Thursday, 24 September 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #23 – Tahini

Dee – Tahini, the featured ingredient from June 2014, is an oily paste made from sesame seeds, and is versatile enough to be included in either sweet or savoury recipes.  It is described in the book as Jerusalem’s answer to Peanut Butter, making it an instant hit with me.
It is most commonly encountered as an ingredient in hummus, and I was considering writing about hummus for this blog entry, but a call for baked goods at Jay’s workplace led me to choose a sweet recipe instead.
Tahini Cookies
 Tomorrow, Friday 25th September, is the day of the Macmillan coffee morning; a charity fundraising event for which people sell cakes, biscuits etc to raise money for supporting victims of cancer.  Jay’s work colleagues had asked if I was going to bake anything, so I decided to make the Tahini Cookies on page 292.
The recipe was easy to follow, but as with all cookie recipes, there was an ever-present temptation to eat the raw dough.  I made a couple of minor changes to the recipe; I left out the cream as we didn’t have any in, and I mixed sugar in with the cinnamon as we didn’t have a lot of the spice left.
I was pleased with how the cookies looked when they came out of the oven, but it’s important to mention that they are extremely fragile when they are first taken out of the oven and need to be handled with care when placed on the cooling rack.  I was a little heavy handed with a few of them, and they crumbled and lost their shape.  Not to worry though, I used them as quality control samples. 
The taste of the cookies was close to lightly textured shortbread, and the tahini, which I thought would be the predominant flavour, was actually quite subtle.  They were not too sweet either, and I imagined that they would be an ideal accompaniment to a cup of coffee at the end of a meal.
I hope that they are well received tomorrow, but it would be nice if Jay brings a few back so that I can see how well they pair with that coffee.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest

(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)


  1. What a great reason to bake cookies! I love that Jay's work does this to support a charity that helps cancer victims. I like these cookies a lot. To me, they tasted like havlah. I rolled the cookies in sesame seeds before baking, which gave them a nice look and a bit of extra flavor.

    1. Thank you Sarene. It's a nationwide initiative so happens everywhere.
      Nice idea using the sesame seeds. I'll have to try that.