I've been interested in these tahini cookies since I first saw them in Bon Appetit last November. I love tahini, and I always keep a jar of the stuff on hand for dips and salad dressings. My personal favorite is the Whole Foods brand organic tahini; it runs about 6 dollars and lasts for many months in the fridge.
Having finally made these cookies, I think they're prettier looking, and nicer sounding than their actual taste. They're not bad, but they remind me a lot of Halvah (the sesame seed paste based dessert common across the Middle East). To be fair, I also tried to modify them a little. I used coconut oil instead of butter. I love the taste of butter, but I was interested to see if these cookies could be made vegan (they can). I also added some almond butter; I wanted more nut flavor and less flour. I think that modification actually worked pretty well, but it isn't necessary.
Having said that, why am I posting them here? 1) To review it for the curious. 2) These are super easy cookies to make and bake 3) To suggest some un-tested modifications. At the end of the day, I love the idea of this. I love sesame seeds. I love a good nut-butter cookie. One of my favorites is a recipe my friend Kari showed me that is a flourless peanut butter cookie (peanut butter, eggs, sugar, that's about it). I am going to include the recipe below, but if I make these again I would probably make them with less flour and slightly less sugar, too.
If you don't like sesame flavor, skip this. These cookies live up to their name. They capture all that "tahini" taste and texture.
Tahini Cookies Recipe by Claire Saffitz for Bon Appetit (November, 2014) - With some very slight modifications
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (I omitted)
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoons white sesame seeds (or substitute for all black sesame seeds)
- 2 tablespoons demerara or Turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Pulse flour, pine nuts, powdered sugar, tahini, butter, and salt in a food processor until dough forms a ball around blade. (I made this with my hands in a bowl.... it seemed to work totally fine).
Mix black sesame seeds and demerara sugar in a small bowl. Form dough into 1” balls and roll in sesame seed mixture. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing 2” apart, and flatten slightly. Bake cookies until lightly golden, 20–25 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and allow to fully cool before serving. Lasts 3-4 days in an air tight container.