grabbed as I ran in the door and out again to book club after my family lunch.

The table at book club was set beautifully with floral tablecloth, vintage crockery, finger sandwiches, strawberries, chocolate caramel slice, lemon tart, polenta and lemon bites, chocolates, a pot of tea and pink champagne.  With some good company and occasional discussion of our book, it was a very pleasant way to while away the afternoon.  Everyone seemed to like the biscuits, though they were rather large considering all the food on offer.  I was amused that there were references to them looking like sliders or hamburgers.

The biscuits were indeed so so good.  I really love the chocolate tahini flavour combination.  These were different because the biscuits were very seedy as well as having a sesame flavour.  They were nice with just chocolate ganache (as Sylvia did in a tester one) but the tahini cream took them to another level with just enough creaminess and sweetness to achieve biscuit nirvana.  I love the bringing together of two different fillings and would love to experiment further.

I am sending these biscuits/cookies to Treat Petite at The Baking Explorer and We Should Cocoa at Tin and Thyme.

More fancy biscuits (cookies) on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate and black tahini cut out biscuits (v)
Chocolate chip cookies with smoked almonds and cacao nibs (v)
Chocolate walnut thumbprint biscuits (v)
Orange and rose petal biscuits
Walnut and quince thumbprint cookies (v)

Chocolate-sesame sandwich cookies
From a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe in The Guardian via Where's the Beef
Makes 12 sandwich cookies

Ganache filling*:
70g dark chocolate, chopped*
25g butter
75ml double cream

80g sesame seeds
80g dark chocolate, chopped
60g plain flour
10g cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
70g butter, softened
50g brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Tahini cream filling:
130g mascarpone
40g tahini paste
25g icing sugar

Make Ganache Filling:
Melt all ingredients together and set aside to thicken.  I left mine in the fridge overnight and it was easy to spread the next morning.

Make Cookies:
Dry fry sesame seeds until golden brown.  Set aside to cool.  Melt chocolate and set aside.  Mix flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt with cooled sesame seeds.  Set aside.  Mix butter and sugar.  Stir in egg, vanilla and melted chocolate.  Gently mix with dry ingredients.  Chill in fridge for a couple of hours.  Scoop out 2 cm balls of dough onto lined try and bake for 6 minutes at 180 C.  Cool on tray for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

Make Tahini Cream Filling:
Mix all ingredients.  This is ready to use but can be stored in the fridge.

Match up cookies into the same shaped/sized pairs.  Spread a generous amount of chocolate ganache on the flat side of one cookie and the tahini cream onto the other side.  (Piping bags would make this neat but are not necessary.)  Press gently together so the ganache and cream meet.

Ottolenghi recommends 70% dark chocolate.  If like me, you find yourself having mistaken milk choc chips for dark, you can darken the ganache with 4-5 heaped tsp of Dutch cocoa and a pinch of salt.  

When I added the melted chocolate to the butter mixture it was starting to firm and set upon hitting the mixture - perhaps because my egg was too cold.  I had to chop at some of the hardened pieces of chocolate so they weren't too big.  Mixing in the melted chocolate might work better if a few spoonfuls of the butter mixture was added to the melted chocolate first.  

The mixture for the cookies is very soft and needs chilling to handle for shaping cookies and ensuring they don't spread too much.  

I used level tablespoonfuls of mixture for the cookies.  It was too much.  Probably half as much would be better.  I shaped the mixture which made better cookies, despite it still being soft and sticky for shaping.  

We had some ganache and tahini cream leftover - they were wonderful spread on fresh sourdough bread with the chocolate and tahini on the same piece of bread.

On the Stereo:
Remember us to life: Regina Spektor


  1. Hehe they do look like sliders I guess because of the sesame seeds!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - it never occurred to me until it was mentioned but the sesame seeds look quite unusual in a biscuit

  2. They are very fancy indeed! I can't see myself making anything this detailed for a while, but would love to try a spoon of the tahini spread if I get around to veganising an equivalent to use in less fancy ways :-)

    1. Thanks Kari - just in case you get a burst of energy (ha) here is my thoughts I had one how to veganise these and I think if you did a cashew cream for the chocolate and a vegan creamed cheese for the tahini cream and a flax egg it would work. I used an egg because I thought it would make the biscuits crisper but mine were not at all crisp so I am sure the flax egg would work (when I don't use eggs sometimes the texture misses the crispness and holding together but it would be fine here I think). Maybe next time I have a burst of energy myself I might try these veganised

  3. It sounds as though these went down a treat with your book club - definitely worth the effort :-)
    Angela x

  4. Oh, I'm chuffed that you gave these a shot! I agree about the tahini cream - completely lacking that cheesecake tang. I was disappointed when I tasted it on its own, but it works as part of the whole.

    1. Thanks Cindy - I think the tahini and chocolate combo drew me in - as well as the need for something special for bookclub - thanks for providing the recipe at the right time :-) I still want to try the tahini cream with cream cheese - would be interested in it in a vegan version

  5. Yes your offering is mighty compared to the other bite sized morsels. But i agree with you that High tea does require some effort and these are proper fancy, I don't know how lady like I would be chomping into one.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - indeed these aren't dainty enough for ladylike nibbling but I was glad I didn't have filling ooze out into my lap :-)

  6. What lovely looking biscuits! They are perfect for afternoon tea, and I'm intrigued by the flavours. Thanks for linking up to #TreatPetite

  7. These sound very unusual but also quite delicious! I have to say, I am a big mascarpone fan, but it does taste like very thick cream and is not very cheesy, so I like to eat it with chocolatey things..... x

  8. Sounds like a great flavour combo. I am pinning these to revisit!

  9. Oh, hats off to you for making these. I'm going to have to give them a try. Our local cafe (where the owner makes everything herself) sells these occasionally. I've only tried one, but it was amazing. Hers were much flatter though, so I suspect she didn't chill the mixture before baking. What a lovely offering to bring to afternoon tea. It sounds like an afternoon well spent. Thanks for sharing with #WeShouldCocoa.


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