One of my favorite things is seeing how different cultures and food collide to bring about new flavors and new stories. With the abundant use of sesame seeds here in the Middle East, one learns the many different uses it has. Tahini was once an ingredient relegated just to hummus or as a drizzle on falafels. But, that's hardly ever true about any ingredient. There are often multiple uses, both savory and sweet, to pique interest in your taste buds and then pique curiosity in your mind.
Tahini offers just that in this humble Christmas Cookie. And I call it a Christmas cookie because I made it around Christmas time. Truth is, these are a fabulous little sweet any time...if I do say so myself!
Makes 20 cookies
1/4 C + 2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature (for a vegan version, substitute coconut oil in the same quantity)
1/4 C powdered coconut sugar
1/4 C tahini
1/2 C spelt flour (for a gluten-free version, you can substitute 1/4 C of oat flour here and increase almond meal to a 1/2 C)
1/4 C almond meal
1/4 C brown rice flour
1/4 C pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/2 t sea salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 T black sesame seeds
1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 170°C
2. In a food processor, pulse the butter, sugar, and tahini until creamy and smooth.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the last two and pulse until well incorporated and the dough becomes like a ball around the blade.
4. In a small bowl, combine black sesame seeds and shredded coconut.
5. Using a tablespoon, form dough into balls and roll into the black sesame seed and coconut mixture to coat evenly.
6. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading about 1″ apart, and flatten each cookie slightly. (I froze* my cookie dough after rolling so didn’t flatten them out and was nevertheless as pleased as I was when I did flatten them a bit.)
7. Bake cookies for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
*This cookie dough is a cinch to make and then freeze. I take it all the way to the last step before baking and then place in a freezer bag, label, and freeze away. I wouldn’t let it go more than 2 months in the freezer. You could let each batch thaw out for 15-20 minutes before baking or add 5 minutes or so to baking time.