Toasted Sesame Biscuits

Preparation info

  • Makes

    5 dozen

    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Cookie Lover's Cookie Book

The Cookie Lover's Cookie Book

By Richard Sax

Published 1986

  • About

These are a hybrid—a combination of old South Carolina recipes for benne (sesame seed) cookies, and Italian sesame-coated biscuits. A crisp but tender biscuit, baked to a pale gold, with the haunting, toasty flavor of Oriental sesame oil. Try them with espresso or tea. These biscuits improve in flavor as they keep.


  • cups sesame seeds (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil (optional) (available in Oriental and specialty groceries; do not substitute clear sesame oil)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the sesame seeds on a jelly roll pan and toast until lightly golden, stirring once or twice to toast evenly, about 10 minutes. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Set aside to cool; increase the oven heat to 350°F. Butter three baking sheets (or sheets of aluminum foil); set aside.
    2. Place the remaining ingredients in an electric mixer bowl: the flour, baking powder, salt, brown and white sugars, butter, eggs, egg yolks, sesame oil, and vanilla. Add 1½ cups of the toasted sesame seeds and mix at medium-low speed just until the dough comes together. Let the dough stand at cool room temperature for about 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
    3. Place the remaining sesame seeds in a cake or pie pan. Measure a level tablespoon of the dough, drop it into the pan of sesame seeds, and gently turn the dough over to coat with seeds while you shape it into a 2-inch oval “log’ with tapered ends. Gently place the cookie on the baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart.
    4. Bake until lightly golden, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies improve on standing, and can be stored and mailed very well.