There are times when you’re not sure if you need something sweet or savoury. There are times when all you crave is something with crunch. And there are times when all you want to ignite some memories of sunshine.

It’s nose bitingly cold in London right now. It’s a mood that comes care of a bitter wind which lashes around street corners, scratching at your  extremities. They’re ‘leave your gloves at home at your own peril’ kind of days. In central London it’s not ‘snow-capped-street-lamp’ frosty and glamorous. It’s more slush underfoot and dark at 4pm. It’s the kind of weather that makes you think it’s perfectly sensible to eat breaded and fried macaroni and cheese on a Wednesday night (Wishbone, Brixton; the chicken a slight disappointment, the ‘hot mess’ just that, but the mac and cheese; sheer edible brilliance of the surface area; volume ratio.  Fashioning Duplo sized bricks of the mac and cheese before crumbing them results in an exponential increase of the joy of cracking through the breadcrumb crust to find the soft noodles below).

What I’m after at the moment, is crunch, a whisper of umami, and to be able to pretend that I’m somewhere warm.

Which is exactly where these sesame miso snaps come in. They’re a heftier twist on a dish we first ate nearly four years ago, exactly. December in Maui is a shiny jewel of a month. Over four days we swam with giant turtles. We ate sashimi and drank more watermelon cocktails than a sensible soul might. We got dressed for a wedding in a hotel room where a dial in the marbled bathroom could play four kinds of music; rock, classical, jazz and Hawaiian. I quickly learned how much I enjoy it if in the morning there’s a ‘smoothie  of the day’ and if someone unbidden, brings me a print out of the New York Times. I swore black and blue I would never leave the Four Seasons. But time ticks on and budgets run dry- and so we slunk on. Yet whenever I’m stuck on a train, or lining up at the post office, I go to Wailea in my head.

The miso sesame appeared at the Maui chapter of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago –  they were delicate tuiles shaped into cones that held a poke (pohkay) of ahi tuna, soy, wasabi and shallots. I’m happy to confirm that there is most definitely some novelty value in eating your sashimi out of an itty bitty cone.

But there is also novelty value years later in using up the sesame seeds that spill and creep throughout your spice cupboard.  And by clocking onto a snack that’s half way between salty and sweet- with a most satisfying snap to it. You may question the miso- but please don’t- it’s a great friend to both sesame and maple and contributes a brilliant savoury character to what is otherwise, just a sesame cracker.

These would be intriguingly lovely dessert if filled with a creme fraiche mousse and some candied lime zest- something of a slightly more kinky brandy snap,  or at the other end of the meal, topped with an avocado and coriander salsa for canape.

Alternatively, they’re are terrific on their own, eaten one after another on the couch while you stare out the window and wait for clear skies.

Sesame Miso Snaps

Makes 12-14 crisps

Equipment

1 saucepan. 1 or 2 baking trays, lined with baking parchment. 1 spatula.

Shopping/foraging

55 grams of butter
120 grams of glucose syrup (you can purchase in tubes), or 120 grams of corn syrup
25 grams of maple syrup ( 1 1/4 tbsp)
1 tbsp of miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup of plain flour (possibly more, depending on how droopy your batter is)
1/3 cup mix of black and white sesame seeds
Generous pinch of salt and pepper

Method

1)  Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.

2) Place the syrups and butter in a saucepan and place over a medium heat to melt the butter.

3) Stir to combine.

4) Add the miso paste and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

5) Sift in the flour and ground ginger. Add the sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

6) Stir to combine. Test the consistency of the batter. When you tilt a spoon, it should hold itself. If it is too droopy, add another tablespoon of flour and stir.

7) Use a tablespoon to portion out one tablespoon of batter for each snap, leaving a few centimetres in between each one. They will spread quite a bit. Bake for 10 minutes.

8 ) After ten minutes remove from the oven and let them cool for 30 seconds. Being very careful, use a spatula and flip them, in one definite movement (if you’re feeble, they may snap).

9 ) Return to the oven and bake the other side for two minutes.  If you prefer more of a brandy snap/basket shape leave on the bench for 30 seconds, then gently drape over the back of a shot glass or espresso cup. Allow to cool and firm up.

10. Serve on their own, for a sweet/salty snack, or fill with a creme fraiche mousse for dessert, or with a salsa of diced avocado and coriander for a novel twist on a starter or canape.