When Tomato first gave me her list of “to make” Japanese foods, she ended with “red bean ice cream, of course.”
Of course. I really wanted to make it. I really, really did. After all I love ice cream SO much. I had the ice cream maker canister in the freezer and everything, but in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s just too cold out. I can get behind ice cream at almost any time. Even if it’s 20 degrees out (like when Mama Buddha and I went to Ghiradelli over Christmas for hot fudge sundaes). But it was TWO degrees today. Two. And that, my friend, is my ice cream limit.
However, I couldn’t shake the red bean theme from my head, and since I had lots of time on my hands thanks to another adult snow day, I came up with a Sweet Red Bean cookie. Most red bean cookie concoctions are ravioli-like; a sweet, chewy rice flour dumpling filled with the red bean filling, but I wanted to try something a bit different so I hodgepodged a few cookie recipes to come up with this one. Plus, I got a shiny new mixer for Christmas that I had yet to use.
Good! I surprised myself with this one. While taste-testing the batter (come on, who does NOT eat cookie dough? Those who possess more self-control than I…), I feared the red bean flavor would be lost, and the result would taste like nothing more than a sugar cookie. However, once they were out of the oven and cooled, I was pleased to taste a subtle yet distinct sweet red bean flavor, complemented by the sesame seed and/or sugar coating.
Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, these cookies were a success.
So, maybe not Japanese in reality, they are Japanese in spirit, and that’s what counts.
- 5 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sweetened red bean paste (available at Asian or other ethnic grocers)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
- pinch ground cloves (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (your choice)
- ½ cup granulated sugar or 1 cup toasted sesame seeds for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
- Add the red bean paste and salt. Incorporate well.
- Add in the baking soda and flour and mix until just combined.
- Roll about 1 TB of the batter into a ball. Roll the ball in either sugar or sesame seeds, as desired.
- Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 1- ½ inches apart and press flat with a fork.
- Bake 12-14 minutes until lightly golden. Let sit on the baking sheet about 3 minutes before moving to a rack to finish cooling.
- Reader's notes: Let sit in the freezer for one week before eating- they're better this way! Also, ginger and cloves heighten the taste!
Parting thoughts: Grandma Buddha got me a brand, spanking new camera for Christmas, currently on its way from those swinging folks in the Amazon jungle. I hope this makes a noticeable difference with prettier pictures. While you may not notice initially, hopefully you will after February 9th, when I take the class to learn how to use it.