Inspired by Italian Florentine cookies, sesame lace cookies are nice and thin with a buttery toffee flavor. These cookies come together in a pinch for stress-free holiday baking!
This cookie was born from my desire to make Christmas simple AF this year. As much as I love the idea of being a Martha Stewart-esque hostess with a perfectly decorated home and flawless sugar cookies on the counter at all times, it’s just not my reality now or probably ever. Moving and house projects have taken the flame out of my desire. And then I decided I really didn’t need a bunch of cookies sitting around considering I need to fit in my wedding dress in the near-ish future.
BUT THEN, I decided life is short, and I am now in the process of testing three different cookie recipes. C’est la vie or something like that?
Anyways, long story short, now we have sesame lace cookies!
A super easy holiday cookie situation
Luckily, at some point, I came across lace cookies in one of my grandma’s old Lutheran cookbooks. Apparently, Midwest Norwegians make them with oatmeal, but Florentine/lace cookies actually originate from Italy. After digging deeper, I realized that these cookies are basically just toffee with nuts and chocolate, a.k.a. one of my favorite things ever. Usually, they are made with almonds, but since Marc is allergic, I decided to go with one of his all-time favorite ingredients: sesame seeds!
I’m actually beyond glad that I took this route because sesame seeds are it. These cookies are buttery and brown sugary with a toffee-like crunch. The sesame seeds add a nutty, yet earthy flavor, and we finish them off with rich dark chocolate. Beyond delicious.
I also like to leave a few without chocolate, because the nuttiness of the seeds with the caramelized cookie is just too good. I really could eat a million of these things.
Ingredients you’ll need
Not only are these cookies super easy, but they also require basic ingredients:
- Sesame Seeds – You’ll need about a cup, so I like to get them from the bulk section of my grocery store. You can also buy in bulk online. I like to use a mix of black and white, but one or the other will work too.
- All-purpose flour – Gluten-free would also work!
- Salt – Basic table salt.
- White Sugar and Brown Sugar – The brown sugar adds a little more caramel-y flavor, but all white sugar works too.
- Heavy Cream – I have also had success with whole milk.
- Honey – Maple syrup or light corn syrup are other popular choices. But, I like how the honey complements the sesame seeds.
- Unsalted butter – No need to soften.
- Vanilla extract – Always
- Chocolate – I like dark, but milk or even white chocolate would be good too!
Let’s make them!
Like I said earlier, sesame lace cookies come together in a pinch. You won’t need anything fancy to make these cuties, although you will need to let them cool a bit in-between batches. I would recommend having two sheet pans ready, so you can have cookies baking while others are cooling!
Step One: Combine!
In a medium bowl, stir together the sesame seeds, flour, and salt.
In a small saucepan, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, honey, and unsalted butter. Heat the mixture over medium, and make sure you stir frequently to prevent burning! Let the mixture come to a boil for 2 minutes, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. It will bubble up. Then, mix the wet and dry ingredients together and let the batter sit for about 10 minutes!
Step Two: Bake & Cool
Next, you’ll scoop the cookies onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 350°F for about 8-9 minutes. The cookies are done when they are no longer bubbling and are browned (but not burnt!)
Let the cookies cool for about 5-6 minutes on the sheet pan, until they are cool enough to handle. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step Three: Chocolate!
Once the cookies are cooled, spread melted chocolate all over the bottoms. Lay them chocolate-side up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then, use the tines of a fork to create a wavy pattern on the bottom.
Alternatively, you can place the cookies chocolate-side down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and little drops of chocolate will seep through the holes in the cookies. Either way looks super cute!
Pro tip: Hold the cookies in the palm of your hand, and very gently spread the chocolate. If you press too hard, they will crack!
Storing the Cookies
To store the sesame lace cookies, simply layer them in an airtight container with parchment paper in-between each layer. They will stick and crack if you don’t use parchment paper between the cookies. Keep them at room-temperature out of the sun to prevent the chocolate from melting. Don’t store them in the fridge, or the moisture will make the cookies lose their crispiness.
One of my favorite things about these cookies is that they last 5ever. Since they’re more candy than cookie, they last weeks in the pantry as long as you store them correctly. I have some that are a couple of weeks old, and they still taste fresh and delicious!
Other flavor options
These cookies are very easy to customize, so you have a lot of options here! If you’re not into sesame seeds, any nut or seed will work. Just pulse them in a food processor or chop them until they are sesame-seed sized (a little bigger is fine). This will also work if you want to do a mix of nuts and seeds!
If you don’t want an intense chocolate flavor, you could also drizzle the cookies with chocolate. You will only need about half of what the recipe calls for if you go this route. Or, you can make little cookie sandwiches! Just spread chocolate on one side of half the cookies, and sandwich the remaining cookies on top.
Lastly, these cookies are great with spices! Add a little cinnamon, citrus zest, or whatever else you’re into. Make them your own!
More holiday cookies to try out!
Sesame Lace Cookies
- 1 c sesame seeds white, black, or a mix of both
- 1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c white sugar
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 2 tbs heavy cream
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/3 c unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz dark chocolate chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together sesame seeds, flour, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, honey, and unsalted butter. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Let boil for 2 minutes, until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The mixture will bubble.
- Pour the butter-sugar mixture over the sesame mixture, using a rubber spatula to fold everything together. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Scoop the sesame cookie dough using a standard .75oz cookie scoop or spoon. (For smaller cookies, use a teaspoon). Space the cookies about 3 inches apart, because they will spread significantly.
- Bake on the center rack of your oven for 8-9 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the mixture is no longer bubbling and the cookies are a caramel-y golden brown.
- Let the cookies cool for 5-6 minutes on the sheet pan, or until they are stiff and slightly cooled. Using a thin spatula or butter knife, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie batter.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. Add a couple of inches of water to a pot and bring to a simmer. Pour the chopped chocolate into another similar-sized pot or heatproof bowl, and place over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate until smooth and completely melted. Alternatively, you can microwave the chocolate in a heatproof bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in-between, until melted. Let the melted chocolate cool for a few minutes.
- With a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread about half a Tablespoon of melted chocolate on the bottom of each cookie. Place the cookies chocolate-side up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and use the tines of a fork to create a wavy decoration. Alternatively, you can place the cookies chocolate-side down on a parchment-lined sheet so the chocolate seeps through the holes of the cookies. Let the chocolate set completely.
- Place the cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper in-between each layer. Leave at room-temperature to prevent the chocolate from melting. Cookies will last for several weeks.