Tahini Sesame-Seed Cookies, via A Sweet Spoonful
Lately, in addition to being obsessed with leafy greens and cherries, I’ve also been obsessed with sesame seeds. I throw them into stir fries with abandon, and if I’m frying tofu that tofu will be fried in sesame oil with a generous handful of sesame seeds, too. There’s been quite a lot of tahini sauce. But, nothing sweet just yet. So for our July 4th picnic in the park I considered just bringing a bar of good dark chocolate … but because that would have been too easy I decided to bake a small batch of cookies. I remembered a recipe I’d seen on Megan’s site for sesame seed-tahini cookies and my decision was made for me.
These are good. Not-too-sweet, just the tiniest bit crumbly, yet sturdy enough to pack up and lug to the park via bus and our own feet, laden with that deliciously nutty sesame taste I so crave. I dipped half the batch in melted bittersweet chocolate just to so, and was very glad I did. I made myself a late cup of tea on Friday afternoon after the work day was done and sat down with it and a plate of these cookies … I restrained myself to three, but tucked one in my pocket for our trip across the bay later (for the journey, you know). Don’t tell.
Makes 2 dozen small cookies.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons to dust on top
1/2 cup well-stirred tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
optional: melted bittersweet chocolate
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in tahini, honey, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing until a crumbly dough forms. Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir together sesame seeds and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll balls 1 at a time in seeds to coat and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are starting to crack, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 10 minutes (cookies will be very fragile when hot), then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
If using, dip the tops of the cookies in the melted bittersweet chocolate, and cool. Chocolate will firm as cookies cool.