Thursday, August 2, 2007

Skinny Cherry Sesame Cookies

I was in the grocery store the other day and saw tahini on sale. I had always wanted to make hummus from scratch, so I bought a tub of tahini to motivate me. I haven’t yet made the hummus (I still plan to, so check this space in the coming months) but experimented with the tahini and came up with this unusual creation.

Tahini is a paste made from hulled, lightly roasted sesame seeds and is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. Sesame is also popular in East Asia where it is prized for its oil and used as garnish. While it is believed to have originated in Africa, the earliest use has been documented in India, Pakistan, Egypt and China. Some claim it is the oldest domesticated crop.

While sesame paste mixed with honey is a popular combination in Greece, Iran, Israel and India, tahini is not a common ingredient in North American and Western European sweets. Given the American penchant for super-sweet confections, I used two kinds of sugar and added cherries for good measure. While my “taste testers” could not identify the secret ingredient, they appreciated the unusual flavor of these cookies.

Makes 36 cookies

1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups dried sweet cherries, cranberries or dates (or a combination), roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl mix flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in tahini, molasses and vanilla.
5. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
6. Add flour in two batches, incorporating with a wooden spoon.
7. Fold in dried fruit.
8. Drop by teaspoons onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. The cookies will spread significantly so space evenly and limit to 6 to 8 per baking sheet.


Suganya said...

Tahini in cookies.. never heard of it. But with their fat content they should give that nice texture to the cookies, I guess.

bhags said...

Cookies have come out good....nice work with tahini, though a little unusual

sra said...

Hi, v unusual recipe. But why skinny?

AKR said...

Sra asked why I call these cookies "skinny" -- I should have mentioned this more explicitly in the post. When baked, these cookies spread out significantly so that they become "skinny" and crispy. Don't use more than a teaspoon of batter per cookie or they will spread into each other.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aly,
I have had the same inclination to try to make hummus from scratch, and I still have a jar of tahini sitting in my fridge, but still haven't motivated myself to make the hummus. I'm looking forward to your recipe... maybe that will provide the extra push that I need! :)

cheesewithaspoon said...

These cookies probably have a decent protein/healthy oil content from the sesame, just like peanut-butter cookies. Nice! Will try them out when I have access to an oven again.