Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

Along with Tuesday’s banana cake, I baked a batch of Eating Well Magazine’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with tahini — the ones my mom thought might be too exotic for a funeral reception. When I tasted the cookies on Tuesday, I knew my mom was going to love them and that I’d probably spend a good deal of time explaining what tahini was. We drove the cookies to Houston, and on Wednesday morning, I dropped them off in the church kitchen were my grandmother’s friends were cooking. The next few hours were teary and somber, but the tears were followed by a more upbeat lunch in the fellowship hall. I talked to my cousins, second cousins and third cousins and we vowed to get together more often than at weddings and funerals. And I hate to admit this, but I did end up discussing tahini. The subject was unavoidable because the cookies, which were served with the banana bread and another of my grandma’s favorites, banana pudding, were quite the hit and people wanted to know what was in them.

Somewhere, my grandmother is laughing at me for bringing tahini cookies to her funeral lunch. She’s also practical and probably glad her friends liked them. Next time, I’m going to make a double batch.

These cookies hold up really well, as proven by all the traveling they did. But even better, they have a thick, crunchy on the outside/dense on the in side texture with tons of different flavors – the sesame flavor being quite prominent but not unpleasant. So buy a jar of tahini and bake these cookies. While you’re at the store buying tahini, pick up some garbanzo beans so you can make hummus too.

Here’s my adaptation of the recipe. It’s basically the same, but I used slightly less cinnamon.

Oatmeal Cookies with Tahini

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used only a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined-the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten it until squat, but don’t let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time on the center rack until golden brown, about 16 minutes (I baked mine 13-14). If you bake the cookies two sheets at a time, switch the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.

Yield – EW’s yield was 45 cookies, but my yield was closer to 32.

To toast walnuts, put them in a dry skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until aromatic and toasty. Allow them to cool and crisp up a bit before using.

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  1. Jen says

    Hey, do you think this dough would keep in the fridge or freezer? I want to make up a batch of these tonight but won’t have time to bake 45 (or 32) at that time. I’d like to bake the rest of the dough later, if possible.

  2. says

    Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for pointing that out! I didn’t see that one yet, though I do read Baking Bites. I’m a little behind on my blog reading at the moment. Todd says I need to get something called “Google Reader”.

    Jen, I emailed you since you had trouble posting the comment, but yes. I am quite sure this dough would keep.

  3. says

    I have looked and looked for tahini. Does Kroger carry it or do I need to go somewhere like a wholefoods grocery? I’d love to make my own hummus some time.

  4. Lauren says

    These cookies look great. I remember seeing them in Eating Well and thinking I should make them.

    Right now I have the banana pecan cake in the oven for breakfast tomorrow. I threw in some shredded coconut too since we had some in the cupboard that I’ve been meaning to use in something. It smells REALLY good. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it whole until tomorrow!

  5. says

    The cookies sound great, Anna, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am about the loss of your beloved grandmother. She was a beautiful lady, and obviously meant a lot to you. I lost my mom a year and a half ago, and I still miss her so much. But I know she is still with me, just like your grandmother will always be looking out for you and rooting you onto many more cooking contest victories!

    Again, you have my deepest sympathies during this difficult time. –Gina

  6. says

    Anna, can I make this with just one kind of flour? I only have all purpose.

    Claire. I have a great hummus recipe that came from, believe it or not, South Beach. It’s delicious, easy and yes, you can find Tahini in a regular grocery store. I go to Ralph’s which is owned by Kroger and they have it in the international foods section. I recommend Indo-European, it tastes most like what I grew up with (half Israeli here).

    screw it, I’m doing it with the all purpose and no one can stop me!

  7. says

    Allen, I’m pretty sure all purpose would work. The cookies might not be quite as tender in the middle, but they should still be very good.

  8. says

    Hokey smokes, these are delish! I didn’t have any bittersweet so I used semi…and I used the full amount of cinammon. They’re like ginger snaps but with a small bite.

  9. says

    I made these today. Made a few changes. The cookie is good. You can definitely taste the tahini (sesame seed taste), I was short on vanilla, so that might help cover up the sesame a little, although it’s not a bad taste. I used all whole wheat pastry flour (just not using all purpose if I can help it), I omitted the cinnamon. I think next time I would add the cinnamon and leave out the chocolate chips. (I don’t really like cinnamon and chocolate together.) I think this is a good oatmeal cookie and didn’t need the chocolate. I would have added raisins (like Smitten Kitchen did), but was out of raisins. I also used 1/2 cup Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk instead of the egg called for in the recipe AND finally, just for kicks, I added 1/2 cup sweetened coconut. Good with or without. I baked some cookies before adding the choc. chips and liked the ones without better than the choc. ones–if you can believe that! A good cookie and good substitute for some of the butter by using tahini. Do I prefer peanut butter? Probably, but I still really like this cookie.

  10. says

    I am currently on a tahini kick, since discovering how extremely nutritious it is in so many ways. I’ve been looking for creative ways of incorporating tahini in regular recipes and this one sounds very interesting. I already have a great oatmeal cookie recipe but I will try subbing some of the butter for tahini next time. Thanks for the great tip! 🙂

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