Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

Let's face it, every manufacturer has a vested interest in going "global" and a lot of time an money is spent on that endeavor. However, there are some global items that exploded onto the market with little effort. Most of the time it is due to an individual that visits another country and brings a unique idea or an item back home that they consider amazing. This is a small step, but the idea or item may spread like wild fire.

After the original is shared, time passes along with little tweaks. It may be developed a little more to "fit" in  according to the countries preference. This is the same when it comes to food. This post is about the "global" chocolate chip cookie. Here in the US, you will find every texture variation as well as "add in" alterations, such as walnuts or peanuts. I have enjoyed many variations through the years, but I know the variations are endless.

So, if you are taking the long (but delicious) journey of sampling all the amazing chocolate chip cookies like me, be sure not to overlook this Middle Eastern variation with tahini (sesame paste). The sesame paste adds a unique hint of nuttiness to the cookie. In addition, this recipe has one of the best contrasts of salty sweet that I can think of...dark chocolate and salt. The texture is a home run as well, since each cookie has crispy edges and a soft,chewy center. The process below makes about 12-18 big and hearty cookies. Also, be sure to plan ahead,the dough requires 12 hrs of chilling time prior to baking.

Now, let's get to the kitchen....

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies
adapted from Modern Israeli Cooking

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup and 2 tbs flour or matzo cake meal
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 4 oz butter, room temp
1/2 cup tahini 
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups bittersweet or semi-sweet choc

Sea salt flakes (optional for topping)

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Sift together flour (or matzo meal), baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, tahini and sugar. Beat at medium speed for a total of 5 minutes, stopping from time to time to scrap down sides of bowl. Add the eggs and extract, then beat again for another 5 minutes.

Remove bowl from stand mixer and pour in sifted ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the batter. Once incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be much softer and lighter than regular cookie dough. Cover bowl and refrigerate for a total of 12 hours.

Once the chill time is completed, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Before you shape the dough, evaluate how large you want them. The recipe states it yields 12-18 cookies. Be aware that the size will have a direct impact on baking time. Shape the dough into balls of desired size and place on the baking sheet. Each ball should be spaced about 3 inches from the other.

Slide baking sheet in oven and bake cookies for about 13-16 minutes. The cookies will be golden on the bottom and outer edges when done. The center will still remain white, or pale. Upon removing the pan from the oven, sprinkle tops of cookies with sea salt if desired.  Let cookies cool on pan on rack for about 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to completely cool.

Tips and Notes:
1. Make sure that the tahini is mixed well prior to adding to batter.
2. The full 10 minutes of beat time is necessary to really incorporate the tahini into the dough, poor mixing results in "pockets" of tahini in your cookie batter which runs on the pan when baked.
3. My cookies took 18-20 minutes to bake.
4. These cookies will be very white in comparision to the standard chocolate chip cookie which includes brown sugar.
5. I did not use the Matzo, mainly because I only found meal instead of flour, so I cannot comment on the results of the recipe using that ingredient. 
                                     **LAST YEAR:Cranberry Black Walnut Coffeecake**