It’s no secret that nutty flavors are really tasty in baked goods. Any type of nut from peanuts to walnuts and hazelnuts can lend a deep, rich flavor and a welcome crunch to cakes and cookies. In many parts of the world some of the nutty flavors we enjoy in the US are superseded by tahini and sesame seeds.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a primary ingredient in hummus. But, don’t let its association with savory things fool you. Tahini is also the main ingredient in halva, the famous Levantine dessert that resembles a crumbly nougat -often finished with nuts, chocolate, or fruit.
These simple sesame cookies have tahini in the dough and are then rolled in toasted sesame seeds before baking for a wonderful flavor that’s very more-ish. This style of cookie is one that’s been made famous by the jewish deli Mamaleh’s Delicatessen and Restaurant in Boston. They’re soft inside, with a rounded flavor and that wonderful crunch from the sesame seeds.
For the cookie dough it’s basically a more complex version of a sugar cookie. But, instead of just granulated sugar in the mix there’s also brown sugar and honey for a deeper flavor. And, the aforementioned tahini adds a creamy nuttiness as well.
Once the dough is made up roll it into balls and then dip them into a bowl of sesame seeds to coat them before popping them into the oven. If you are crunched for time you can use regular sesame seeds, but toasting them before making the dough will ensure even more flavor and color in the finished cookies.
When these are ready you should see a very slight browning on the outside. Let them cool and then enjoy these with some milk, a cup of tea, or all on their own for a really satisfying snack.
Makes 24 cookies
15m prep time
15m cook time
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl cream together butter, sugars, and honey until fluffy using an electric mixer.
- Add tahini to butter mixture and combine well. Add half the flour mixture and stir well before mixing in the other half.
- Pour sesame seeds into a small bowl. Form in balls about the size of a tablespoon each. Roll each dough ball in the seeds before placing on lined baking sheets about 2” apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before serving.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious .