Tahini & Almond Cookies

11 July 2012

Post image for Tahini & Almond Cookies

I was first introduced to these cookies by my work colleagues who travelled frequently to Israel to visit their friends and family. On one occasion, one colleague returned with a box of these moreish cookies to share in the office, and I was instantly hooked. To say that I helped myself to more than my fair share would be a gross understatement; I embarrassed myself by dipping into the cookie jar every time someone wasn’t watching, quickly depleting the holiday gift that was meant for the whole office to share. But in some ways, I hope my greed was received as a compliment, as an acknowledgment of a culture which was very foreign and unfamiliar to me. Or at least that was the subliminal message I was trying to send. Thankfully, my colleagues have made many more visits to Israel since, each time returning with a box of these delicious treats to my delight.

To look at, these cookies are quite plain and reveal nothing special. But one bite into the crumbly and buttery biscuit and you are instantly hit with the nutty flavour of the tahini. And it is precisely the tahini which makes these cookies so addictive. It had never occurred to me that tahini could be used in baking; the tub of tahini sitting in my pantry had only ever met a hummus. So not only was I thrilled to come across a recipe for these delicious cookies, but this recipe also happens to be a fabulous way of using up that large tub of tahini that might be nearing its best-by date.

This wonderful recipe comes from Natalie Levin via her guest post on David Lebovitz’s blog. The moment I saw it, I couldn’t wait to try it. It is quick and easy to put together, and the finished product tastes exactly like those which my colleagues have been lugging back from Israel. Though, I might be biased in saying that these taste so much better – can anything beat homemade?

I am so happy to have found a recipe for these cookies and hope you will enjoy them too.

Cook’s Notes

For those who live in Europe, the whole wheat flour I used is called:
* Vollkornmehl in German
* farine complète in French
* farina integrale in Italian

Tahini paste can be found in most supermarkets or Middle Eastern grocery stores. The paste inevitably separates upon sitting so give it a good stir before using. Any opened tub of tahini can be kept in a cool place in the pantry or, if you prefer, in the fridge. The brand that is commonly sold where I live is the following:

The ground almond I typically use in baking is sold ready ground from blanched almonds, i.e. without the skin. If you use ground almonds where the almond skin has been included, you will have flecks of brown throughout the finished product. This is not a bad thing, but something worth noting.

 

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 11 July 2012 at 9:55 pm

I totally fell in love with these when I saw them on David’s blog. They look unreal!

Reply

eat, little bird 11 July 2012 at 10:40 pm

Have you tried to make them yet? They are so addictive! I’m already looking forward to morning tea tomorrow :-)

Reply

Spicy Saffron 11 July 2012 at 11:01 pm

Tahini paste in cookies!!! Could have never occurred to me. They look delicious , Thanh. Lovely pictures too.

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 8:23 am

I know! I didn’t realise that tahini could be so much more versatile than merely an ingredient in dips and sauces. Their use in these cookies would be my favourite :-)

Reply

Natalie 12 July 2012 at 12:47 am

The cookies look gorgeous with your beautiful pictures :)

Glad you like it,
Natalie

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 8:25 am

Oh thank you so much for coming by here, Natalie! And thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. It is definitely a keeper for me!

Reply

The Food Sage 12 July 2012 at 3:37 am

Tub of tahini hiding in the back of the fridge, be scared. Be very scared!
I’m going to make a batch of these for work tomorrow. Can’t wait. I knew that tub of tahini would come in handy for something other than hummus and tahini/yogurt/lemon dip for Moroccan BBQ lamb backstraps!

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 8:29 am

LOL!! Indeed, they were my thoughts too! I had always lamented over the fact that the shops here sell only large 500g tubs of tahini which is way to much for when I want to make hummus or the like which only require a mere tablespoon or so. So these cookies are perfect for using up large amounts of tahini. Plus, they taste wonderful!

Reply

Alice Choi 12 July 2012 at 5:55 am

so beautiful!! they look so good!

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 8:29 am

And they taste good, too! ;-)

Reply

Mathilda 12 July 2012 at 9:54 am

In Japan, they cook a lot with tahini, but I never tried it in cookies : what a great idea indeed !

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:52 am

Oh really? That’s interesting to know because I have a feeling that I used to eat some sweets or cookies as a child which were made with tahini – there is something very familiar about the taste to me but I can’t seem to pinpoint it …

Reply

thelittleloaf 12 July 2012 at 10:17 am

Ooh I saw these on David’s blog and was wondering whether to make them! You’ve convinced me with your gorgeous photos and words…going on the ‘to bake’ list!

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:54 am

Very few recipes make me want to dash into the kitchen right away to recreate them, and this was certainly one of them :-) Very worth the effort!

Reply

Amy 12 July 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hey there,
I really love your blog and so I nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award!

Please check it out here: http://snazzybiscuits.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/blogging-awards/

Have a lovely day,
Amy x

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:02 pm

Thank you, Amy! That’s so lovely that you thought of my blog :-) Many thanks for this wonderful honour!!

