Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Shortbread Cookies

Guess what, y’all? Last Saturday, NYC raised $4644 for Peace Winds America/Japan in our Bake Sale for Japan! And the Bake Sales across the nation have raised over $120,000! I wasn’t as involved as I wish I could have been, but I hope my shortbread cookies helped raise a tiny sum towards this awesome amount. Another BIG thank you goes out to Lillian from Sweets by Sillianah and Celia from Cookbook Archaeology for coordinating a wonderfully run bake sale.

Check out their posts for pictures and details of the sale at Brooklyn Flea.

For the bake sale, I chose to make matcha, azuki, and kurogoma shortbread cookies because they are all prominent Japanese flavors that I love working with. Matcha, azuki, and kurogoma are simply the Japanese terms for green tea, red bean, and black sesame. I’ve made all varieties of the cookies before, but the kurogoma shortbread cookie happens to be one of those recipes I never got around to posting. Until now, that is.

The ingredients I used to flavor the shortbread cookies: black sesame paste, sweetened red bean paste, and green tea powder (tried out a new green tea product – not bad!).

And here are the wrapped shortbread cookies!

Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Shortbread Cookies
adapted from previous recipe

1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup black sesame paste

1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
2. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt to butter mixture, until flour mixture is incorporated into the dough. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
3. Fold in black sesame paste.
4. Transfer the dough to a gallon-size plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and using a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Roll carefully, making sure not to leave creases in the dough. Seal the bag after rolling into proper size and press out as much air as possible. Place in freezer for about 30 minutes, up to 2 days.
5. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
6. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one four times with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Yields 20 cookies.