Recipe Corner: Salpy’s Tahini Shortbread Cookies with Walnuts

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Tahini is a savory condiment often used in hummus, baba ghanoush, sauces, and salad dressings, but it’s the perfect complement to sweet desserts, too. Tahini is made by grinding toasted, hulled sesame seeds to create a creamy, smooth spread. It’s a similar process to making peanut butter.  It is staple across the globe, originating in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. It is also found in Asian dishes and Greek fare.  So easy to make, and extremely irresistible, these Tahini Shortbread Cookies from Salpy’s International Kitchen are buttery, perfectly sweet, and will have you coming back again and again.  Flavored with tahini paste, these sophisticated cookies have a pleasing crumbly texture and an intense, almost nutty flavor.

These cookies are perfectly delicious plain or dusted with confectioners’ sugar and served with coffee or tea as a midafternoon snack or fancy dessert.  “They melt in your mouth and you’ll be amazed with the nutty flavor coming from the tahini paste.  Best of all, they are incredibly easy to make and extremely satisfying,” says Salpy.

The popularity of tahini comes as no surprise to Sarit Packer, co-founder of  Honey & Co in London, who has been making tahini desserts with great success for years. The restaurant usually has four tahini-based sweets on the menu at any one time, rotating specialties such as a white chocolate and tahini babka (a molten cake with tahini in the center), tahini sandwich cookies and occasionally, tahini ice-cream.  She attributes its new success to three key components: sweetness, nuttiness and a high fat content. “This is by no means a superfood,” she says, “but there is little dairy in Middle Eastern cooking, and if you mix tahini with water it becomes dairy-like.”*

 


Ingredients:

1 egg (white and yolk separated)

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1 cup tahini

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped, divided

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topics: Tahini

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Preparation:

In a mixing bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, mix together the egg yolk with the tahini until well incorporated.  Add the butter to the bowl and continue mixing, gradually add the sugar and cinnamon, and stir until light and fluffy.  Add 1/2 cup of the ground walnuts and the flour, gently stir until the dough starts to clump together. (You can tell if the dough is the right consistency when you squeeze a walnut sized piece into the palm of your hand and it stays together.) Form the cookies by using a cookie mold or roll into a walnut sized ball between the palms of your hands and flatten slightly as you arrange them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then make an impression with your thumb in the center.  Brush surface of the cookies with the separated egg white and sprinkle some of the remaining ground walnuts on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden in color. Cookies will be soft to the touch when you take them out of the oven, but they will harden when they are completely cooled.  Store cookies in an airtight container.

For this recipe, go to: https://www.facebook.com/SalpysInternationalKitchen/photos/a.193156930836425/1702412833244153/?type=3&theater

Also see Salpy’s recipe for Armenian Nazook at: https://www.facebook.com/SalpysInternationalKitchen/photos/a.193156930836425 /1726509457501157/?type=3&theater

*See: “Not just for hummus: why tahini is popping up in brownies, ice-cream and martinis,” The Guardian, April 12, 2018 at:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/12/not-just-for-hummus-why-tahini-is-popping-up-in-brownies-ice-cream-and-martinis

 

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