Umami is defined as a savory taste. It is the "fifth" taste, after sweet, salty, bitter and sour.
These cookies derive their umami flavor from furikake, which is a Japanese seasoning, often used on rice.
I've paired them with sesame seed cookies made in the same manner.
These were designed to be both pretty and for you to experience the umami taste first. I'd describe the experience as a salty/savory as the furikake first hits your tongue, then sweet from the cookie, with a finish of black sesame/savory taste. The sesame seed cookies are less flavorful as they don't have the umami element, but are made for a visual complement as well as for those who are not brave enough to try a salty/sweet cookie. Personally I love salty and sweet and put syrup on bacon, so this cookie is right up my alley.
If you are not interested in all the crazy mixing and waiting, but still want to experience the umami cookie there is an alternative to this recipe. You can go buy a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough in a tube and roll that into furikake that you find in a Japanese market. It won't have the same richness as my cookie dough base has cream cheese in it, but it will give you that salty/savory/sweet contrast.
Step 1: The Recipe
Umami and Sesame cookies
1 cup butter
1 sm pkg of Cream Cheese (3oz)
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
sesame seeds from Japanese Market
Furikake from Japanese Market. I realize there are many different varieties, but mine is written in all Japanese and came in an adorable seal shaped container. This particular one has sea salt and black sesame and potentially other savory ingredients that I can't really visually determine
Cream butter and cream cheese . Slowly add sugar beat until fluffy
Beat in egg yolk, add flour and vanilla. Mix Well. Optional step, add 1/8 tsp of lemon yellow gel food coloring. Although this is not necessary, that's what I did to make this specific batch.
Chill dough For at least 1 hour. Shape into logs. Gently roll each log in either a plate of sesame seeds, or a plate of furikake. Chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch slices, place slices on parchment covered cookie sheet or Silpat.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-17 mins. They should not start to brown but should no longer be translucent.