Sesame-Brown Sugar Shortbreads

This lovely cookie is as simple and appealing as its name. Be sure to get untoasted sesame seeds that are blonde, fat, and fresh-tasting. The best place to buy them is usually a natural food store.

For a happy trick, sprinkle some black sesame seeds in addition to the white over a portion of the dough. This will give you two different cookie looks for the labor of just one.


  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly.
  2. Dust a large piece of parchment paper with flour. Place the dough on top and roll out to an 11- by 9-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick.
  3. Dip a large pastry brush in water and brush over the cookie dough. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, evenly covering the entire surface of the dough. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Move an oven rack to the middle position. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into nine 1-inch strips. Cut each strip into 1½-inch-long pieces; place them ½ inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. One sheet at a time, bake the cookies until the edges are lightly golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets set on wire racks.