Tahini and pine nuts were among the almost-expired foods that I unearthed during a recent spring clean of my kitchen. Hoping to minimise food wasting, I searched for and found an easy recipe that calls for both tahini and pine nuts from a wonderful food blog, Israeli Kitchen.
I chose to use butter rather than margarine because butter might withstand baking temperature better than margarine and is therefore more stable. I used the same amount of ingredients with the original Israeli Kitchen’s recipe, except for the sugar which I reduced by ¼. Forming each cookie with a heaped teaspoon of the cookie mixture, I ended up with 60 cookies.
Not one to read recipes word by word, I found out the hard way that the cookies should not be handled immediately after baking. After the first batch of cookies was done, I could not wait to try them and was sorely disappointed to find that the cookie I grabbed disintegrated like powder. After leaving the cookies to cool for another 10 minutes just to be sure, I had cookies that held their shapes when handled and melted in the mouth.
The cookies were almost perfect, tasting similar to peanut butter cookies, bar the bitter aftertaste from baked tahini. At first, it was quite unpleasant. But, the more I ate them, the more my tastebud became used to the bitter aftertaste. By my last cookie (after a little bit of sharing with others, of course), I found these cookies to be quite perfect after all.
Tahini and Pine Nut Cookies
Slightly modified from the Israeli Kitchen blog’s recipe (See: http://www.israelikitchen.com/home-bakery/tehina-cookies/).
Makes: about 60 cookies (1 heaped teaspoon per cookie)
200g soft butter
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup tahini. If there’s a layer of oil floating on top of the jar, stir in back in.
2 cups plus 4 Tbsp (15mL tablespoon) flour
1 tsp baking powder
Optional: 5 Tbsp pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F).
Cream the margarine and the sugar together.
Add the vanilla and the tahini and blend again.
Combine the flour and the baking powder; add to the tahini mixture.
Form balls the size of walnuts (or use 2 teaspoons to form the mixture) and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. The dough is dry and crumbly, so squeeze it together to make the balls.
If adding the pine nuts, form one cookie ball; take 2 or 3 pine nuts into your left palm, and with your right hand, press the ball onto them. Reverse it onto the baking sheet. If the ball crumbles slightly, just squeeze it back into shape with your fingertips.
Bake for 13-15 minutes. Do not bake longer. The cookies need a little moisture to retain their shape and not crumble.
Cool the baking tray on a rack, and don’t touch the cookies for at least 5 minutes. If they’re handled while hot, they will fall apart.