May family's favorite tahini cookies! Nutty, slightly sweet, and perfectly satisfying with the perfect crumbly texture. These shortbread cookies are made with a bit less butter than normal but don’t lack any buttery goodness or tenderness, thanks to rich organic tahini paste!

These cookies take just 5 ingredients (not counting pinch of salt), a couple bowls, and a hand mixer. So simple! But be sure to read on for tips and step-by-step guide.  

Stack of tahini cookies

Oh the many ways to use tahini!

Tahini paste is an essential part of the Mediterranean pantry, and is used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Although many think tahini is a nut butter, it’s actually made from ground sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are toasted, giving the paste a distinct nutty, deep flavor.

Tahini's rich, nutty, and toasty flavor is unique and gives any dish a distinct taste that is delightfully surprising.

Some of the more popular dishes that use tahini and I love are hummus and tahini sauce , which I drizzle on just about anything from kabobs, to shawarma, fish, and even sweet potato fries.

But this special ingredient also appears in sweets like tahini brownies, banana shakes, and delicious cookies!

Using tahini in baking is a great option because it lends an earthy, creamy, and rich flavor in cakes and cookies you cannot get from any other ingredient. And for many who cannot use peanut butter because of allergies or other reasons, tahini may just be your ticket (visit our online shop for my favorite Oraganic Tahini by Soom.)

Once you try it, you'll know that tahini has the ability to take an average one-note dessert to a special treat bursting with complexity and spunk.

Today's tahini cookies are adapted from Michael Solomonov's cookbook Zahav (affiliate link.) I'll admit, they're a bit indulgent. I make them on occasion, but they're some of my family's favorite treats.

tahini cookies dusted with powdered sugar

Why I Love These Tahini Cookies

- Simple ingredients and easy to make. I do bake a few things that I truly love--hello bakalava and banana bread-- but I am no baker and I do prefer easy, no-fuss dessert recipes. These cookies are just that. They require 5 simple ingredients (not county salt), one bowl, and a hand mixer.

- Tahini's earthy and nutty flavor elevates these shortbread cookies. These cookies aren’t too far removed from your traditional shortbread cookie that so many people love, but upping the flavor with rich tahini paste takes it to a new level of delicious.  Just think grandma’s shortbread cookie with a modern twist.

- Not too sweet with just the right texture. Besides the flavor, tahini also gives the cookies depth and a perfectly crumbly texture. BONUS! Tahini allows you to replace a bit of the butter in these cookies, making them just a little bit better for you.  Tahini has loads of nutrition as well (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and more.) But don't take this as an excuse to eat a lot more cookies, they are very much still cookies!

If you ask me, these are the perfect treat with a cup of hot coffee!

cookies served with turkish coffee

Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter – I'm an olive oil gal all the way, but these are shortbread cookies so butter is a must to give them their crispy, crumbly texture. I use a bit less butter here, thanks to the addition of tahini. By using unsalted butter, you can control the amount of added salt in these cookies. TIP: Butter at room temperature will also ensure the cookies don’t spread too much while baking. 
  • Sugar 
  • Tahini Paste- I use Organic Tahini paste by Soom (find it here), it's made from 100% roasted and pressed organic Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds offering a creamy texture and the best flavor.
  • All-purpose Flour – no special flour needed here, all-purpose flour ensures proper texture and gives the shortbread cookies their distinct lightness.
  • Baking Powder – allows the cookies to rise and fluff up a bit.
  • Salt – a little salt balances the sweetness and gives a very subtle savory bite.
  • Powdered Sugar (optional) – after your cookies are baked and cooled, you can dust them with powdered sugar, if you like.

How to make tahini cookies: step-by-step

Important Tip: Before you begin this recipe, make sure you have time to chill your cookie dough for at least 1 hour. If the dough is warm when put in the oven, your cookies will melt and spread like crazy.

