Tahini – ground sesame paste – is basically the peanut butter of the Middle East and western Asia. Instead of sweet applications, it is traditionally found in savory dishes like hummus, baba ganoush, and drizzled atop crunchy falafel. In the last couple of years, tahini has made a name for itself in the U.S. too – adding richness to dressings, marinades and dips. I held on to relatively lukewarm feelings about the condiment until I spotted modest yet intriguing tahini cookies in the November issue of Bon Appetit.
I gave the recipe a few tweaks in order to use what I already had on hand and the cookies turned out even better than I had hoped. These cookies have a super nutty taste akin to halva (a traditional Persian confection) and a delightful crumbly texture – the perfect addition to teatime. They are also one of the easiest cookie recipes I’ve ever tackled: you basically dump on the ingredients into a food processor, pulse a few times, form the dough into balls, roll in sugar and bake until golden.
I wasn’t originally planning to blog about this recipe but I honestly feel it’d be selfish not to help spread the word about the magic that is tahini cookies.
Adapted from this November 2014 Bon Appetit magazine recipe by Claire Saffitz
(Yield: About 16 cookies)
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- ½ c toasted walnuts
- ⅓ c granulated Turbinado sugar, plus 2 more tbsp
- ⅓ c tahini
- ½ stick unsalted butter (4 tbsp) at room temp
- ½ teaspoon salt
Procedure: Preheat oven to 350F. Pulse flour, walnuts, 1/3 c sugar, tahini, butter and salt in a food processor until dough forms a ball around the blade. Place remaining 2 tbsp sugar in a small dish or teacup. Gently roll dough into 1” balls between your palms and dredge in sugar. Place on a parchment-lined/non-stick baking sheet, spacing 2” apart, and flatten slightly with your hand. Bake until lightly golden, 20–25 minutes.