Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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Sesame Cookies – Low Carb

It has been almost a year (11 months!) since I shared one of my recipes. I was in a baking mood this morning so I made a chocolate cake and cookies as I was completely out of “treats” in the freezer.

This recipe is, as is usual with me, based very loosely on one I found online. I was looking for low carb or keto cookies. I found a vegan chocolate chip keto recipe – but I’m not vegan and don’t use sweeteners so I just used it as a starting point so I knew measurements and proportions.

Full disclosure… my first batch wasn’t optimal. I added in some almond flour – which was a mistake. I ate them… but the texture was off. I still have that niggling doubt in the back of my brain that you can’t bake with just nut butters! I know better, but… I won’t do that again.

Low CarB Unsweetened Sesame Cookies

350F/12-15 minutes – makes 12-16 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup of Tahini (sesame paste/butter) – you could use cashew or almond butter too

1 large egg

2 tbsp of sesame seeds (raw or toasted – this is totally optional!)

1/2 tsp of pure vanilla (I like pure, use what you use)

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1/8 tsp of salt

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well. I usually start with the seeds and dry ingredients and stir to make sure the baking soda hasn’t any lumps, then add the rest and mix vigorously by hand. You could use a mixer – but this does not need it, it blends together very easily and quickly. Note that once the egg goes in, particularly if it is cold, the batter starts to clump up quickly.
  2. Stick the bowl in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment, and get the dough out of the fridge.
  5. Shape the dough into balls of approximately 1″ (2.5 cm), flatten in your hand and place on the cookie sheet. Note that they do not rise much so you don’t have to worry about spacing them out. Basically, treat them like old fashioned peanut butter cookies!
  6. Put on the centre rack in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them. It is hard to tell when they are starting to brown as they are brown! I find 12 minutes is a good time to pull the tray out and stare intently at them to see if there is any sign of darkening at the base. You do not want to over-bake. These are a dry cookie and over-baking is bad.
  7. DON’T TOUCH THE COOKIES! When the are hot they crumble!
  8. Once you take them out, let them sit for at least 10 minutes, then carefully remove to a cooling rack or, as I do, set on a paper towel to completely cool.
  9. Once cool they will stay together and you can store in an airtight container. I put mine in the fridge to keep, but they will be fine on the counter for a week or so – if they last that long. They will also freeze for ages.

Options

  • Once I rolled the dough balls in sesame seeds before baking (as in the photo below). I liked them that way BUT the seeds fell off all over the place. The lack of sugar means there is no “glue” to hold things like that on.
  • Another time I just pressed the bottom of the ball in the seeds, I liked that as they toasted on the bottom, but, again, a lot were falling off. Depends how worried you are about random sesame seeds dropping all over. That is why I now put some directly into the dough!
  • You can add things to this dough – high cacao content chocolate chips, other nuts, etc. I plan to do that… I want to use pecans, but didn’t have any on hand.
These were rolled in sesame seeds before baking. The other photos have the seeds in the dough.

This is a dry cookie, but good. Don’t try to make them bigger as I am pretty sure they will crumble when you bite them! This size holds together to be eaten without a mess! (p.s. this is a small cookie sheet!)

Today’s batch cooling before I took them off the tray. You can see how hard it is to tell if they are done in this shot.

If you like sesame you should like these. The lack of sweetness doesn’t register with me, but if you must use a sugar replacement 1/2 cup of a granulated version will work to make them a sweet cookie.

I hope you like them as much as I do. I know some people spit out stuff I like as there is no sugar, but think of them as a fat cracker and eat them with some cheese!


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21 Days and One Year (of the Pandemic)

How’s everyone holding up? I’m getting antsy to get vaccinated. My region is opening up appointments in five year increments (started at 80+ years), Monday they opened it up to 70+ years. So… based on the timing of the last increment, I hopefully can book by the end of the month! Fingers crossed.

Until I get that first shot I am in limbo mentally. I can’t start making firm arrangements or accept one of my offers for schools abroad, until I am pretty sure I CAN travel in September. I figure once I get that first one I should be good to go, literally.

I took part in an open day for the post-grad program at the Arts University of Bournemouth last week – watched a recorded presentation, then there was a live Q&A. They inferred things will be “hybrid” in the Fall (all going well) – they were talking it up as something they’d been planning pre-pandemic. I’m not completely keen. I know it is a Masters and self-directed, but I like more personal contact and being in a setting with other people. I am so over working in my room alone! The course leader did put me in touch with a student from the US who is there now so I could chat with them about their experience travelling to the UK in February and how the program is going.

I also submitted an application to the Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship last week. IT Sligo sent me the application – I’ve an offer from them for the BA (Hons) Fine Art. This is a very prestigious scheme – they choose 60 international students from countries other than EU/EEA and award:

  • A €10,000 stipend for one year’s study
  • A full fee waiver of all tuition and other registration costs at the higher education institution

Would be amazing to get that – makes it very, very close to a full-ride! They have a very stringent criteria and would be a huge honour to be chosen! Won’t know what happens until after June 1st. So, I will just not think about it and carry on with getting things done!

My last official day of classes here is April 16! I will still be working in the studio after that on my thesis project as the show, according to the latest update, won’t be held until June. So our professor has said we have time to continue work. That is comforting – I would have been able to be ready earlier, but the extra time allows me to complete more individual paintings to include in the installation.

But I do have to make a submission by May 15th for the BMO 1st ART! 2021 art competition -I’ve been nominated for it and it is for my thesis project! So I need to have it ready to photograph the week prior.

The Annual All-Student Juried Show is opening this week – April 1 to April 28. I put three works in: one from last semester (mixed media,) one from Fall 2019 (a diptych acrylic paintings,) and one that was my own project in 2019 (not school.) I am hoping I can get over there to take some photos of my work hung up. They are currently open for limited occupancy. I wouldn’t go until classes are done, so hopefully they’ll still be open to the public then.

Here are some recent paintings I’ve completed for my Thesis project (since my last post) on Threatened Species: West African Slender Snouted Crocodile, Elkhorn/Staghorn/Pillar Corals, Island Oak, Gooty Tarantula, Little Brown Bat, Great Hammerhead Shark, and a Polar Bear.

Hammerhead Sharks are the strangest looking creatures!

These two paintings are still in progress – a Mexican Wolf and a couple of Gilbert’s Potoroos:

And this is a shot of all 34 paintings that are completed or in-progress right now! I’ve an additional 12 small canvases prepped and ready, if I decide I want 52 to be in my final installation. I’ll see how much progress I make over the next four sessions in the studio then decide.

Our weather is settling to the unsettled spring pattern… frost in the morning and t-shirts in the afternoon. But it is so nice to get out for a walk in the sun – which is warm when you are out of the wind but that isn’t very often!