A paste made from ground, toasted sesame seeds, tahini is a popular ingredient in dishes such as hummus and baba ghanoush, but it’s also well suited to baking. With the tahini lending an earthy, rich flavour and prominent creaminess, these tahini cookies are studded with chocolate and finished with a pinch of sea salt, taking just eight minutes to bake at home.
Baking tips for tahini cookies
Tahini has numerous nutritional benefits. As well as being fairly low in calories, it’s high in fibre, protein and important vitamins and minerals. Tahini also has selenium, acting as an antioxidant while also lowering inflammation in the body.
Tahini is also an excellent peanut butter substitute in baking.
If you’re in a position to buy high-quality tahini, it’s highly recommended. Look for tahini with a lighter colouring.
Chocolate chips are fine for this recipe, but most chocolate chips are made using baking-resistant chocolate designed to hold its shape in the oven. For this recipe it’s worth using chopped chocolate chunks, which will melt and add a far more decadent touch to the cookies. Alternatively, you can omit the chocolate altogether.
Make sure the butter is soft, or at least at room temperature, to make sure the cookies are not overworked.
Before baking, the cookie dough should be cooled in the fridge for 12 hours for the absolute best results. If you’re short on time, however, the dough should be cooled for at least 2 hours, or even 30 minutes to an hour in the freezer.
Avoid overmixing the cookie dough when adding the flour. Overmixing can cause the gluten to develop and make your cookies tough.
The cookies will expand a little while baking. It may be an idea to bake in batches or to use two baking trays.
Once baked, the cookies will be very soft. Transfer the baking tray to a cooling rack and leave the cookies to sit for at least 30 minutes to cool down. During this time they’ll also firm up but remain relatively soft and chewy.
When the cookies have cooled, they’ll keep for up to 4 days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container.
The cookies can also be frozen. Place in a freezer-safe container, with each cookie separated by a sheet of greaseproof paper. The tahini cookies will keep well for up to 3 months. Defrost on a cooling rack before eating.
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric whisk (not essential but highly recommended)
- 120 ml tahini
- 125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 150 g white granulated sugar
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g plain flour sifted
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp sea salt plus extra for topping
- 150 g chocolate chunks or chocolate chips dark, milk or a mixture of both
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the tahini and mix well. Add the butter and sugar then mix using an electric whisk or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a few minutes, or until light and fluffy. This can be done by hand, but will take much longer.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix for another few minutes until well incorporated.
- Meanwhile, add the sifted flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp salt to a bowl and mix to combine. Pour into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix at a low speed, or fold in with a spatula until just combined.
- Finally fold in the chocolate using a spatula.
- Place the cookie dough in the fridge for up to 12 hours, but at least 2 hours (or freeze for 30-60 minutes).
- Once sufficiently chilled, preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7) and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and form into spheres roughly the size of golf balls. Place on the baking sheet at least 1.5 inches apart allowing them space to expand. If you don’t have enough space, bake in batches or on 2 sheets.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning the tray around midway through cooking. The cookies will be cooked when fairly pale in the centre but browned around the edges.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, sprinkle with flaky salt and the sesame seeds, then let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.