TAHINI AND ALMOND COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST

TAHINI AND ALMOND COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST

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Walking down the aisle is such a heady experience. Hey I am talking about the supermarket aisle! That’s the only aisle I remember walking down in a long, long time….tempting, inviting and a perfect cure for a grey day. On one such and many more excursions, I have often got  carried away by the array of colourfully labelled bottles of exotic ingredients, condiments, spices…. read about but never tried, heard of but not seen. On a number of occasions my well-meaning heart picks up bottles and packets I mean to use in dishes, I mean to try out, but in the scheme of this chaotic and happily tired existence they get pushed to the back of the shelf, until one fine day when the cleaning bug hits me and I rediscover the lost “treasures”.

 

imageTahini is one such impulse ingredient that I bought……why did I pick it up? Hummus? But my hummus turned out good enough without it! Anyway, I found it lying in the back of my fridge used, but once, and fast approaching its best before date. I wasn’t letting it go waste and no I didn’t want to upset the hummus fans in the house either. So I went Googling and voila! David Labovitz provided the perfect recipe for a cookie that would use up my tahini. This lovely smooth, rich sesame paste proves to be a hit combination when paired with sugar. The savoury yet subtly sweet cookies turned out crispy on the edges and chewy in the centre. They demanded those extra cups of tea for shameless dunking. Mr 40 was happy to see something that went easy on his “not too sweet” tooth and Mr.13 (the contented, “little-no-more” cookie monster) was just happy to have something hot out of the oven. I loved the fact that the recipe was already high on wheat flour, so I had to make no adjustments on that front. Though my meddling ways couldn’t leave the recipe alone and I added a teaspoon of fresh orange zest, lemon would do just as well. But the zest leaves a fresh after taste and makes you keep coming back for more. I was in a greedy mood and decided not to blanch the almonds before grinding them. Made no monumental difference to the taste or texture. If anything, they looked “made by mom”. Not pretty to look, but a thumbs up to the taste and great for dunking into your cuppa.

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So the next time you walk down the aisle…don’t hesitate….go for what your heart desires….it might turn out just right for you! 🙂

RECIPE

TAHINI AND ALMOND COOKIES WITH ORANGE ZEST

(adapted from David Labovitz)

Makes 30-35

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

80 grms almounds

150 grms. cold butter, cut into cubes

135 grms sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tblspoons orange zest / lemon zest

Pinch of salt

2 tblspns water

200 grms tahini paste

  • Preheat oven to 175 C . Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Grind the almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar, a tablespoon of flour to a fine powder.
  • Sift together the 2 flours, salt. Stir in the orange zest, sugar, ground almonds and vanilla. Add the butter and rub it in lightly, the mixture should end up crumbly like bread crumbs.
  • Add the tahini and mix in. Add in the water a tablespoon at a time and bring the mixture together to form a dough.  Knead it a little until smooth. If it feels dry add a teaspoon of melted butter.
  • Make balls smaller than ping pong balls and flatten slightly between your palms and place them on the baking sheet ½” apart.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until they turn a golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and cool. Taste. If it feels soft and chewy feel free to return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
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