It snowed two feet the other night, and I believe baking is pretty much mandatory on snow days. So that’s why these cookies exist. I’m a big fan of tahini in general, but I’d never put it in cookies before. If you take a moment to imagine halvah, though, you’ll understand why it’s such a good idea.
Basically, if you like peanut butter cookies (and even if you don’t, probably), you’ll like these. They have a really similar crumbly texture. The tahini flavor is just strong enough, and they’re not too sweet.
After making the original recipe, I tried a couple variations — first, simply coating the bottom of the cookies with chocolate, and then experimenting with substituting honey for the sugar. Neither of these struck me as necessary or better than the original. Maybe I’ll try those experiments again sometime, but for now — there’s no need!
Tahini cookies (from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)
Makes about 35 cookies
2/3 cup superfine sugar [I used granulated]
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light tahini paste [I don’t think I used light; what we have seems more dark. But it doesn’t seem to matter too much!]
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 tsp heavy cream [I used half and half]
2 cups plus 1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until just combined but not aerated much. With the machine running, add the tahini, vanilla, and cream, then add the flour and beat for about 1 minute, until the dough comes together. Transfer to a work surface and knead until smooth.
Pinch off 2/3 oz / 20g of the dough [a little less than walnut-sized] and roll into a ball between your palms. Use the back of a fork to push down lightly on top of the ball so that it flattens just slightly and takes on the marks from the tines. Place on a flattened baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing the cookies 1 1/4 inches apart. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on each cookie and then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown.