Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tahini Butter Cookies

I believe I've mentioned it before, but that won't stop me from saying it again, I LOVE tahini. Over the past several years I've begun to use it more and more in all sorts of things. My first real introduction to tahini was when I started making my own hummus. I'm sure a lot of other people have the same experience. While I liked it well enough at that time, it wasn't until I'd been using it for a while that I truly fell in love. Now I could use it in almost anything. It's great in salad dressings (check out this salad for an example), sauces, and granola to name just a very few. One of my favorite uses is as an alternative to peanut butter on a piece of toast. Slather on the tahini and drizzle with a touch of honey, it's a heavenly combination. 

And yes, tahini is definitely a great addition to cookies! I've been wanting to try this for a little while now, so I had a free morning this week and I whipped up a half batch of these wonderful tahini butter cookies. They are simply wonderful, especially for someone who loves tahini as much as I do. They are incredibly tender and buttery (surprisingly very reminiscent of these snowball cookies) and are covered with a sweet coating of powdered sugar and cinnamon that bakes into a moist and tender crust on the outside, almost like a built in icing. And as for the flavor, the tahini really shines through. It's savory nuttiness is a wonderful contrast to these sweet and delicate morsels. If you already love tahini like I do, or even if you've never had tahini in your life, you must make these cookies!

It often happens that I'm just too lazy to get out an extra bowl and pull out a few extra ingredients to make toppings, or icings, or coatings for various things, but I managed to find the energy to pull out the powdered sugar and cinnamon to roll the dough in before baking these cookies and I'm so glad I did. It really added a lot to the cookies, both in texture and flavor, so I highly recommend this additional step. I also thought the almond pressed into the center of the cookie was just too cute to skip, I think it really elevates the look of the cookie, but of course you wouldn't have to add them to the top if you don't want to or don't have any almonds laying around. They will still be wonderful without it.

Tahini Butter Cookies
From Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
  • 1 cup (140 g/5 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup (75 g/2.6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g/2.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (100 g/3.5 oz) tahini
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for rolling
  • Whole almonds, for garnish
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and tahini on medium-low speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up before shaping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a pan with parchment paper.

Using an ice cream scoop or level tablespoon, drop rounded balls of dough, about 1 inch diameter (15-20 grams each). Roll in powdered sugar-cinnamon mixture and place onto prepared baking sheet. Set an almond in the center of each ball, gently pressing to slightly flatten the cookies (they don't spread a lot during baking so make sure to press them down as well as you can without causing them to crack open.)

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies look cracked and just begin to brown at the edges. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer gently to a wire rack to cool completely.

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