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I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Tahini Cookies

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!


Tahini Cookies



2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup ( sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

3 tablespoons honey

¾ cup tahini

11/2 teaspoons Rain’s Choice pure 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).

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