Like most schools these days, ours is a “nut-free zone”. While peanuts are their main concern, they have banned all nuts to be on the safe side. This has led to considerable confusion about what counts as a nut – are coconuts allowed? Pine nuts? Sunflower seeds?
Strictly speaking they are all seeds – peanuts, almonds, coconuts, sesame seeds, the lot… And which seeds are considered nuts depends on whether you ask a cook or a botanist.
It’s very different to my school days, when half the class brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches daily, and peanut butter cookies were standard lunchbox fare.
I love peanut butter cookies, but only bake them in the summer holidays. I hoped these Israeli tahini cookies might tick some of the same boxes as good peanut butter cookie, and am pleased to say they do. Crisp, melting, nutty, delicious…
So while sesame seeds are still allowed on the school premises, I’ll be making these on a regular basis. The recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook.
(makes about 30)
- 130g caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 110g tahini paste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 25 ml double cream
- 270g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the tahini, vanilla and cream, then the flour. Beat until the dough comes together in a ball.
- Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth.
- Form walnut-sized balls of dough, and place them on baking sheets lined with baking parchment, 1 1/2″ inches apart. Slightly flatten each ball with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow them to harden for a few minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool.