This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure.

Mike and I spent our honeymoon in the Middle East and we had a truly amazing time.  Since it was all new to me (not to Mike since he grew up there), I loved taking in all the sights, culture, and history.  Despite all this, my favorite tradition of all was something that seems so small…every day we’d start our morning with a pot of Arabic coffee out on the balcony.  I would make the coffee, put it onto a tray, and carry it out to the balcony for us to enjoy there.  Sometimes I would cut up fresh fruit for us to eat, and add a little vase with a fragrant sprig of jasmine that I had picked the night before to decorate the tray.  Once the coffee was made I would turn on Fairuz and wake up Mike…I loved those mornings.

These cookies are just the sort of thing that I would have loved to add to our coffee tray.  They’re flavorful and crisp, and absolutely perfect for dipping into a cup of coffee.  And ever since I was a little girl and first heard the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves from 1001 Arabian Nights, sesame has reminded me of Arabic culture (because of open sesame!  :) ).

Black Sesame Seeds 

Speaking of Arabic culture, I want to share one of my favorite songs by Fairuz, called Kena Netla’a (meaning “We Used to Meet”).  Fairuz is an incredibly talented Lebanese singer with a pure, melodious voice. Jacques Chirac actually compared her voice to that of an angel, and it is because of how sweet her voice is that Fairuz’s songs are thought of as songs of the morning.

A Note on Shaping These Cookies:  When I shaped these cookies, I used a slightly heaping tablespoon to measure them.  While this didn’t make huge cookies, I would have preferred a slightly smaller cookie for dipping purposes, since my favorite way to enjoy these cookies was with a cup of Arabic coffee (which is served in small demitasse cups like espresso).  Next time I make them, I’ll use a half-tablespoon to measure them, which should be about the perfect size (remember, if you decide to make them a little smaller, be sure to reduce the cooking time a bit).  If you don’t want to make them any smaller but you still want to be able to dip them into Arabic coffee or espresso cups, you could shape them all into oblong cookies instead of circles, which will make sure they’re easier to dip.

Black Sesame Seed & Anise Cookies

(Yield:  about 1 dozen larger cookies as pictured, or 2 dozen smaller cookies for dunking)

4 TB (1/4 c) unsalted butter

1/4 c sugar

1 large egg

1/4 tsp pure anise extract

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

3-4 TB black sesame seeds

Baking sheet & parchment paper

A small bowl of water (to wet your fingers)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Fill a small bowl with water and set aside for now.  In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar; add egg and beat until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to overmix (the dough will be sticky).  Wet your fingers, then roll the dough into little balls or whatever shape you want (you should get about 10-12 cookies if you make them about the size of a slightly heaping tablespoon); wet your hands in between rolling each ball to make the dough easier to work with.  Roll each ball in black seeds, then place them on the baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart (they will spread out during cooking); slightly flatten each ball.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until light golden on the bottom, rotating the pan once halfway through cooking.

Now for my announcement…Mike and I are going on vacation to Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan and we’ll be back towards the end of April!  I’m not sure if/when I’ll have internet access, but I’ve set up quite a few automatic posts while I’m gone so be sure to check back often.  I know I’m going to miss blogging (and all of you!) very much!  If you need to contact me, I think email will be the best means of communication since I will try to check my email as often as I have the opportunity, but please bear with me if it takes me a bit longer to respond than usual.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Have an awesome vacation! These cookies look scrumptious! Love the combination of sesame seeds and anise.

  2. I hope you get to enjoy these cookies with your morning coffee while you’re on your trip. It sounds like a fascinating place to visit!

  3. What a beautiful honeymoon ritual of starting the day with gorgeous black coffee & fruit. I have to agree these cookies would be the ideal treat to feast on with that amazing coffee. So happy to hear of your awesome holiday, how exciting. Can’t wait to read all about your adventures too. Have fun Faith :)

  4. How exciting! Sounds like a great itinerary. I follow some bloggers that are in Jordan right now and I’m intrigued by the photos. Enjoy the food! Meanwhile, I’ll be making these cookies for my husband. He is a huge fan of anise.

  5. I’m so jealous of your vacation! You’re going to have an awesome time…enjoy it!

    The cookies look great too :)

  6. Have a great time and save a cookie for me! They look killer.

  7. Hope you have a great time! I love these mornings and Fairuz is the perfect music to wake up to in the Middle-East.

  8. Oh, these look lovely! I’m so excited for your vacation–can’t wait to see pix! Have fun and be safe!

  9. Have a lovely time on your vacation Faith! I hope you eat lots of great food, have a chance to relax, and see the sights. And stay safe most of all!

  10. Your cookies look like delicious morsels that would be a perfect way to start the day. We have just canceled our vacation to the area you’ll be visiting. I know you’ll be with family but take care and stay safe. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  11. Your honeymoon sounds like it was so nice. Those mornings sound perfect and with that beautiful music in the background just magical. Your cookies look delicious. Cookies like this are my favorite with delicious delicate flavors. Have a wonderful trip! We will miss you:)

  12. Have a wonderfully happy and safe trip with your husband! Traveling and exploring together is one of the best things for a marriage… That’s certainly been the case in mine! Best wishes for a fun vacation!

  13. What a great vacation!!! I hope the 2 of you have an amzaing time! Take lots of photos for us, OK? :)

  14. Awwww, Faith , thatsss sooo cute , the ever romantic me is all excited thinking about that cute scene and little details like pickn the flower the prev nite:-)
    U r gng to have the most wonderful hol and the middle eastern cuisine has always had my attention too , Ali baba included.
    The cookies are perfect and the Arabic music sounds like im gng to love too , wish i could hear that too!
    and the coffee too!
    Yeah im gushing but i am in lovee with everything about ur post,evry little aspect.
    WIll miss u , and will be here to catch all ur posts :-)
    And am gng with another bookmark today , i want those crispy cookies,so muc.

  15. These look wonderful Faith – perfect for dunking! Have a wonderful time! Safe travels!

  16. Sobia Ahmed says:

    Enjoy and have fun at your vacation. I envy you because you’re going to Jordan one day i would love to go to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

  17. These cookies are perfect as well as the wonderful gift you are giving yourselves in your extended vacation.
    Faith, enjoy every bit of life that you can grab…it is truly very precious ;o)

    I’ll look forward to all your upcoming posts…especially the ones you’ll have to share once you come back ;o)

    Ciao for now,

  18. Wow, sounds like you are going to have an amazing vacation… have lots of fun, I’m looking forward to hearing about it when you get back.

  19. This is one cookie I’ll be sure to try. And what a beautiful cup to dip them in! Have a wonderful trip.

  20. Have wonderful vacation.These cookies with black sesame look pretty and I like the cup that u are serving coffee in.Have fun and come back soon:)

  21. What lovely memories and how exciting that you’re returning to the Middle East and can enjoy Arabic coffee on the balcony once more! Your cookies look so moist and fluffy inside and I love the flavor and crunch the black sesame seeds add. Have a wonderful trip, Faith!

  22. What an unique cookie recipe! I love those black sesame cookies…would be wonderful to have them with my morning tea too.

  23. I don’t drink coffee much, but when I do I always like to enjoy it with bread or some wonderful cookies like these. Black sesame would go well with the lovely aroma of coffee. Hope you and Mike have a wonderful trip!

  24. What a great memory you captured tonight…I loved reading this post and seeing those cookies. I went to Jordan last year, and I fell in love with the food and country. Thanks for sharing, my dear! May your week burst forth with love, good food and peace!

  25. Have a great time on your trip. We’ll look forward to hearing all about it once you get home :)

  26. Faith,
    Have wonderful trip and enjoy the experiences and bring back with lot of beautiful memories. Have a safe trip. By the way anise cookies looks beautiful looks delicious.

  27. How exciting, Faith! Have a wonderful time and save up lots of photos and memories to tell us about! Youvre certainly chosen some interesting countries to visit in light of what’s happening there now. Be careful and be safe!

