Lets talk about sesame – black sesame to be specific – and macarons, and how these two make a perfect pair!
Until a certain point in my life I thought sesame belonged on hamburger buns or in a children’s TV show named after a street. Well, but then, when I was about 8 years old, my aunt took me on a vacation to Turkey (I know, I have a really cool aunt).
The beautiful beach and amazing natural sites, like the mineral terraces of Pamukkale made a memorable impression on me. But there is one other place that I remember quite well from this vacation – the Turkish Bazaar. For a little girl who grew up in clean and orderly Germany this was an entirely different world. The chaos, the noise, the smells…I had never experienced something like it.
And there was another new experience I made right there at the market. Back then the Turkish Lira was a currency with many zeros at the end (6 of these zeros were dropped in 2005) and it was common practice to hand out candy or gum with just the large change, instead of counting it out exactly to the last zero. So one of the market vendors handed us sesame candy.
I had never seen or tasted something like it before. Small cubes of tiny sesame seeds packed together tightly with a sweet honey or caramel ‘glue’ (now that I have tasted sesame snaps, I’d say the taste is quite similar). I was hooked. I wanted to go back and just buy the candy change.
And I think we did, but I could never get enough. Even back home in Germany I was always looking for it in the Turkish stores.
Here in Asia I learnt that there also is black sesame. I tried a black sesame snap from a 7/11 in Thailand and I loved those too. The sesame flavor is more intense and nuttier with a stronger aroma as well.
So when we visited the Macaron Cafe in Penang, Malaysia and I saw Black Sesame as one of the flavor options, I HAD to try it. And what do you guess? With all the sesame lovin’ in my past, of course this turned out to be my favorite flavor of all the ones we tried.
Black sesame was worked into the shells – giving them an unusual black/grayish color – and also into the buttercream filling for a nutty, flavorful contrast to the sweetness.
Macaron Cafe is located in a corner on the top floor of Gurney Plaza – a big and very modern mall in Georgetown, Penang. We ordered a big cup of coffee and enjoyed a macaron sampler including Strawberry Bubblegum + Double Mint (my husband’s choices) and Mango + French Vanilla flavors.
But not only macarons were offered, there were also cheese cakes and rainbow cakes with either vanilla or chocolate icing and cake pops; even a regular lunch menu with sandwiches and salads etc.
I just love how modern baking trends are so widely available in Malaysia, like the macaron stand we discovered in front of a movie theater. My most favorite macaron artist – Aleena from Crumbs – is also located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I am so sad I didn’t know that, when we were in Kuala Lumpur. Would have loved to visit her 😀
Would you like to create some black sesame flavored macarons at home? Why don’t you try the following recipe. It is by Amy from U Try It.
- 90 grams egg whites (approx. 3), aged in the fridge 3-5 days
- pinch of salt
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- 185 grams powdered sugar
- 60 grams almonds
- 55 grams black sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoons of vanilla powder
- your favorite buttercream icing
- black sesame powder
- Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on high. Add sugar gradually and whip until stiff peak forms.
- In a food processor process powdered sugar, almonds, sesame seeds and vanilla powder until nuts and seeds are finely ground.
- Add ground mixture to the meringue. Fold in carefully until batter falls back on itself after counting to 10. This process takes about 40 to 50 strokes.
- Test a small amount on a plate; if the top flattens on its own after 10 seconds, the batter is ready. If there is a small peak, give the batter a couple more folds.
- Fill batter into a pastry bag with a large plain tip and pipe small rounds (1 inch to 1.5 inches) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets.
- Preheat oven to 280F. Let macarons sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, depending on their size. Rotate baking pans once at half time. Cool completely on wire rack before removing macaron shells from baking sheets.
- Add black sesame powder to buttercream (amount to taste) and fill between two macaron shells.