I’m having a blast at the ethnic grocery store right down the street from my house. The place is always packed, and the prices are way better than most grocery stores. Since it’s a heavily trafficked store, I know the turn-over is great. Fresh, fresh, fresh!
I picked up some fresh tahini (if I told you the price, you would slap yourself—no more $18 tahini at Whole Foods, thanks!) with the intent to make hummus. For some reason, all I can stomach for breakfast lately is hummus, vegetables, a hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk. It’s weird, but I’m going to ride it out because it sounds healthy. I will admit to stepping into Whole Foods long enough last week to grab their flyer. I’m hooked on the money-saving recipes in their monthly flyers, however ironic they may be (I have a recipe for saving money: shop somewhere else. I kid, I kid. I love WF). Anyway, a recipe for sesame chocolate chip cookies made with tahini jumped off the page. Why have I never thought of this? Then, I saw Dula Note’s Tahini Swirl brownies and just about died. Those are next, my little pretties.
I’m not about to claim this to be a healthy cookie. People ask me all the time about how I eat. It’s the most personal question I can think of, and it’s really best if you just come to my house for dinner so I can show you. I would say the diet I align with most is the Mediterranean diet. But, I have a strong love for ethnic foods, too. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to make more Indian food at home. I couldn’t quite define my eating habits until this month’s Rachel Ray magazine. Gabriella Gershenson wrote an article entitled ‘The New Mediterranean Diet’ that captures the foods from the entire coast that touches the Mediterranean Sea. Not just southern Europe anymore, her definition includes north Africa, the Middle East and a slip of Asia. Now, THIS is how I eat. I eat lots of lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains, but with heavy North African spices and Middle Eastern Flavors. And if I don’t have some variation of Asian food once a week, you can find me in the fridge with a spoon in the red curry paste jar. (Don’t try that).
Maybe it doesn’t bother you to not be able to clearly expound upon your diet, but it was making me fret. I felt like I was dodging the question with my vague answer: ‘oh, I eat mostly healthy, but I do shove a cupcake in my pie hole on the reg’. Or, is it pie into my cupcake hole?
The one way my diet unmistakably differs from the Mediterranean diet is dessert (duh!). While the new Mediterranean diet touts dessert to be strictly dried fruits and nuts, I’m all GIMME THE CHOCOLATE over here. I eat lots of dried fruits as snacks, not dessert. This leaves plenty of room for a warm chocolate chip cookie.
If you’ve never cooked with tahini, try it! It’s just pureed sesame seeds—you know, the ones on your hamburger bun? They’re nutty and slightly sweet. And they’re gloriously gooey in chocolate chip cookies. Let’s do this!
- 1/4 cup all-natural tahini (see note)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup chocolate chunks
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer on medium the tahini and butter. Add the brown sugar and beat well, until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
- Next, add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Sprinkle the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder evenly over the mixture, then beat until just combined--do not over-mix.
- Finally, stir in the chocolate chunks with a spatula.
- Make 8 scoops of dough on the cookie sheet, and sprinkle each cookie with a bit of the toasted sesame seeds.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the edges are starting to brown.
- Let cool on sheet pan for 1 minute, and then move to wire rack to cool completely.
About tahini: The brand I use is 100% natural tahini. The only ingredient is sesame seeds. No salt. Nothing but ground toasted sesame seeds.