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.
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.