Black Sesame Cookies

I started getting gray hair when I was 12, and now at 24 I’m about a quarter gray.  I am lucky to have a mother who’s a hairstylist that dyes my hair to hide my secrets, she is worried I will go completely gray before her.  The time a person develops gray hair is dependent on your genes, but my mother is convinced it’s because I have a deficiency in my body.  So for years she made me eat black sesame seeds claiming it would restore pigment into my hair.  Going back home this time around she gave me another tub of ground sesame seeds “You don’t forget to eat hei zi ma (black sesame seeds) it is good for grey hair!” I never argue with my mother, I hear they know best :)

Granted, black sesame seeds don’t seem to have slowed down my gray hair production it does have a lot of healthy nutritional benefits.  They are high in many minerals like iron magnesium and calcium which help promote bone and joint strength.  In Chinese medicine, black sesame is used to promote health to the kidney and liver, and to treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements! T.M.I.? Perhaps…but you’ll be thanking me when these cookies make you regular :)

Ingredients for Black Sesame Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cup black sesame seeds, ground

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, beat shortening and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  beat in vanilla and egg.  In another bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly incorporate dry mixture with wet mixture, be careful not to over beat the batter or it will change the texture of the cookie.  Dump in the ground sesame and mix until evenly dispersed throughout cookie dough.  Drop tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11-13 for crisp cookies.  Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack.  Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Total Cooking Time: 20-23 minutes

Who says cookies aren’t good for you?  These are also a great recipe for vegans, I have recently switched to vegetable shortening instead of butter because it contains less saturated fat than butter does.  It also increases the shelf life for cookies and it does not need to be refrigerated.  In the past, vegetable shortening has gotten criticism for containing trans fat but there are a lot of products out there that do not contain trans fat like Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening Sticks.  I also felt it gave my cookie a much lighter and crumb-ly texture than usual — I like it!


  1. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I used to eat a lot of black sesame paste dessert because my mom told me it’ll keep my hair dark :)

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      haha you cant help but love all the lessons our asian mothers have taught us :)

  2. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    hmmm i know someone real close to me that can benefit from these right now.Where could i go get black sesame from?

    • Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I am pretty sure you can find black sesame seeds in any grocery market in chinatown, it usually is with the “dry goods” aisle. I just took the seeds and stuck them in a food processor to grind them up into a fine paste.

  3. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    You’re not alone Joy, I have grey hair too since I was in high school and it’s been multiplying ever since. Someone just told me before that am I too young to hair grey hair. :D I used to take ground black sesame seeds with water and honey. And I also gave this to my father before at the hospital along with other bowel movement regulator. :D I love black sesame seeds and since we share the same sentiment, better do these cookies and enjoy them as well.

    • Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Hahaha thanks Divina! I am glad I’m not alone, I use to tell my friends I had more grays than them because it meant I was “wiser” :) I hope you enjoy these cookies!

  4. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Those cookies look very different and scrumptious!

  5. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I have never had black sesame seeds, I will look for some and make these cookie, maybe it what the saying is true it will my hair stay black as I grow old :) Thanks for sharing this, Joy !

    • Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Hahaha thanks Olive, my mom definitely has less gray hair than I do so that’s why I started to listen to her advice hahahaha may these cookies make your hair stay black forever :)

  6. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey there! I have an award for you at my site. Come and collect it!

  7. Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    Oh I love you for this recipe!! I am so excited to try this!!

  8. Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Sesame seeds are very nutritious and so fragrant. I love them. I seldom use black sesame seeds but this looks too good not to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Thanks Mary! I agree I love how fragrant black sesame seeds are :)

  9. Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I really love the flavour of black sesame seeds, must add this in my to do list. Looks so delicious.

  10. Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Cookies that keep you regular, what a great concept. I eat cookies, therefore I’m regular…I like it.

    • Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      HAHAHA I’m glad someone appreciates my lame attempts at making jokes :)

    • Posted 3 Dec ’09 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes I sure do, thanks for keeping me smiling.

  11. Posted 8 Dec ’09 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I kind of like the gray strands, I like to think that I’ve earned them.

    • Posted 8 Dec ’09 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree Christine .. I think my gray hair has always bothered my mother more than myself. She always says “AIYA you are so old!” and out she appears with a bucket of hair dye hahaha

  12. Posted 11 Dec ’09 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Joy, these cookies are awesome! I’ve been keeping the recipe for a very long time and still under the list. Too many waiting for trying out! hehe… Very greedy LOL! I’m already 40! So, grey hair doesn’t really bother me much. I would dye occasionally though! haha…

  13. Posted 25 Jan ’10 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    id love to make these at home but im gonna ask a Q i havent dared to ask anyone yet (incase my ignorance may come off as ridiculous!) but is black sesame the same as nigella seeds?? i have tons of nigella seeds and black sesame is difficult to find here in paris… thx in advance for your reply :)

    • Posted 28 Jan ’10 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Marianna there is no such thing as a ridiculous question! Nigella seeds is actually common in Indian cuisine — it is otherwise known as “Black Onion Seed”. It is indeed different from black sesame seeds — perhaps you could find regular sesame seeds as a substitute? Hope this helps :)

  14. Posted 26 Jan ’10 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    These look so interesting I’m gonna have to give them a try since I love the flavor of black sesames! About a month ago, I made black sesame macarons and those were delicious

    • Posted 28 Jan ’10 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Black sesame macarons huh?? THAT sounds AMAZING!! Do you have the recipe on your blog?

  15. Posted 26 Jan ’10 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Black sesame cookies sound really good! I like to use black sesame flavour in treats.

    • Posted 28 Jan ’10 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Kevin! I have to agree with you, black sesame has a great flavor in desserts I also love them ground into a sweet paste and then rolled in rice flour served with a sweet broth…mmm yum!

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