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Paper Bird's black sesame, brown butter and wattleseed cookies

Paper Bird's pastry chef Yu-ching Lee shares her recipe for these super-nutty biscuits.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus chilling
  • Serves 18
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"Black sesame adds a dramatic look to these cookies, with brown butter and wattleseed bringing a further nutty note," says Paperbird's pasty chef Yu-ching Lee. "If you can't find wattleseed, just leave it out."


  • 80 gm black sesame seeds, plus extra (about 70gm) to coat
  • Small pinch of white sesame seeds
  • 120 gm unsalted butter
  • 100 gm brown sugar
  • 60 gm caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 180 gm black sesame paste or black tahini (see note)
  • 170 gm plain flour
  • 2½ tsp ground wattleseed (optional; see note)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda


  • 1
    Dry-roast black sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, tossing, until fragrant (3-4 minutes; see cook's notes p168). Cool, then grind in a spice grinder until finely ground, but not clumping together.
  • 2
    Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming and nut brown (4-5 minutes). Strain through a very fine metal sieve (discard solids) into a bowl. Whisk in sugars to combine, then whisk in egg and then the black sesame paste. Fold in flour, wattleseed, bicarbonate of soda, ground black sesame and ½ tsp sea salt flakes. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours to rest.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 2 large oven trays with baking paper and place white and extra black sesame seeds in a bowl. Roll dough into 18 balls (2 tbsp each), then flatten each ball slightly and coat in sesame seeds. Place on prepared trays, leaving about 4cm between each. Bake, one tray at a time, until cookies start to feel slightly firm at the edges (16-18 minutes). Cool to room temperature on trays. Cookies will keep for a week in an airtight container.


Black sesame paste is available from select health-food stores. Ground wattleseed is available from The Essential Ingredient, Herbie's Spices and