It’s fun to watch trends come and go and when a particular trend reappears, the recipes using the current ingredient are often uniquely different. For the past eight months I’ve noticed tahini in a large assortment of recipes. However this cookie comes by it honestly as it comes to us from Mamaleh’s, a new incarnation of the classic Jewish Deli, in Cambridge MA. Rachel Sundet, pastry chef at Mamaleh’s claims the honey keeps these shortbread cookies really soft.
No, I didn’t go to Cambridge just to eat at Mamaleh’s though I would have in a flash had the opportunity presented itself. I discovered both the recipe and mention of Mamaleh’s in Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants of 2017 write-up.
Because I used gluten-free flour and because the liquid to dry ingredients ratio made me concerned that the cookies might crumble apart, I added a little extra xanthan gum. My cookies ended up a bit more crisp than “melt-in-your mouth crumbly.” The next time I make them, and I do plan to as the tahini flavor is hauntingly delicate, I will skip the extra xanthan gum and see if there’s a noticeable difference.
I also made these cookies for friends who are vegan. Easy to do as I simply substituted Miyako’s vegan butter (which I highly recommend!) for dairy butter. So much nicer than the salty Earth Balance. However, it is pricey. If you live near a Trader Joe’s, I found it there for $2.00 less than our local natural foods store. However you make these cookies, just do it!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ¾ cup tahini
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Rain's Choice vanilla extract
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in tahini, then add dry ingredients in 2 batches, beating after each addition until fully combined. Dough will be slightly sticky.
- Place sesame seeds in a small bowl. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough (about 1 oz.) and roll into balls. Dip tops of balls in sesame seeds, pressing to adhere, and place, sesame side up, on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2" apart. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 13–15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool).