Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies + 5 Tahini Dessert Recipes

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“Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.  The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.”   
David Whyte Everything is Waiting for You

 

She knows me.  All of the beautiful, funny, ugly parts of me.  She sees my life now, not as the whole picture, but a small piece of the story.  A friendship like that is a lifeline when the world seems unrelenting.  So, it would seem shocking to think I almost didn’t answer her call the other afternoon.

Cut the rope and let me drift out to sea.  No!  She screams.  You drift away and we are both lost.  

I stared at my phone, picked up on the fifth ring.  A quiet “hi” and “how are you, Kel?” Twenty-three years of her voice, a “hi”, a simple question; she is as comforting to me as anything I have ever known.  Words came, trickling, one after another to her, an inlet discovered just in time.

My son’s recent Autism diagnosis had muted my words, left my mind torpid, my heart divided. Relief and sadness intertwined, choking my voice.  I needed space, a dark cave, time.  And she knew all of this because she fights the same beast, she wears the same albatross around her neck.  Though our conversation was brief, I felt better than I had in months.  Something in me cracked, revealing a sliver of light.  And then.  Gratitude and love followed, marching ferociously back, surrounding me.  [You are not alone!  You. Are. Not. Alone!]  If I were a religious woman I may have fallen on my knees, given thanks to him/her for the blessing of this friendship.  But I am not.  Instead, I picked my kids up from school, made a batch of cookies and poured myself a glass of wine.

Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Savory tahini replaces peanut butter and pairs perfectly with chocolate in this traditional cookie recipe

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s peanut butter cookies

Makes 3 dozen (using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop)

Ingredients:

1 + 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light roasted tahini,  at room temperature (be sure to mix in the oil well before measuring)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon of milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

raw sugar and festive decorations for sprinkling, optional but adds a yummy crunch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside. Slowly, melt the 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on the stove top or in the microwave.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and tahini until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add sugar and dark brown sugar.  Beat until fluffy, about 3 more minutes.  Add the milk and vanilla extract.  Add melted chocolate.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated.  Add the flour and mix until well combined.  Lastly, stir in the dark chocolate chips.

Place raw sugar and/or decorative sprinkles on a plate.  Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, place cookie balls in sugar, roll around and cover completely.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Gently, make a cross-hatch pattern with a fork on each cookie or lightly press on the cookies with an off-set spatula.  ( I used an offset spatula.)

Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes.  Be sure not to over bake! The cookies may look under baked, but as long as they are puffed and just set at the edges you are all set!  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies will last in an air-tight container, at room temperature, for 2 days.  Enjoy!

5 Tahini Dessert Recipe You Must Check Out!

Molly Yeh’s chocolate tahini cake with rosemary buttercream is stunning and sounds delicious.  Check it out here!

Chocolate tahini cake two ways, curious?  The Brick Kitchen has the recipe for you.

Tis’ the season for cookies so add something new to your Christmas cookie plater this year with NYT’s salted tahini chocolate chip cookies and A Cozy Kitchen’s tahini concord grape thumbprint cookies.

If quick breads are your go to when it comes to holiday baking, check out my recipe for tahini chocolate chip banana bread.  It is delicious!

Alfajores + 5 Cookies You Don’t Know About But Should!

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Ho, ho, ho. Fa lah lah.  It’s the season for all things sugar.  Despite this being a crazy weekend celebrating Goose’s eighth, yes eighth, birthday with both a friend and family party; I have a cookie recipe for you.

Alfajores.  Alfawhat?  This cookie hails from South America.  A tender cookie made mainly with cornstarch and filled with Dulce De Leche.  This is a must make and a share with everyone I know kinda cookie.  I hope you love them as much as my skinny jeans are telling me I loved them!

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Alfajores

recipe slightly adapted from Fix Feast Flair

makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon Cointreau

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of homemade or store bought Dulce de Leche, at room temperature

Optional:

powdered sugar for dusting

sprinkles for decorating

piping bag and small tip

Equipment:

2 inch round cookie cutter

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl once or twice.

Next add egg yolks, Cointreau and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium-low speed.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl.  With  the speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix until just incorporated.

Scrape out all the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm.

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Remove dough from fridge and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  No worries if the dough splits, just piece it back together.   Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter stamp out 30 cookies.  It is just fine to re-roll the dough until you have 30 cookie rounds.

Place the cookies on prepared baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes.  This will help them keep their shape.  Transfer to pre-heated oven and bake for about 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.  Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Spread or pipe a generous spoonful of Dulce de Leche on 15 cookies, then place the other 15 cookies on top and gently press together to form a sandwich.  Pipe or spread a bit of Dulce de Leche on the outside of each sandwich cookie and roll in sprinkles.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Cookies will last store in an air-tight container at room temperature for several days.  Enjoy!

5 Cookies You Don’t Know About But Should!

Looking for a delicious gluten-free Christmas cookie?  Reclaiming Provincial has a recipe for flour-less Mexican chocolate crinkle cookies that is mouth-watering!

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is pizzelle iron so I can make Bon Appetempt’s meyer lemon pizzelles. Promise to share.

xo, me

Benne Wafers– A little something sweet from South Carolina for your Christmas cookie platter.

If you are looking for a not too sweet holiday cookie, Check out Heidi Swanson’s Swedish rye cut-out cookies. 

Calling all macaroons lovers! Head to What’s Cooking Good Looking for a cherry-chocolate pistachio macaroon recipe.

 

Molasses Crinkle Cookies + 5 Classic Cookie Links

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When I asked Bubba if I should make molasses crinkle cookies or cranberry shortbread he said without a hint of hesitation: molasses crinkle cookies.  I had pinned him as a shortbread guy.  9 Years of marriage, 13 years of dating, 3 kids, multiple moves and I still don’t know him. Ok, scratch that.  I know him, but I guess he occasionally surprises me, mainly when it comes to his food preferences.  Not so long ago my man refused to eat blue cheese.  He thought soup was gross.  He preferred chocolate or any kind of ice cream over the most tempting confections. And when it comes to cookies: chocolate chip or his mother’s famous cherry winks.

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They say you become more stuck in your ways as time passes.  Not true for Bubba.  He may have just turned forty-something, but he seems more willing than ever to eat something new (new to him), including a molasses crinkle cookie.

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Soft and chewy, subtly spiced and perfectly sweet we are starting off the holiday season with a classic cookie…or a new temptation, depending on who eats them.  Enjoy!

Molasses Crinkle Cookies

recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup molasses (not black-strap)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 + 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup or so of raw sugar for coating

Directions:

Grab a medium size bowl and whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Set aside.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Next add the egg and beat until completely incorporated, scraping down the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula.  Now add the molasses and vanilla.  Scrap down again before adding the dry ingredients.

Reduce the speed to low and add your dry ingredients.  Mix until just incorporated.  Chill the dough for about 30 minutes or overnight. **Dough will last for several days, refrigerated, in an air-tight container.**

Pre-heat your oven to 375.  Let dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before spooning into rounded 2 inch balls.  Place 1/2 cup of raw sugar in a bowl.  Coat each cookie ball in the sugar and place on prepared baking sheet.   Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.  Enjoy! (Cookies will last in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.)

5 Classic Cookie Links!

Love a good snickerdoodle? Two Peas and Their Pod take it up a notch by dipping their snickerdoodles in white chocolate.  Check it out!

When I lived in the North End of Boston, an Italian bakery right next to my building made the most decadent seven layer bars.  Many a late, drunken nights I found myself going home with a seven layer bar in hand.  Averie Cooks’ soft and chewy seven layer magic bar cookies are making me long for those days and my twenty-something metabolism!

Sugar cookies are necessary during the holidays.  Head to Pastry Affair for a chocolate sugar cookie recipe.

Don’t let this holiday pass without making my frosted red velvet cookies or my lemon ricotta cookies.  I promise you they will be a hit!

Frosted Red Velvet Cookies + 5 Holiday Cookie Links You Can’t Miss!

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Did you ever watch Steal Magnolias?  The Julia Roberts movie that came out in 1989? No? You should put it on your Netflix list.  My sister and I watched it over and over.  We were obsessed with the movie and with Julia Roberts.  If you did watch it you might remember the groom’s cake: a red velvet cake shaped like an armadillo, covered in gray frosting.  This was my first introduction to red velvet.  Many years later when the cupcake craze hit Boston, I ate my first red velvet cupcake.  After taking a single bite I understood the obsession and, well, I became obsessed.  I ordered red velvet anything whenever I got a chance.  At my brother’s wedding two years ago, I stood in my beautiful, pewter colored bridesmaid dress and devoured two red velvet cupcakes during the course of one song.  I’m not ashamed; they were best I ever had!

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The combination of the cream cheese frosting and the cocoa are amazing together, but the thing that gets me every time is the bright, red crumb.  It’s not magic, I know.  The cookies get their vibrant color from red food coloring and natural cocoa powder.  It’s just magical baking science.

Last December, I saw a recipe for frosted red velvet cookies in Cook’s Illustrated.  I dog-eared the page, but never made the cookies.  This year I made sure they were in my holiday cookie rotation.

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Bubba and kids went nuts for them.  C asked, just before she shoved a cookie into her mouth, “Umm, are they red velvet?” My girl is hooked.  I know this is the season of sharing, kindness and generosity, but we didn’t share these cookies.  We ate them as if they were about to vanish.  Before long one cookie and a few crumbs remained.

Frosted Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Christmas Cookies

makes about 22 cookies

Ingredients:

1 + 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup of 2% Greek yogurt

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

11/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

holiday sprinkles for decorating, optional

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened butter.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so.  Next add your egg, food coloring and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until combined.

Lower the speed and add half of the flour mixture, then the Greek yogurt and ending with the rest of the flour mixture.

Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough and drop on prepared baking sheets.  Leave about 2 inches in between each dough mound.  Bake each sheet, separately, for about 16 minutes or until the centers are set.  Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking.  Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pans for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting.  Use a clean, dry bowl!  With a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla on medium speed for about a minute.  Lower the speed and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Mix for a minute.  Increase the speed to medium/high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Spread a spoonful of frosting on each cookie and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.  The cookies taste best the day they are made, but taste great the next day too!  If you have any left over, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss Holiday Cookie Recipes

Love white chocolate? How about peppermint?  Check out Not Without Salt’s white chocolate peppermint cookies with vanilla salt.  That’s right, vanilla salt. Yum!

My kids love hot cocoa.  Hot cocoa with a handful of marshmallows floating on top is their favorite winter-time drink.  I think I will blow their minds when I make Laura’s, at Fork Knife Swoon, recipe for flourless hot cocoa cookies!

Chocolate, caramel and salt need to happen during the holidays.  Head to Bakers Royale for salted chocolate caramel snickers cookie recipe.  My mouth is watering.

If you love thumbprint cookies, check out mini chocolate thumbprint cookies at Pinch of Yum.  They look like just the dessert to serve at your next holiday gathering!

My most pinned recipe: lemon ricotta cookies.  They will make your family swoon this holiday season!

The Great American Milk Drive is taking place now.  Feeding America will donate a gallon for a gallon until December 31st.  Consider making a donation today!