Monday, March 5, 2012

Sesame Honey Cookies

It was the week before school vacation and we were working to clean our house for a visit from our friends the Gatherers.  I heard Sebastian explain to Julian, "We need to clean the house for them because they ALWAYS clean their house when we visit."  I decided that 9 years old is too young to explain they just keep their house clean at all times, rather then living like slobs until they have friends come over.  As part of cleaning we carefully ate the last of the peanut butter cookies, Malcolm, their 4 year old, has a peanut allergy.  Once the peanut cookies had been eaten I began to think about creating a peanut safe version.

I don't stock any of the peanut butter alternatives in my house like sun butter and soy nut butter because we can eat peanut butter, which is cheaper and tastier.  So I decided to make a tahini cookie, one that would be safe for Malcolm and help with the many containers of tahini stacked in my fridge.  Apparently I am often worried that I don't have enough tahini when I go grocery shopping.

The peanut butter cookies I made used maple syrup in addition to sugar, for the tahini cookies I used honey instead.  Honey is a traditional accompaniment to tahini, paired with it in many desserts and other dishes.  As I mixed and baked them I was reminded of the smell of halvah, a traditional middle eastern confection.  The first few I scarfed down continued to remind me of halva, probably because I had the idea in my head, or because they taste different when they are warm.  When Sebastian took a bite he thought for a moment before telling me they reminded him of honey sesame candies.  The flavor of these cookies is indeed reminiscent of honey sesame candies, the ones I steal every year from my kids Halloween bags.  However these are more substantial and chewy and they don't get stuck in your teeth.

If you are searching for desserts to make during Passover think about baking a batch of these cookies.  There is Kosher for Passover baking powder which does not contain cornstarch, all baking soda is kosher for Passover.  The dietary restriction on leavening refers to a rise that is from fermentation, sour or sharp.  Commercial yeast is still off limits but baking soda is, "just minerals.  What do we care about minerals?"

Sesame Honey Cookies

1 cup tahini
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg 1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment (I did one pan without the parchment paper and I was able to remove all but one cookie in one piece with a spatula. However after that experiment I made the rest with parchment).

In a large bowl, stir tahini and sugars together until well combined. Add egg, baking soda, honey, vanilla, and salt and mix well. Stir in the sesame seeds.

Measure out 1 tablespoon of dough either with 2 tablespoons or a One Tablespoon measured scooper. Roll the dough in your hands to form a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. I placed them 3 across and 4 down.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes on the trays so they will began sturdy enough to handle before serving or transferring.


  1. This looks so good! Thanks for sharing! I have a doubt, can we sub tahini with anything else? Thanks for helping out! :)

  2. You can sub any nut butter for the tahini, the cookies will have a different taste based on the nut butter you use but all of them will be good.

  3. Oh man, I LOVE honey sesame candies. I will have to try these.

  4. I am SO EXCITED about this recipe! I may or may not have recently developed an addiction to tahini, so the prospect of including it in every meal (like dessert!) is entirely the most fantastic thing I've heard this year.

    much thanks :)