Reply

Susie 12 July 2012 at 1:56 pm

I’m racing to the shop first thing tomorrow morn to restock Tahini. They’ll be ready by morning tea time. I can’t wait. Thanks for this combination I hadn’t ever considered. x

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:04 pm

I hope you will enjoy these cookies – they are certainly quick to put together and are delicious both warm and cool. Good luck and please let me know what you think of them!

Reply

Jenny 12 July 2012 at 2:11 pm

What a great idea! I always end up with loads of leftover tahini when I make houmous, I like the idea of using it up to make sweet goods.

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:07 pm

I’m the same as you – a huge tub of tahini is always too much for what I need to make a hummus or similar sauce. But I guess there is a reason why tahini comes in such large quantities – it is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. I think these cookies are a fabulous way to use up at least half a tub of tahini … unless you are making a double batch :-)

Reply

Paula 12 July 2012 at 3:45 pm

I have never eaten tahini cookies, nor something similar, but I’m sure, no doubt, I would love them!!

And, you know? I never buy tahini cos I think it will stay in the pantry for more than a life, so now, next time I will buy it! I will use the small amount I need when I want it, and then, I can waste the rest with some cookies!! Yummy!!

Nice to see you again ;)

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:10 pm

Indeed, now you will know how to use the remaining 480g of that 500g of tahini that you bought to make hummus ;-) But seriously, tahini happens to have quite a long shelf-life, even after it is open. But as I only ever used tahini to make hummus or the odd dipping sauce which required a tablespoon or two of tahini, I always had a large tub leftover and worried about it going off. Now, I think I am more likely to buy tahini to make these cookies and use any leftover for dips and sauces :-)

Reply

The Patterned Plate 12 July 2012 at 4:13 pm

Oh, I just know I am going to love this! I find tahini a fantastic, quite versatile ingredient. Reach for it very often to make a sort of coating sauce to eat with lamb chops. Or mixed with buttermilk and garlic to make a light, savoury, nutty dressing for broccollini salad with green beans from Ottelenghi.

But, I have never baked with it before. YUM! Lush photos as always :-) I LOVE all the colourful wee bowls!!

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:12 pm

Ah yes, you might be more familiar with tahini than I :-) I do love this ingredient but never thought it was something that could be used in baking. My colleague told me that tahini is also used in many Israeli cakes. Only now have I realised how versatile this ingredient is!

Reply

Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies 12 July 2012 at 5:51 pm

Wow, these look so delicious! I’ve never actually purchased tahini before, but this cookie might be reason enough to do it! Yum!

Reply

eat, little bird 12 July 2012 at 10:15 pm

Jen,
If you’re into cookies, I hope you will give these a try someday. They are unlike your sweet, chocolately cookies, but more refined like a macaroon. They have been amongst my favourite cookies and I’m thrilled to be able to make them at home now.

Reply

Lianne 13 July 2012 at 7:31 am

Hi, I came across this recipe and your blog on foodgawker, and I just wanted to leave a comment to say thanks for finally giving me something I can use up the rest of my tahini with! And here I was calculating how much hummus I’d have to make so that my 400g jar wouldn’t go to waste ;) This looks delicious, so thank you! Gorgeous photos, too.

Reply

eat, little bird 15 July 2012 at 11:22 pm

Oh you’re welcome! :-) I was very happy to come across this recipe myself for partly the same reason. I hope you will get to try this recipe soon.

Reply

Rushi 13 July 2012 at 3:37 pm

Who would have thought of using tahini in cookies, now this I must try. I love tahini especially with fish and now I can include it in sweets thanks to you :) Once again a beautiful post by Thanh.

Reply

eat, little bird 15 July 2012 at 11:24 pm

Thanks, Rushi! I’ve tried tahini with lamb but never with fish – it sounds like an interesting combination. If you like tahini, I think you will like these cookies :-)

Reply

Anita Menon 13 July 2012 at 7:17 pm

I can already sense how wonderful the flavour must be. I live in Bahrain and I love Tahina and all that delicacies that use Tahina.
The almond cookies look absolutely delicious. Pictures looks fantastic as always

Reply

eat, little bird 15 July 2012 at 11:33 pm

Another fan of tahini! :-)

Reply

Jen @ Savory Simple 16 July 2012 at 1:51 am

Just found your blog and I love it! It’s beautiful!

I’m a huge fan of tahini. I use it in dressings all the time and I’ve made cookies on a few occasions. These look awesome.

Reply

eat, little bird 17 July 2012 at 11:42 am

Oh thank you, Jen! I wonder if the cookies you made were similar to these? I’ve only known of the versions of these biscuits from Israel but I’m sure there are many other variations out there.

