Black Sesame Ice Cream and a Cookbook Giveaway

Black sesame seeds have a toasty, nuttier flavor than white sesame seeds and is a favorite flavor in Asian desserts.
Black sesame seeds have a toastier, nuttier flavor than white sesame seeds and is a favorite in Asian desserts.

Have you ever been struck by an incessant food craving that just won’t go away? (No, this has nothing to do with pregnancy.) It’s kinda like an earworm (click here for more info about this wonderful new word I just learned about on NPR), a song that lodges in your head and plays over and over again.

Most often, it’s a childhood snack or comfort food you crave–mom’s mac and cheese, Twinkies (RIP), or cherry-flavored jello. And it’s always, always, always, annoying because you simply can’t shake it off until you actually indulge it.

In my case, I’ve been fantasizing about glutinous rice balls in sugar syrup (also known as tang yuan,汤圆) for the last week or so. You know, those chewy white balls made from glutinous (or sweet rice) flour, the ones that burst open with one bite, releasing a lavalike flow of sweet black sesame paste?

So when Diana Kuan (who writes the marvelous blog invited me to participate in her Chinese New Year potluck to celebrate her new book The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, one recipe was calling, siren-like, out to me.

I’ve seen black sesame ice cream on menus before but I’ve never tried it, let alone attempted to make it. However, Diana’s recipe is so simple that my mind was made up before you could say “black sesame.” I whipped up the ice cream base in barely 10 minutes and the ice cream machine did the rest of the work.

The four hours the ice cream had to sit in the freezer to set seemed like a toe-tapping eternity. As soon as the timer went off, I scooped some out, sat down with a bowl of cool, nutty black sesame ice cream and ate my craving away spoonful by luscious spoonful.


If you’d like to win a copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me where and/or in what dish you’ve tried black sesame seeds (and even if you haven’t, leave a comment anyway)! I’ll select a winner at random on March 8th.


Black Sesame Ice Cream

Adapted from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Diana Kuan

ice cream scoop2Diana uses a light Philadelphia-style eggless base for this delicious dessert infused with a hint of vanilla and the more dramatic nutty fragrance and flavor of black sesame, which is almost akin to dark chocolate or French roast coffee. I lightened it up a little and used half-and-half instead of heavy cream for a fluffier gelato-like texture. If you can actually resist gorging, the ice cream stores well in the freezer for up to a week.

Makes: 1 quart
Time: 10 minutes, active

2 cups half-and-half, or heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/∕8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Special equipment:
Spice grinder
Ice cream maker

Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, the milk, and vanilla extract. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. (If you are in a hurry, skip this step).

Grind the sesame seeds in a clean spice grinder for about 5 seconds until they turn into a coarse powder. Don’t grind for too long as the seeds will turn into a paste.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and slowly pour in the ground black sesame. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezersafe container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Now for some disclaimers: I received a copy of this book as thanks for writing a blurb for the back cover. And in participating in this potluck, I’ll be given a copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookboook to share with one lucky reader as well as be entered in a giveaway. However, I am endorsing this book because it has awesome, easy recipes that I know you, my reader, will enjoy.


37 thoughts on “Black Sesame Ice Cream and a Cookbook Giveaway

  1. The first time I had tasted black sesame seeds was in my childhood time. In the old days, there were sweets especially made for the wedding gifts. One of the sweets was peanut cookies with black sesame seeds on it.

  2. I never have black sesame ice cream before but I have had my share of dishes containing sesame (seeds or completely ground). They all tasted wonderfully. I can imagine how tasty that ice cream would be.

    My sister used to cell the sweetened ground sesame soup “the witch brew” when she was young, But it was also the same one that she would eat every time.

    Some people claim that sesame helps to keep the Asians hair from turning grey at advanced age. By all means, sesame keeps us in good shape.

  3. Being a Japanese American, I’ve eaten black sesame seeds all my life. What dish did I first have? Who knows? Could have been onigiri, ohitashi, or sekihan. I first had black sesame ice cream at an izakaya in Kyoto. I was hooked!

  4. Years ago we had a restaurant here that had black sesame seeds sprinkled on a sesame garlic shrimp dish. It was delicious, unfortunately the restaurant closed down. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Well…I purchased a pkg. I even stuck it in a box when I packed up to move just the other day. But I haven’t made anything with it yet. But packed away in yet another box and in storage is an ice cream maker that I also forgot I had. So maybe……when it all gets unpacked…..

  6. I’m sure I have eaten black sesame seeds, but I have never cooked with them. They sound wonderful, I’ll have to experiment with them!

  7. toasted black sesame seeds go well with a ginger garlic salmon, as taken from Savory Sweet Life’s book by Alice Currah. just made it the other day and they definitely give the dish an extra kick!

  8. I’ve had the black sesame dessert soup and glutinous rice balls many times growing up and now I know how to make it myself, but I have yet to learn how to make this sesame encrusted pan seared tuna that I really enjoyed at a restaurant. This black sesame ice cream looks great too!

  9. This looks great! I wonder if I could freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray and then use a food processor to combine it instead of an ice cream mixture.

    My favorite black sesame treat is a black sesame and yuzu macaron I ate at a restaurant recently. I heard you could also make tahini out of black sesame seeds instead of white – I’ll have to try that out!

  10. Back in the mid 1970’s in NYC, my mother and I made our very first attempt in making sweet black sesame dessert soup – grind the soaked seed and soaked rice in a blender, strain, add water and rock sugar and bring to boil. To this day, I still remember the intense aroma and flavor of the home made soup. My favorite dim sum item is the jellied black sesame roll and when ever I see it I will buy one.

  11. Black sesame dessert soup is one of the few Chinese dishes I make. But, I recently had black sesame creme brulee at a Japanese tea house and I need to try to make it at home.

  12. i love diana’s blog!! and i love all things black sesame, including ice cream! favorite variety though would be black sesame paste dim sum desserts 🙂

  13. Would love to try black sesame seed ice cream as your words sold it to me but need to buy an ice cream maker first! I do like a bit of gomashio (roasted black sesame seeds and salt) sprinkled onto rice – a simple but effective condiment.

  14. Being first generation Chinese, I grew up having lots of sweet black sesame soup served by many aunts and grandmothers through the years. And due to dietary restrictions, my sister makes the most amazing gluten- and sugar-free cookies with them.

  15. My offering, anything with pork and a SIMPLE presentation, so the pork tastes rocks the dish!
    I know, it’s not a sweet, but…
    the pork buns at Star Noodle in Maui are “simple” and d e l i c i o u s
    go there now!
    Santa Cruz, Ca

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