Tahini Cookies (Shove Over, Peanut Butter)

Tahini.  You know.  That special sesame treat that adds nuttiness to hummus, sauce to falafel wraps, and … um … hm.  What else do you do with it again?

Tahini.  Time to think outside the hummus.
Tahini. Time to think outside the hummus.  (This tahini is particularly runny; my previous stash was thick enough to slice.)

Thus was, until recently, my thought process.  Tahini–ground sesame seeds and, usually, nothing else added in–has been one of those ingredients, like miso and capers, that enters the kitchen for a special recipe, then languishes in the back of the fridge, edging gradually towards an expiry date while I skirt around it for more familiar ingredients.

Which is pretty lame.  ‘Familiar’ is utterly a matter of perspective, positioning, culture, and education.  I’m lost without a bundle of thyme on hand at all (t.hee) thymes, but I’m sure someone out there has had it rot on their hands for want of usage ideas.  I feel sad when my whole allspice stores begin to wane, but somewhere, in someone else’s cupboard, there’s a stash quietly fading away, unloved and unused.  And I do enjoy learning about new-to-me ingredients.  Tahini has been my latest project.

Turns out, it’s a flexible little buddy.  Hearty, earthy, creamy, and fatty, I’ve tried combining with miso, or fresh squeezed orange juice, or both, for an oil-free (but certainly not fat-free) salad dressing.  And I’ve long found it a handy thickener for battered dishes: combine tahini garlic, flour, corn starch, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and a bit of water for a savoury tofu coating, or try tahini, flour, corn starch, marzipan and soymilk for a french toast batter.

Tahini, mixed with fresh orange juice and a touch of miso, makes a tasty dressing.
Tahini, mixed with fresh orange juice and a touch of miso, makes a tasty dressing.

Gaining (current) first place status in my heart, though, is tahini cookies.  Like peanut butter cookies, only better.

Perhaps that’s not fair.  Peanut butter is fine.  Standard peanut butter isn’t my first choice–peanuts are often heavily exposed to pesticides, and mainstream brands can carry a lot of salt, sugar, and pointless palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil.  (Really?  Because you need to add fat to pureed nuts?  Have these manufacturers met nuts?)  There are some decent brands that are organic, and contain nothing but peanuts.  And peanuts are rich in manganese, vitamin B3, folate, copper, and protein.  And peanut butter cookies–specifically the peanut butter and jelly cookies from The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes For Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Coleen Patrick-Goudreau–are really quite lovely.

Tahini cookies...tasty, quick, and mineral-rich.  Totally justifiable.
Tahini cookies…tasty, quick, and mineral-rich. Totally justifiable.

But I have to put in a good word for tahini cookies.  Tahini provides iron, calcium, zinc, and tastiness.  These cookies basically are Patrick-Goudreau’s peanut butter and jelly cookies, minus the jelly, subbing tahini for peanut butter, and with the directions paraphrased but essentially the same.  The original recipe doesn’t call for salt, but I find a tiny amount gives a nice bit of savoury sass.

Tahini Cookies

1/3 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup tahini
2 Tbsp almond or soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fresh-ground salt (I don’t actually measure, but grind in three or four turns of salt from the grinder)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream Earth Balance, sugar, tahini, almond/soy milk, and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until combined.
5. Roll into balls (about 1 1/2 inch large).
6. Press down with a fork to flatten slightly.
7. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and medium brown on the bottom.
8. Let cool on pan for a couple of minutes.
9. Move to a cooling rack and chow on down.

"Come and get us."
“Come and get us.”

I find these cookies rich and mild–almost like sugar cookies, but a bit more hearty, and softer than shortbread.  I prefer to bake for closer to 7 minutes, for a softer, more tender cookie, but if you like the crunch, by all means, go for 10.

Yum!
Yum!
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17 Comments Add yours

  1. susykat says:

    These look great! I just love tahini. I am definitely going to bake these 🙂

  2. Frick yeah! I’m on a total tahini bender at the moment, must add these to my “to make” list! ❤

    1. Honestly, I’ve made…maybe 4 or 5 batches in the past month-ish. So addictive.

      1. Radness! now… when you say 1/2 tahini… do you mean 1/2 cup?? Because i’m gonna make these next week when I get some time ❤

      2. Oh, whoops! Yes, it is most definitely supposed to be 1/2 cup. I just corrected it (embarrassed smiley). And thank you to free accommodation. The way you guys keep flaunting all these delicious recipes and restaurant reviews and pictures of mangoes (Ally, looking at you here), I really do need to pay a visit 🙂

  3. Ally says:

    Haha! I’m loving that Susykat and Appetite
    Affliction got here first! Two of the biggest tahini fans I know! Susykat and I were raving about tahini just yesterday, and AA has an awesome tahini choc sauce on her blog.
    These cookies look awesome. I just read ‘Tahini’ and I was sold.
    Funnily, when I read ‘shove over peanut butter’ I said to myself: ‘I bet it’s Hard Head!’ And indeed it was!
    I always have a good chuckle reading your posts. 🙂

    1. Lol, yes, it’s funny you mention that! I headed over to Appetite Affliction’s page to see what tahini treats she’d been getting up to, and lo and behold, I came across that chocolate tahini sauce recipe. I plastered it all over my facebook page (the recipe, not the sauce). And I made it last night. Oh my. I put some on vanilla soy ice cream, but quite frankly, it was hard not to just down it straight up.

      It’s cool how many Australian blog buddies I’m making 🙂 Funny, since Australia was actually my first pick when I was looking to move, years ago!

      1. Ally says:

        I definitely need to stock up on tahini. I made a recipe that Susykat recommended, and used 1/3 of a jar. I need more so I can bake your cookies and make some choc tahini sauce. I’ll probably be spreading both recipes all over FB then!

        I remember you writing about the fact that you considered moving to Australia. Have you ever visited?

      2. You know what, I haven’t! And I am pretty sure there are direct flights from Vancouver to Australia. Hmm…time to start saving up!

      3. Hahaaaaa, you are a total gem! ❤

        I'll happily give you some free accommodation if you ever visit x

  4. kyarul says:

    Yay! Thank you! I’ve had an unopened jar waiting in the cupboard who’s about to find a happy home!!

    1. Hee hee! Yes, sorry it was so long in coming. I recommend you double up, or there might be disappointment amongst the troops. Two of us go through a batch in a couple days.

  5. Ally says:

    Accommodation on offer here too! I’ll even stock up on mangoes! (as long as you visit in summer). I hope you’ve started saving.

    1. Oh my…mangoes. I’m sold! 🙂 Now, time for me to begin a special vacation Fund… Thank you, you guys are so sweet.

      1. Ally says:

        How’s that vacation fund going?

      2. Hee hee … ah. It’s not very sizable yet, but it’s not forgotten!

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