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 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.