  28. How exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing all the inspiration from your trip! :-)These cookies
    sound like right up my alley!

  29. Faith

    Have a wonderful trip! It sounds like a real adventure. Will you try to meet Joumana from Taste of Beirut while visiting Lebanon? I think that could be delightful.

    (I thought for sure that you were about to announce that the two of you were expecting!)

    Can’t wait to see the travel pictures!

  30. Ooh how fun Faith! Will you write about your trip at all? I’d love to read more about it as I’ve never visited any of those countries but would love it! Have fun! :D

  31. so so SO very jealous! have a blast and EAT WELL! :)

  32. I love those little rituals like having coffee and cookies every morning on the balcony. It seems like such a little thing. But you remember it always. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that leave the biggest impressions.

  33. What beautiful music to listen to while I was readign this post and your lovely travel plans. I have always wanted to go to Jordon and Lebanon. They are definitely on my list. I thought you lived somewhere in the middle east, Faith?
    I made anise cookies once and my girl friend told me they tasted like cleaning supply soap. I haven\’t attempted them again. These look great. The photo where you have taken a bite shows them off well!.
    One more thing… isn\’t it funny how those simple little things – like coffee in the morning make such a strong impression and have such a huge impact upon one\’s memory. It is those kinds of things that I recall from trips, too.

  34. Beautiful photos!! That sounds like a perfect morning …. I love making small things counts and it so enjoyable to just sit back and relax. Have a safe and fun trip!

  35. These cookies look so elegant – I love the bold black of the sesame seeds. I wish you the most fun on your holiday! You’ll be missed in the blogosphere but I look forward to reading your automated posts.

  36. Fabulous cookies. Have a safe trip, enjoy your vacation.

  37. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Those cookies look so lovely, I bet they are fabulous with coffee! I hope you have a wonderful trip. I so look forward to hearing about your adventures. Return back to us safe, well fed, and happy daaaaaaaaaaaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  38. Have a safe and fun trip! I can’t wait to read all about it. I would love one of your cookies with a cup of Arabic coffee.

  39. Cookies looks absolutely fabulous and scrumptious..

    Enjoy ur vacation..

  40. Those cookies look awesome!
    I love Fairouz, she’s amazing!
    I am so happy you’re visiting my country Lebanon, if you need anything let me know!!
    I will be in lebanon mid april too :)
    Have a great trip!

  41. Ohmigosh! This cookie looks so delicious and what great texture! Black sesame tastes so good, we have it in Asian desserts quite a bit and I love it. So nice with a cup of coffee too!

  42. I definitely think I’ve had cookies like that growing up too, although it was so long ago I can barely remember, haha. I hope you have a wonderful trip!! Be safe :)

  43. Faith, that is so exciting that you and Mike will be traveling so soon! I am happy you are setting up some posts for us ’cause I will miss you. Thanks for sharing this cookie recipe and the memories of your honeymoon mornings. Playing the beautiful music adds so much to the whole experience. xo

  44. Those cookies look wonderful but your trip sounds like so much fun! I hope you have a fabulous time! Safe travels!

  45. I am SO envious of your travels! Syria and Lebanon are supposed to be beautiful, but it’s Jordan that I’d most love to visit. Have a wonderful time, take lots of photos, and tell us all about it when you get back!

  46. This is going to be a beautiful trip for you two. Enjoy it as much as you can and see as many places as you can. We will be lloking forward to hearing from you your experiences and visits. Beautiful cookies!

  47. Mmmhhh, perfect! Those cookies look marvelous. Divine with Turkish coffee.



  48. Sounds like an amazing honeymoon…and those cookies look awesome!

    Wow—what a trip! I hope you have a fabulous and wonderful time.

  49. I am not familiar with arabic food or culture, but these look delicious. I wish u and Mike a happy vacation!

  50. Peaceful morning coffee is just amazing! Josh and I enjoyed coffee every morning in Jamaica…and it was just fabulous. These cookies look like fun! We’re both huge black sesame seed fans….I feel the need to give them a go! Have SO much fun on your vacation! I’m glad you are auto posting!!

Similar Posts