 Step 1: Cream sugar and butter together

In a large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, mix room temperature butter and 1 cup of sugar. You are looking for a light and fluffy texture that appears whipped and airy.

Tip: Your butter must be room temperature for proper mixing and cookie texture.

sugar and butter whipped in a bowl

 Step 2: Add tahini and mix well.

Add tahini to the butter and sugar mixture, and mix again until it is fully incorporated, and the mixture looks even (it'll turn a slightly darker color from the tahini.)

Tahini is added to butter and sugar mixture

 Step 3: In a separate bowl mix dry the ingredients.

This includes the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix so they are well combined.

Dry ingredients mixed

Step 4: Combine the flour mixture with the wet ingredients.

 Dump your dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix well to make sure the ingredients are combined evenly.

Tip: Make sure to not overmix your dough though or the cookies with turn out tough and hard.

Fully mixed tahini cookie dough

 Step 5: Form the cookie dough into a log and chill (important.)

Transfer cookie dough to a clean surface and form into a log that's about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough log tightly with plastic wrap and make sure no air is exposed to the dough or it will dry out in the fridge. Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight. 

Cookie dough formed into a log and covered in plastic wrap to chill

 Step 6: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and slice cookies.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the cookie dough log into about ½ or ⅓ inch slices, place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.

 Cookie dough portioned into slices and arranged on a baking sheet

 Step 7: Bake 

Bake your cookies in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. You are looking for the edges to turn a beautiful golden brown and the middles to look set and not under baked and doughy. And if you like them a tad extra crunchy,  you can leave them till the edges turn a deeper golden brown (a few of mine did.)

Remove from oven, and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 10 minutes and then move them to cool fully in a cooling rack. If you’d like dust with powdered sugar to finish.

A few tips

In case you missed any of these tips for making tahini cookies, here they are:

1. Butter must be at room temperature. The softened butter works into the dough effortlessly, so you ensure your cookies are tender and crumbly, not overworked and tough. When you take a bit, you want the cookie to break easily and just crumble away in your mouth, you don’t want them to break your teeth.

2. Don’t overmix the dough, or you will wind up tougher and harder cookies as well. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients come together.

3. Chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour or overnight. If you do, your cookies with melt and spread too much when baking. Putting cold cookies into a hot oven will help them keep their shape and texture.

4. Use an over-sized cookie sheet or two cookie sheets if needed. When baking, the dough will spread a bit and you don’t want to cookies to bake into each other. Arrange the cookie dough portions about 1 to 1.5 inches apart on  your sheet pan to allow room.

5. Make ahead option: you can prepare the cookie dough and shape it into a log. Tightly wrap it with plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag (as long as the dough is well-protected). From here, you can freeze the dough for up to 6 months.

How to Store Cookies to Stay Fresh?

To store your baked tahini cookies, first, be sure they are fully cooled.

You can store them in an airtight container, even better, a tightly sealed metal tins or canisters.  They will keep for 1 week at room temperature, but be sure the lid on your container or canister is tightly shut to make sure no air will enter.)

You can freeze baked cookies, in a freezer-safe container, for up to 6 months.

Hungry for more? Try Homemade Granola with tahini and olive oil or Tahini Date Banana Shakes.

 

For more desserts, visit us here. For all recipes, visit us here

 SHOP OUR ONLINE STORE FOR QUALITY OLIVE OILS, ALL-NATURAL SPICES AND MORE.

 

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Stack of tahini cookies

Tahini Shortbread Cookie Recipe


  • Author: Suzy Karadsheh
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Up to 24 cookies 1x

Description

My family's favorite tahini cookies! Nutty, slightly sweet, and perfectly satisfying with the perfect crumbly texture. These shortbread cookies are made with a bit less butter than normal but don’t lack any buttery goodness or tenderness, thanks to rich organic tahini paste!

