Chocolate Tahini Shortbread Cookies


Illustration: Tram Nguyen


I try not to post too many cookie recipes on here, because cookie recipes = cookie testing = cookies lying around the house, and frankly I have no willpower in the face of freshly baked cookies. I am not one to deprive myself of treats, but I suspect it is less than healthy to eat a full batch of butter/flour/sugar/chocolate in a single sitting by oneself more than, say, once a month, and recipe testing usually requires making lots of batches of something in relatively short order. Because my version of restraint is by most standards, uh, pretty modest, I do my best to not tempt fate too often.

But while I was obsessively reading the wonderful Zahav cookbook last December, I started to get very excited about tahini. Tahini in general is amazing, one of the best flavors on the planet, but according to Zahav author Michael Solomonov there is one brand of it that is superiorAnd this brand must be purchased online. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be stuck without the proper tahini in a pinch.” (At this moment I imagined that I would be whipping up fresh hummus day and night, so inspired was I by this cookbook.) I went to purchase the tahini and noticed that Soom, the company Solomonov recommended, also sells a version in…chocolate. Well. It seemed almost irresponsible not to try it. As a “food blogger” and such. Right? Right. I bought a few jars of both.

Flash forward to a few weeks later. I had by this point made several batches of glorious hummus with this great tahini. I had also discovered that the chocolate flavor was quite delicious, kind of like if tahini met Nutella. It was becoming dangerous to have it in the house. At one point Rob and I found ourselves eating it out of the jar, with spoons. It was not a good look. (Literally. Tahini is kind of messy and I was getting it all over my face.) “You need to get rid of this,” Rob told me. It was true. We could not be trusted to not eat it all in one sitting.

So I used it to make cookies. This was very easy to do, because the Zahav cookbook has an incredibly simple and fantastic tahini shortbread cookie recipe in it, and I just swapped in the chocolate for the standard flavor and finished the cookies off with a dusting of flaky sea salt. I can’t take any credit for the recipe, but I do think the world deserves to know about these cookies, because they are very good. It turns out that sesame + chocolate + salt + butter is a winning combination. Now everyone go load up on Zahav cookbooks and Soom tahini—in sesame and chocolate flavors both.

Chocolate Tahini Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from Zahav, by Michael Solomonov

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate tahini
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Several pinches flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Combine butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the tahini and continue mixing until well incorporated.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and one pinch of salt in a separate mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Add to the tahini mixture and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place the them on the parchment paper, separating them by about two inches. With the heel of your hand, flatten the balls slightly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are cracking a bit around the edges and set. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

2 Comments Write a comment

  1. Amazing illustration. Wonderful writing. You ladies are so talented! The chocolate tahini seems to come only in the two-pack variety. I live alone and don’t know if I can be trusted with that. Delicious recipe nonetheless.

  2. Aw, thank you, Elle! Might I recommend that you buy the tahini, make the cookies, and then freeze them?? (I did this and I promise you they taste amazing frozen, too.)

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