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Archive for December, 2015

Black Sesame Shortbread

Black Sesame Shortbread

2015 marks the fourth year that I’ve participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! … and the first year that I couldn’t get the darn post written by the deadline. Oops.

Not to worry – I definitely got the cookies made and shipped with time to spare, and I’m happy to say that Rebecca of Displaced Housewife, Elizabeth of It’s Good to be the Cook, and Sara of Confectionary Tales of a Bakeaholic all received packages of cookies from me right on time.

It’s just that awesome things and crappy things and just plain life happened a bit more than usual, and then Lightroom broke so we couldn’t even process the photos until we figured out how to get that fixed, and the cookie swap posting deadline came and went and I decided that the posts will happen when they happen (because, yes, as usual I definitely made more than one type of cookie to send) and it’s not worth stressing like crazy about.



These Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies were the first of four different types of cookies I sent. They’re nutty, and fragrant from the orange zest, and oh so snackable especially when you make them small (mine were quarter-sized). Of the four types of cookies I made, these were my mom’s favorite.

Black Sesame Shortbread with Orange Zest

Recipe from SugarHero!


  • 12 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • zest from 1 large orange
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/8 oz (1/4 cup) black sesame seeds

Cooking Directions

  1. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl on medium-low speed just until the sugar is incorporated and the butter is smooth. Add the cardamom, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until only a few flour streaks remain. Mix in the black sesame seeds with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl and making sure the seeds are well-distributed.
  2. Scrape the cookie dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a disc, and wrap it tightly. Put the dough on a flat tray then refrigerate it until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  3. Once firm, preheat the oven to 350°F, and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and keep the half you’re not working with well-wrapped in the refrigerator. Roll out the remaining half between two sheets of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper, until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut shapes out of the dough, or cut it into squares with a sharp knife. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets. The cookies wonโ€™t spread very much while baking, so you donโ€™t need to leave too much room between them. When youโ€™ve cut out all the cookies you can, press the dough together, re-roll it, and return it to the refrigerator to chill while the first batch bakes.
  4. Bake the cookies at 350°F for about 12 minutes, until the edges are very slightly colored. Remove the tray from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Repeat for the second half of the dough. Let cool completely.
  6. Enjoy!

Weekly Wanderings {week 44}

The most delicious pineapple tarts, from my Food52 Secret Swap partner.

Food52 Secret Swap

A wonderfully delicious lavender vegan doughnut from a lovely friend.

Lavender doughnut

When you want popcorn but you don’t want to get your hands dirty… ๐Ÿ˜€ **also works for Cheetos

Eating popcorn with chopsticks


Links I’ve loved lately:

I <3 used bookstores.


Things I want to eat:

Something similar to this pistachio nougat is popular in Vietnam, so I’m definitely going to have to make this for Son’s family one of these days.

This is my kind of fudge!

Been kind of obsessed with eggplant lately, so I really want to try this Cantonese eggplant casserole.

Must try these molten lava black sesame mochi balls!

These vegan BBQ “pulled” carrot sandwiches sound intriguing.

Don’t these gingerbread pancakes with salted treacle butter sound amazing?


Weekly Wanderings {week 43}

Store-bought clam chowder, doctored with bacon and dill. Deeelish.

Clam chowder

Mismatch, and penguin pjs. I’m stylish like that.

Mismatching socks

My brother wins the award for best present-wrapping job ever.

Best gift wrapping ever

A vegan mac n’ cheese I made for our Christmas celebration, loosely based on this recipe. Quite tasty!

Vegan mac n' cheese

I always appreciate a good pun. ๐Ÿ˜€

Bad holiday jokes

I love looking at everyone’s Christmas light displays this time of year.

Star Wars display


Things I want to eat:

Veganness aside, doesn’t this butternut squash carbonara look amazing?!

I got these key lime sparkle cookies as part of this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and OMG are they so good. Definitely one of my favorite cookies I’ve ever received!


Weekly Wanderings {week 42}

This is how I roll.

Egg roll

Mochi mochi mochi (mochi!)


Now that’s what I’m (breakfast) taco-ing about.

Breakfast tacos

Drip… drop… on a very foggy night.

Foggy nights

Comfort food. I will never say no to curry udon, especially in the middle of winter.

Curry udon from Kagura

Also, black sesame ice cream. Even in the middle of winter.

Black sesame ice cream

It’s that time of the year… Nutcracker season! I do miss being on the other side of the curtain, though.


Post-Nutcracker noms – Roscoe’s chicken and waffles!


Went on a run, stopped to watch the local holiday parade.

Watching the holiday parade before our run

When we run, we like to explore our city every now and then. This time, we found a cool wall.

Found a pretty wall out on our run

Our runs end up at Five Guys more often than I’d like to admit. ๐Ÿ˜€

Five Guys burger and fries


Links I’ve loved lately:

Beautiful writing.


Things I want to eat:

I’m intrigued by the idea of this black sesame soup.

Totally want to try these dark chocolate coconut cups.

And peppermint mochi sounds so tasty!

I wouldn’t mind some sesame in my brownies

The ooey gooeyness of these chocolate peanut butter bars just looks so good.

Cake for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do!

My family loooooves those chocolate oranges, so these chocolate orange cheesecake bars would be a hit!

Kinpara gobo is one of those things I love, but never quite learned to make. It’s time!


Weekly Wanderings {week 41}

Found a monarch butterfly hanging out on the front walk of our soon-to-be new house. That’s a good sign, right?

Monarch butterfly

Looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.


Beach sunset.


Cookie swap time! Totally addicted to these key lime cookies that I got from Lisa.

Key lime cookies

Tasty chocolate chia pistachio cookies from Teresa.

Chocolate chia pistachio cookies

Amazingly delicious tonkatsu gozen from Kagura.

Tonkatsu gozen from Kagura

Bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew)

Bo kho

All sorts of footprints in the sand.



Links I’ve loved lately:

I love a good pun.


Things I want to eat:

These black sesame buttermilk tartlettes are so pretty (and sound so tasty!)

This oyster gumbo pot pie sounds like the sort of thing Son would LOVE.

Such cute pumpkin mochi!

I love those cranberry hazelnut crisps, but they’re so expensive! Time to learn to make them at home.

Yes to chashu, always.

I really want to make popovers one of these days.