These cookies take just 5 ingredients, a couple bowls, and a hand mixer. So simple! But be sure to read the tips and step-by-step guide above.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¾ sticks (7 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, combine until light and fluffy.
  2. Now add the tahini and continue mixing on medium speed until well-incorporated.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Transfer the dry ingredients to the tahini mixture, and mix until well-incorporated into a dough.
  5. Take the tahini cookie dough out of the bowl and make it into a log (about 2 inches in diameter). Place the log on the short end of a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll the wrap twisting the ends in opposite direction so that the dough log is tightly wrapped. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Slice the dough into ⅓ to ½ inch rounds, and arrange on a very large baking sheet (or two baking sheets) lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake in the 350 degrees heated oven for 15 minutes or so until the cookies are light brown around the edges and set.
  9. Remove from the heat and leave the cookies in the baking sheets to cool briefly (about 10 minutes). Then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar, if you like.

Notes

  • Important note: before you begin, make sure you have at least 1 hour for the cookie dough to chill. Chilling the dough is an essential step and you can do it for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Where to find Tahini? My favorite tahini is Organic Tahini by Soom, and it's available here at our online shop!
  • To store: be sure the tahini cookies are fully cooled before transferring to an air-tight container or canister. Be sure to cover tightly. They will keep for up to 1 week at room temperature. Or you can store them in the freezer for up to 6 months, but be sure that the cookies are well-protected.
  • Make Ahead Option: You can make the dough ahead and freeze it for up to 2 months.
  • Visit Our Online shop for quality Mediterranean ingredients.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: tahini cookies

 

 

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. I love your recipes! Delicious complex flavors meets healthy.
    Can these cookies be made with a chocolate taste? I would love to put a tahini cream in the middle of two (like a Mediterranean Oreo, only much better). Do you have a recipe for tahini cream filling?
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Deb. I don't have a recipe for a chocolate version of this or a tahini cream filling at the moment, unfortunately, but I think your idea sounds delicious!!

  2. Great recipe and very easy! Was struggling to figure out how to use an open jar of tahini— now I know. My only change was to use Earth Balance instead of butter since my husband can’t eat dairy. Still great texture and flavor. We drizzled dark chocolate on them. Happiness!

  3. These are amazing. I added the zest of a lemon on a whim to give them more of a summery feel and they turned out phenomenal!

  4. It's just perfect recipe! I had been trying to find what to do with a tahini besides hummus and randomly found this. Cookies are perfect "spice up" for lovers of shortbread. Making them again and again. This time trying to add also chopped pistacios. Thank you for making my lockdown better 🙂

  5. The cookies I made from this recipe are delicious, but I'm not sure I managed to follow the instructions, especially step 5. The dough I made in step 4 formed a log about 16-18 inches long and 2 inches in diameter (it wasn't nice and even). Now, how do I "place the log on the short end of a large piece of plastic wrap"? Crosswise, hanging off the counter? or lengthwise? I think I need a drawing or picture of this. Then, how do I "roll the wrap twisting the ends in opposite directions"? Another drawing or picture needed. My dough was pretty crumbly and didn't always slice evenly into cookies, but most of them held together after baking.

    1. It's hard to say what might have been the issue. Refer to the tips and photos to see if something was missing for you. I assume you also used room temprature butter?

  6. Super yummy! My husband introduced me to Tahini and I am obsessed with finding recipes to use it in!! So excited to find a Tahini cookie!! It’s like a shortbread which I already love! It’s also perfect to crumble over ice cream! It is almost like a cookie version of Halva!!

  7. Im wondering if its possible to use almond flour instead of flour? If so how much would I need to use ?
    Thanks

    1. Hi, Bec! You could definitely use Almond Flour instead. I've never tried it myself, so I can't really suggest an exact amount. It may take some trial and error. Maybe start with a 1:1 ratio, and go see what you think. Hope that helps!

  8. Made these cookies for the first time. Coming from Israel, I know them but never prepared them. They are delicious! Love the result and how easy the recipe is. Thank you 🙂