Our five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe makes a crunchy, slightly chewy-centred, aromatic cookie that is extremely moreish. Like most of our recipes on Grantourismo these scrummy biscuits are inspired by delicious local ingredients and flavours here in Cambodia.
This five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe is to satisfy cookie cravings that we’ve had for a few weeks, because we didn’t get around to baking Anzac biscuits for Anzac Day last month – a big mistake, as we’ve been craving biscuits ever since.
You would think that I’d have had enough of baking after all the sourdough bread I’ve been making, but biscuits are so quick and easy to make, you whip up the mixture in minutes, pour it into round shapes on a tray, pop that in the oven, pull it out minutes later, let them cool, and you’re done.
And they can last for a week in a well-sealed jar. I don’t have a sweet tooth and nor does Lara, so these are not sweet to the tooth. We always prefer savoury. But a jar of homemade biscuits is wonderful to have on hand when you’re peckish in the late afternoon, need a sugar hit, and want something to dunk into that cup of tea or coffee.
So here’s our five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe…
Five Spice, Peanut and Sesame Biscuits Recipe for a Crunchy Aromatic Cookie
This five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe came about because I wanted to make a biscuit similar in texture to the Anzac biscuit but was keen to use ingredients that were more local to our home, Siem Reap, in northern Cambodia.
I’ve also been doing a lot of baking recently and apart from sourdough everything has been a Cambodian-Australian fusion of sorts, from my curry beef pie based on Cambodia’s complex Saraman curry and curried chicken pies filled with Cambodian chicken curry to Saraman curry sausage rolls and sausage rolls with eggplant and pork inspired by the classic Cambodian dish of char-grilled eggplant and minced pork.
I couldn’t resist looking at local ingredients and Cambodian desserts and sweet snacks for inspiration. Cambodia has long grown and traded in sesame seeds, peanuts, sugarcane, and spices such as cardamom, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon, so that combination of ingredients, which I narrowed down to a few – sesame seeds, peanuts and five-spice – made sense.
A lot of our recipe ideas come from the culinary history research Lara is doing at the time, whether it’s for recipe testing for the Cambodia cookbooks we’re developing or the Cambodia culinary history research that Lara has been undertaking for the last 6.5 years (both of which can be supported on Patreon, by the way, for as little as the price of a packet of biscuits a month).
Lara happened to be researching the early history of the Khmer Empire at the time I started researching biscuit recipes. She was studying the inscriptions at Preah Khan, one of our favourite temples, a 25-minute drive from Siem Reap, out at Angkor Archaeological Park. The inscriptions, which date to 1191, detail the offerings made to the divinities and monks, the leftovers of which were given to hospital patients and the poor.
The long lists of provisions documented on the inscriptions that were held in the royal stores three times a year included, among other things, a massive stock of sesame seeds (which suggests they were a key ingredient used), spices such as cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, fennel, ginger, and cinnamon, along with honey, sugar, nuts, vinegar, black mustard seeds, and more.
And that’s how sesame seeds, five-spice and peanuts became the key ingredients for this five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe. We love how they turned out. They’re a little crunchy, a little chewy inside, not too sweet, and they have some texture thanks to some aeration.
Please do try our five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe and let us know how it turns out for you.
Five Spice, Peanut and Sesame Biscuits Recipe
- 220 gr brown sugar
- 60 gr unsalted butter softened
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 75 gr plain flour
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 70 gr roasted salted peanuts roasted salted peanuts
- 1 tsp five-spice powder
- 2 tbsp candied ginger chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- Beat sugar and butter until for 2 minutes until combined, then beat in egg. Add flour, baking powder, five-spice powder and salt, and beat to combine. Stir in sesame seeds, peanuts and candied ginger until well dispersed.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 160˚C and line your oven trays with baking paper.
- Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls approximately 25 gr each, place on trays at least 5 cm apart and press lightly to flatten, leaving a dip in the centre of each piece of dough. As an extra touch, I like to place a half peanut in the centre of the dough.
- Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through cooking. For soft and chewy biscuits remove them from the oven at this time. For crunchy biscuits, continue up to 12-15 minutes - but turn the heat down to around 100˚C and monitor the biscuits as they can easily burn.
- Cool on trays until warm to the touch, then cool on a wire rack.
Please do let us know if you make our five spice, peanut and sesame biscuits recipe as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.