These perfectly sweet, snappy crisps are the epitome of a Chinese cookie. Plenty crunchy, full of seeds, and just sweet enough. The sesame crisp is similar to a tuile cookie, or the base batter of a fortune cookie. (This is the closest we’re going to get to a fortune cookie.) You’ll find stacks and stacks of sesame cookies in Chinese bakeries. My cookies are essentially half sesame seeds, so if you aren’t a fan of sesame, skip this recipe.

The seeds are suspended in a thin batter of sugar, flour, butter, egg whites, and a hint of vanilla. It’s not a typical cookie-dough consistency; the desired “dough” texture is more like thick pancake batter. The melted butter helps the cookies spread into thin wafers. And the granulated sugar gives them their extra-crispy texture and essential snap!—Kristina Cho

Sesame Crisps FAQs

How can I store these sesame crisps?

Recipe tester Elizabeth Alvarez stored the cookies overnight wrapped in wax paper inside a tin. She reports they were crispy the next day and the flavor was even better. Alas, no cookies lasted until day three!

Do you recommend I use a silicone baking mat?

In this case, yes. The silicone baking mat distributes the heat more evenly, ensuring very thin crisps.

A stack of sesame crisps on a cutting board

Sesame Crisps

5 / 4 votes
These perfectly sweet, snappy crisps are the epitome of a Chinese cookie: plenty crunchy, full of seeds, and just sweet enough. The sesame crisp is similar to a tuile cookie, or the base batter of a fortune cookie.
David Leite
CourseSnacks
CuisineChinese
Servings12 crisps
Calories145 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Equipment

  • 1 Silicone baking mat

Ingredients 

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted black sesame seeds

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line two large rimmed baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites vigorously until light, foamy, and pale, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and whisk until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  • Add the flour and melted butter, whisking until combined. Stir in the sesame seeds and mix until the seeds are evenly dispersed in the batter. (The batter should be thin, like pancake batter.)
  • Using a 1 1/2-tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon, drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Fit six rounds per sheet; the cookies spread as they bake. Smack the baking sheets a few times on the counter to help flatten the cookies.
  • Bake one sheet at a time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the sheet to wire racks, and allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.
  • Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely (they will continue to crisp as they cool). Serve warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container (a resealable bag works great) at room temperature for up to 4 days, but the longer they sit, the more they lose their crisp texture.
Mooncakes and Milk Bread Cookbook

Adapted From

Mooncakes and Milk Bread

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 crispCalories: 145 kcalCarbohydrates: 12 gProtein: 3 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 10 mgSodium: 60 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Kristina Cho. Photo © 2021 Kristina Cho. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

My family really enjoyed these sesame crisps! Their crispness with extra texture from the sesame seeds made them taste heartier than expected, given how delicate they look. And the flavor balance was really nice as well. These cookies are not super sweet, and the vanilla and salt level accentuate the sesame flavor beautifully. This recipe was so simple to throw together and baked up beautifully. Later, on day two, I thought they tasted even better, with just as much snap and deep flavor as they did on day one.

A plate of three sesame crisps on a cutting board

I’m not usually a passionate baker, but these sesame crisps intrigued me, for the flavor and textural promise. They were faster and simpler to put together than I anticipated, and I love the interplay between a delicately sweet cookie and with the nutty richness of the sesame. I prefer most cookies with coffee for breakfast, though my next time trying these may be an afternoon snack with green or black tea since the tannins would work well with the sweetness. I’d also serve these to company with a good vanilla ice cream for dessert. Last, flavor aside, they happen to be gorgeous, too!

This is an unusual, not-too-sweet, delightful cookie-crisp. I followed the recipe closely, beating the egg whites until frothy, then incorporating the sugar until dissolved (another full minute with the whisk). The first batch of cookies were in the oven in less than 15 minutes, and they baked for exactly 14 minutes. Because I have a small oven, I decided to use a scant tablespoon of batter, which yielded 20 cookies. I stored the cookies overnight wrapped in wax paper in a tin. They were crispy the second day, and the flavor was even better. No cookies lasted until day three.

This is my kind of cookie—not too sweet, with a good amount of protein, and made in a single bowl. One family member asked whether it was a savory cookie to eat with cheese even as he scarfed down his third and a fourth was in his hand. Two others in the family each had one bite and gave them a pass, so they aren’t for everyone.

Very lightly sweet, the texture and flavor are dominated by the seeds. Mine were not what I would remotely call crisp or crunchy, even after cooling the single remaining cookie for a night. The middle of my cookies formed a dome (unlike those in the photo), and they were chewy, though in a good way, and even more chewy the next day. I will try them again to get that crispness and double the recipe—twelve of these cookies are far too few.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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4 Comments

    1. Becky, yes the calories are per sesame crisp. If you make them, please let us know how they turn out.

  1. 5 stars
    For measuring flour I use all 3 methods, but for bulldozer and butterfly I use the side of hand to level out- seems gentler.