The first (and only) time I had warabi mochi, it was still warm. Small scoops on a plate, still jelly-like and delicate, covered with a generous pile of kinako. The kinako was powdery, lightly sweet and wonderfully toasty.
Two things to take away: first, there is a world beyond what I know of mochi, and second, it can be important and eyeopening to eat mochi freshly made, and let’s add a last one: kinako.
Lovely, lovely kinako. Roasted soybean flour, a bit peanut buttery but better (but I am biased because I don’t really like peanut butter that much). And just how often are interesting ingredients in powdered form? It’s so liberating! There are so many possibilities which don’t require messy steps like infusing your milk or butter or making doubtful substitutions and loose purees which make your batters go strange and bake up oddly. It’s not overly acidic or overly sweet either.
Gosh, the last time something this great happened was cocoa powder. Here is one application of kinako, though unforunately not a fabulous one. Either I have been chronically overbaking these cookies (both batches!) or there is just something about ground sesame versus other ground nuts. I’ve loved the flavours–they are warm and heavily toasted and rich–but the cookies themselves have been so very very dry, which is only exacerbated by all the powdery coating.
These cookies are based off of whatever you like to call them: Mexican wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, I used to call them snowball cookies (though now they’re more like dirtball cookies). They are usually tender and coated in powdered sugar which somehow condenses into this sweet and slightly moist coating around the cookie.
In this variation, the nuts have become black sesame and I’ve used kinako for the coating.
The kinako helps keep the sweetness down of a cookie rolled in sugar, though the 1:1 is still quite sweet, enough to complement a bitter tea. I would consider, for those of you with less of a sweet tooth, rolling only in kinako.
These cookies go very nicely with some green tea. In fact, I would highly recommend the tea, if only to mitigate choking hazard.black sesame and kinako cookies
I think they taste very good, but they are also very dry. Adapted from Epicurious. Makes around 20-24 cookies.
110 g butter at room temperature
24 g powdered sugar
72 g all-purpose flour
65 g whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
25 g ground and toasted black sesame
additional powdered sugar
kinako (roasted soybean powder)
Cream the butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk together the flours, salt and 24 g powdered sugar and add, in three additions, to the butter. Lastly, mix in the black sesame. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill completely, a couple hours or so.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F. Take a walnut- to hazelnut-sized pieces of dough and roll into small spheres. Place on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and just about firm.
Sift together an equal quantity of kinako and powdered sugar into a shallow dish to coat the cookies.
Let cookies cool couple minutes before rolling until coated in the kinako-powdered sugar mixture. Place on a wire rack, let cool completely and roll in the coating once more.