Quick show of hands, who’s with me on this: if I eat something sweet it makes me want something salty and if I eat something savoury I want to chase it with something sweet. Salted caramel was almost surely invented by and for people just like me.
So when I read about these cookies I freaked out, saved the recipe… and promptly moved on to something else, like my eternal backlog of laundry or where that noise is coming from/the location of the cat. Seriously, I have sieves that can be more useful in the information retention department than my brain.
What finally brought me round was one of my regular moments of fussiness: I definitely wanted cookies. Definitely. But not just any cookies – oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, chocolate… these were not on the agenda, and chocolate chip wasn’t quite going to do it. When it’s hot out (which it was at the time), my sweets need to be ice-cold or offset by a salty edge, and so these beauties emerged from my Absurdly Massive File of Recipes I Meant to Try a Few Years Ago But Eh.
I’m so glad they did. Particularly as, typical of American recipes, this produced at least twice as much cookie dough as I was prepared to deal with, so I ended up with over a dozen cookies to share with pals, and a great wodge of dough to freeze for the next time I want to bake-but-not-make some sweet/savoury treats.
These babies come together the way most cookies do: mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately, then mixing those mixes together, folding in the extras, chilling, rolling, baking… shoving into your gob with all the graceful abandon of Cookie Monster. I like to think there’s a bit of him in all of us.
(I’m so… so sorry. My food-related puns get weirder every day.)
A few notes about the ‘scary’ ingredients:
1. The darker the soy sauce the better – I promise it’s not going to overpower anything, it’s there to add a whiff of umami. Besides, chocolate, butter and sugar can stand up to a lot.
2. Black sesame seeds really make these. It shouldn’t be too hard to track some down – after buying them for years from the ‘international’ aisle of the supermarket, low down in the sushi-making section, in a tiny, extortionate shaker, I recently ducked into a small Chinese grocery in a yep-it’s-still-crappy bit of Hackney on a whim and at the back, in with lots of other spices and extras like crispy onion bits, they had massive bags of the stuff for a quid each. I was so happy I didn’t even mind the two women at the till who both looked at me like I was crazed and dangerous when I presented myself with an armload of black sesame and a dazed expression of joy on my face.
Worst case: you can find em online.
Oh, and –
3. Keep the chocolate chunks/chips dark. I think milk chocolate is a bit of a go-to for some bakers, but trust me on this, plain chocolate and black sesame are a match made in umami heaven.
Okay, that’s me done bossing you.
Apart from the tip that I’m sure I’ve subtly bludgeoned you with before, about chilling the dough between batches so the dough balls behave the same on each bake. It would be sad for your first round to come out looking like cookies and the third to emerge as singed, bespeckled puddles.
And you don’t need to stress about perfectly, thoroughly coating each cookie dough ball in seeds. Look how pretty they turn out when rolled a bit haphazardly:
So now I think all that’s left to do is slide the recipe your way and let you have at it.
It’s my adaptation of a recipe by none other than Joy the Baker, a source of much B+A inspiration. Her flavour combos – and taste in cats, tbh – are right up my proverbial street, and these cookies are a prime example. Of her palate, not her pet. Obviously.
Bake em, eat em, bring a box of em round to someone you dig and then maybe lick the crumbs off each other’s faces. Maybe. What you get up to with your baked goods is so none of my business.
And I think we can agree it’s better that way.
Have a cookie.