If you have only thought of tahini as an essential ingredient in hummus or as part of a savory sauce or dressing, you have been missing out on the delicate richness it can add to sweets. I have had it in ice cream and cookies and while a skeptic at first, I am now a believer.
For me, the perfect chocolate chip cookie has just the right balance between the sweet, unctuous dough and the bitter edge of the chocolate. Equally important, though, is that the outer skin of the cookie has a slight crackle to it and when you take a bite, your teeth sink into the slightly chewy center. These cookies come from David Lebovitz. The only change I made from his recipe was in the baking temperature and timing. Now some of that could be because of the vagaries of my particular oven, but it is also personal taste. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you only need to bake up what you want to eat right then. And these are best eaten the same day. The dough, however, will last in the fridge for a week. I know – who allows cookie dough to go uneaten for an entire week?! Point taken. The tahini flavor is delicate so for anyone who is unsure, give it a try, but use a really good quality tahini like Soom brand.
I made mine using a small cookie scoop so I will get between 2 and 3 dozen cookies out of this recipe. I would have used chocolate chunks that I made from some wonderful dark chocolate disks that I have, but since my pantry currently is holding about 10 pounds of chocolate chips, I thought I had better start using them up instead. How did I end up with so many chocolate chips, you ask? Well every time they were on sale, I bought a couple of bags thinking I would be making lots of my banana bread or ricotta rum cake completely forgetting that without Matthew at home, that wasn’t happening. After a year of doing this, I developed quite a stockpile. Fortunately, while dark chocolate may develop a bloom, it doesn’t actually go bad. Milk chocolate (which I personally dislike and never use) is another story. If you are using chocolate chips, please only use a very good quality chocolate chip – the darker the better and only real chocolate. For an incredible Tahina Shortbread Cookie check out Frances’ earlier post.
Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies by David Lebovitz
Yield: 2- 3 dozen cookies depending on size
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark since that is all I ever buy)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks, or chocolate chips
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, tahini, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. (The dough can also be made in a large mixing bowl, stirred with a spatula.)
2. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the egg, the yolk, and vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl during mixing, to make sure the eggs are getting incorporated.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and kosher or sea salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined, then add the chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. ( I found that mine baked better at 350 degrees F.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (I only made 6 cookies at a time so used just one baking pan.)
5. Form the cookies into rounds using an ice cream or cookie scoop, or your hands. For small cookies make each 1 1/2-inch, for larger cookies, make them 2-inches round. Place them evenly spaced on the baking sheets, 3-inches apart). Bake one sheet at a time, so you can keep an eye on them, in the middle rack of the oven.
6. Bake the cookies, turning the baking sheet in the oven midway during baking, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges but still pale in the center. For small cookies, about 12 minutes, for larger cookies, about 14 to 15 minutes. (Here you will have to go by the visual and smell test since ovens really vary. My cookies took closer to 17 minutes at 350 degrees F…) Remove from the oven, sprinkle cookies with a bit of flaky sea salt, and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet until easily handled. Bake the remaining cookies the same way.
Storage: These cookies will keep for two or three days at room temperature, but are definitely better the same day they’re baked. You will lose the crispy outer texture and chewiness; the cookie will be uniformly a soft cookie. The unbaked dough can be refrigerated for up to one week, and frozen for up to two months.