07 January 2011

Tahini Cookies









Tahini cookies became part of my repertoire when I had to think of ways to use up the rest of a jar of tahini bought for making hummus or baba ghanoush. When we throw away food we are not only wasting that food, we are wasting all the things that went into its production and shipping. So I try very hard to eliminate waste in my kitchen, home and garden.

Orange and ginger go very well with sesame seeds (called benne seeds in the South), so I thought they'd be perfect for this recipe, which I developed to be enjoyed with tea. This tender, not-too-sweet cookie goes especially well with Earl Grey tea. What is your ideal tea and cookie pairing?

Tahini Cookies
(Makes 3 dozen 3-inch cookies)

2 1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 packed cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup unsalted tahini
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1 In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, ginger and salt.

2 In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in tahini, then eggs and vanilla. Stir in orange zest, then flour mixture. Place in refrigerator for a bit while the oven preheats.

3 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape #40 scoops* (0.8 ounces or approximately 1.5 tablespoons) of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Shaping into balls before pressing results in perfectly smooth cookies, edges and all. (If you don't mind a less smooth look, just press the scooped dough down. That's what I do!) Place 3 inches apart on cookie sheets (I use two 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pans for this recipe) lined with parchment. With a glass (I use a 2 1/4-inch diameter 1/3-cup flat-bottomed metal measuring cup), press each ball into a 2 1/4-inch round. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

4 Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

* If you don't have one of these 7/8 Ounce Size 40 Stainless Steel Round Squeeze Disher (13-0638) Category: Dishers, you need to get one now! How do people make cookies without it!


32 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

What an interesting combination, Jean! Sounds like a great cookie. I was just thinking this morning that your whole blog looks clean, uncluttered, healthful, and efficient.

Makes me want to go clean my refrigerator!

P.S. Just a quick additional note - Dear Lionel, after 11 years of acting like a pretty normal cat, has taken to using my head as a pillow at night. This has been going on for the past week. I'd love to talk to an animal behaviorist about this. So strange!

Jean said...

And, Judy, what an interesting comment! The words you used--clean, uncluttered, healthful and efficient--are rather what I aim for in my home and in my life, but hadn't consciously thought of regarding my blog. Clever girl!

PS I'm quite sure Lionel has never actually been normal, but this new move is certainly extra adorable!

Sully said...

My ideal cookie/tea pairing is a Mrs. Paul Monster Chocolate Chip on the fourth T at LaQuinta. Cookies and tea have never been my...um, cup of tea (he said, smiling through his milk mustache). I know that's sacrilege, but then I'm a case of arrested development, having never graduated beyond milk and cookies. Forgive me. But I do appreciate all the cool names for tea, e.g. Earl Grey, orange pekoe, et al.

Cheers,

Jean said...

Well, I must admit, you might be right about the milk with the chocolate chip cookie. It IS one of the cookies that definitely calls for a glass of ice cold milk. But how can anyone not appreciate a proper cup of tea? And about that fourth T at La Quinta--that sounds pretty good to me just now! (as a spectator, that is)

Ms Bibi said...

That sounds very interesting. I never worked with tahini due to not being a fan of hummus and baba ghanoush. I know, I know....I tries I just can't.

Thanks for stopping by

Jean said...

Well, Ms Bibi, I guess you'll just have to use the whole jar of tahini for cookies! It's also good in salad dressings. Thanks for stopping by! Come again!

Mrs. Tuna said...

Fortunately, or unfortunately salt snacks not sweets are my crack cocaine. Thanks for commenting today!

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. Tuna! Yes, I love the unsweet snacks myself. That's what the hummus and baba ghanoush are all about!

Yvonne said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Those cookies look sooooooo good!

Jean said...

Thanks, Yvonne. Hope you'll make them soon and let me know how you liked them.

Mr. P said...

You know you can also just eat the tahini from the jar, don't you? Or in a salad dressing. But I like the idea of making cookies being an act of virtue! I am going to try it myself :)

Nice post, Jean.

Jean said...

Thanks, Mr. P! I love to put tahini in salad dressing, but I don't even want to start eating it from the jar! (I do that with peanut butter, and I eat way too much. I get a big spoonful, finish it, put the spoon in the dishwasher, pretend for a couple minutes I'm not going to eat any more, get a clean spoon, repeat ... Sad, isn't it?)

Oregon Kimm said...

Can the ginger be ommitted or substituted? I have a niece that is highly allergic to it. Sounds like a very interesting/unusual cookie!

Jean said...

Yes, you can definitely leave out the ginger altogether or use something else instead, maybe 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Just very subtle. I sympathize with your niece; I hate having food allergies!

Jenn said...

What an interesting combination. I would so chow down on those right now! They look incredible Jean!

Jean said...

Thanks, Jenn! I wish I had some right now, too, but we polished them off pretty quickly!

the actor's diet said...

i've had tahini cookies on my mind the last few weeks - every time i open my fridge and see that giant jar staring at me i think, "it's time for cookies!" your post is nudging me...

Jean said...

Thanks, Lynn! I just love to "nudge" people!

Shawn Becker said...

I love humus but have never made it and did not know the ingredients. Yes, I know, I should at least read the ingredients..LOL! Your cookies sound intriguing and, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than a good cup of tea and a great cookie! Well, maybe there are a few things in life that are better but right now (because I am hungry) , I can not think of anything better!
Thanks for stopping by, I am now your newest follower.
Shawn

Jean said...

Thank you so much, Shawn. NOW go buy the ingredients and make some hummus and some tahini cookies! I have the kettle on right now but, alas, I am all out of cookies.

Abby said...

I am addicted to making oatmeal with almond milk and tahini. It's a delicious combination and a great way to work your way through the tahini jar!

Jean said...

Thanks, Abby. That's a great idea! I eat a bowl of oatmeal nearly every morning of my life (with rice milk), and stirring in a big spoonful of tahini once in a while would make a nice change.

Eden said...

Hey Jean!
I saw your comment on my post on Abby's blog about Julia Child! My mother passed away when I was thirteen, but we would always watch Julia together and I have a feeling Julia is up there in heaven with my mom gorging on french food and butter!

And I LOVE tahini in practically anything! have you tried "halva"? its like tahini fudge!

Michelloui said...

Ive never heard of tahini cookies but I love sesame seeds so I must give this a try. And Ive been meaning to make my own humous for a while now... so Ive got two good reasons to buy a jar of tahini!

The recipes on your blog look really delicious, Im a follower now, and looking forward to more.

Jean said...

Michelloui, thanks for following! Yes, go out today and buy a jar of unsalted tahini. I get the raw, organic kind. It's good in salad dressings too.

Jean said...

Eden, thanks for stopping by. I enjoy reading about people's fondness for Julia Child. And, of course, having met her on several occasions, I enjoy remembering those special times! No, I've never had an opportunity to try halva. Guess I'll just have to make it myself!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

These look so interesting! Lovely photo.

Jean said...

Thanks, Meghan! Some of my photos ARE better than others. Wish I could get it right every time!

The KitchenMaid said...

Oh, I love tahini - and like you, am always on the lookout for ways to finish up those stray bottles in the fridge. I'll have to give these a go...

Jean said...

Lucy, thank you for stopping by. I hope you will give these a go soon. They're really good with a cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

As I am not a fan of orange zest, have you tried this recipe with lemon zest? If so, what were the results?

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

No, I haven't tried it with lemon zest, but that's a good idea! I think it would be very tasty.

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