Reply

Jennifer @ Delicieux 16 July 2012 at 5:34 am

Your cookies look and sounds delicious Thanh! It had never occurred to me to use tahini in baking either, as I’ve only ever used it in savoury dishes – of course hummus, also mixed with lemon juice and yoghurt to serve with carrot fritters and to serve with felafel. I’m definitely going to have to try this.

Reply

eat, little bird 17 July 2012 at 11:43 am

Your thoughts were the same as mine. If you like the taste of tahini, I think you would like these cookies. Please let me know if you ever get around to making them!

Reply

Liz Headon 16 July 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’ve never thought to use tahini in baking either – a sort of halwa cookie, in a way ?

Reply

eat, little bird 17 July 2012 at 11:44 am

Hi Liz,
I’ve never tried a halwa cookie … if it is made of sesame seeds, it could taste similar, I think. When my colleagues first brought these cookies back from Israel, they described them as being made from sesame seeds, but I never made the connection with tahini!

Reply

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy 17 July 2012 at 8:10 am

Ooh I would never have thought to have tahini in this way! They look so sweet and lovely. Perfect for the cookie jar at work I think!

Reply

eat, little bird 17 July 2012 at 11:38 am

These cookies now rate amongst my favourite :-) So I would definitely recommend them for the cookie jar! It’s also a nice alternative to the more usual cookies, like chocolate, etc., as tahini is a more unusual flavour.

Reply

Jo 30 July 2012 at 11:06 am

Love your step by step photos here Thanh. These look like a more interesting, well travelled and sophisticated peanut butter cookie ;)

Reply

eat, little bird 6 August 2012 at 12:05 pm

They look a bit like peanut butter cookies but they certainly taste different :-) I need to make more because our biscuit tin was empty a few days after I made a batch of these cookies – they are so addictive!

Reply

Li 5 October 2012 at 2:44 pm

Made these cookies a while back and just blogged about them! They were really lovely, perfect with a cup of tea. Would love if you’d check it out here: http://wordsandcake.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/tahini-almond-cookies.html

Reply

eat, little bird 5 October 2012 at 3:41 pm

I’m glad you liked these cookies! I recently bought a tub of tahini, not to make hummus, but to make these cookies :-)

Reply

Sugeehaz 6 December 2012 at 7:13 pm

Wow! Very labor intensive with out a food processor but well worth it. Fortunately I do have a mini processor so I was able to grind the almonds or I might have passed on this recipe. Also I’m in the USA measurements were a nightmare but I worked it out. I love a challenge! I ended up using a postage scale and weighed most of it in ounces. I’ve decided I will be asking Santa for metric stuff for the kitchen.
For anyone interested my conversion is:
5 oz plain flour
5 oz whole wheat flour
5.3 oz sugar
2.5 oz ground almonds
7 oz tahini
10.5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
These taste great but not sure how true to the recipe above.

Reply

eat, little bird 8 December 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thank you so much for posting the conversion :-) I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed these cookies and I’m sure you were quite true to the original recipe. Conversions can be tricky but if you can find some digital scales which give measurments in both metric and imperial, it can make life a bit easier in the kitchen :-) Also, if you can’t find ready-ground almonds where you live, then I guess that would be an additional step to the recipe. But I’m glad it was worth it in the end!

Reply

Sugeehaz 16 December 2012 at 4:33 am

Thanks for the feedback! I really wish the US would stop being so hardheaded and convert to metric. Our medical and scientific communities are all in but for some reason the general public just can’t take the leap. Our measuring cups and spoons have milliliters (ml) but the average cook here just ignores it. We all need to get on the same page one of these days!

Reply

eat, little bird 25 December 2012 at 8:05 pm

Hopefully one day we will all use the metric system, but I’m saying this for purely selfish reasons because it would make it so much easier for me to understand American recipes ;-) I guess if you are brought up using a certain system, it’s hard to adjust. But when it comes to cooking (and much like science), the metric system makes so much more sense. Fingers crossed!

Reply

MrsNumbles 6 January 2013 at 6:18 pm

As an American that recently started living in the UK, I heavily rely on a recipe conversion app that I have on my smartphone…..now to stop being lazy and start doing the math in my head.

Oh, and I’m making these cookies next weekend. ;o)

Reply

eat, little bird 8 January 2013 at 2:22 pm

I also rely heavily on an online conversion tool and feel I really ought to do the maths as well. Then again, maths was never my strong point and I would hate to give incorrect measurements here! Enjoy these cookies.

Reply

Marti 13 December 2012 at 10:44 pm

I used the leftovers from a jar of tahini ‘butter’ (from toasted seeds).
I added cinnamon, orange zest, a dash of almond extract, a bit more sugar, rolled the warm cookies in XXX sugar,
and the cookies were good. This is one adaptable recipe!

Reply

eat, little bird 25 December 2012 at 8:06 pm

I love how you have adapted this recipe! I love the sound of adding cinnamon and orange zest. It’s been a while since I’ve made these cookies and I’m thinking it might be time to make them again very soon. Thanks for your ideas!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: