So these cookies. Where do I even start??? Imagine the texture of those soft iced sugar cookies from the bakery full of all kinds of ingredients we can’t pronounce but horrifyingly addicting nonetheless. Now remove the chemicals, replace them with ingredients you can pronounce and now add chocolate to them. The cookies themselves are incredible on their own, soft and dense, with a slightly crunchy exterior and edge from the sugar used to flatten them. But frosted, these are game changers.
The frosting has a chocolate base as well, but has smooth, nutty tahini mixed with it that really makes them next level. Most people know and recognize tahini as the sesame seed paste you use to make hummus. But if you haven’t used tahini yet in anything beyond savory applications or middle eastern cuisine, this recipe would be a wonderful way to start! This is the cookie for all people. People who love chocolate, people who love peanut butter and people who hate peanut butter. Let me explain.
You see, I LOVE peanut butter. Chocolate and peanut butter happens to be both my husband’s and my favorite dessert pairing out there. It’s the sweet with the salty that gets us every time. But chocolate & tahini is the new chocolate & peanut butter because for peanut butter lovers, it fills that same insatiable desire for the sweet with salty/nutty, and for peanut butter haters (or perhaps those with an allergy) it simply doesn’t taste like peanut butter. Its just it's own thing. I proved this theory by giving these cookies to two tough critics at opposite ends of the spectrum. To my husband, a team PB&Choc lifer, these had a surprising subtly to him that really intrigued him, but still had the sweet/salty thing goin’ on that kept him coming back for more (literally), and to my good friend who can’t stand the taste or even the smell of peanut butter, these were absolutely scrumptious as well. So what I'm saying is, you can't go wrong with these, no matter the crowd.
I finished these off with gomasio, or toasted salted sesame seeds, (from the shop tab of my foodie friend Urban Kitchen Apothecary) as well as a sprinkling of Jacobsen Salt Co. vanilla bean salt, because I am straight obsessed. But any flaky salt will do, or sprinkles or pearled sugar. No topping police here.
I always feel like I should conclude these little blurbs or descriptions with: “Enjoy!!!” But I really don’t have to tell you. You will.
What You’ll Need
For The Cookies
1 3/4 c. + 2 tbs flour (unbleached, all-purpose is my go-to)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup + 2 tbs pure cane sugar (plus more for flattening)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup oil (an olive oil with subtle flavor, avocado oil, or vegetable oil would all be fine in these. I wouldn’t recommend coconut oil or anything that is solid at room temperature)
For The Frosting
4 tbs unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3 tbs tahini
1.5 cup powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy)
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 tbs cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
For The Toppings (optional)
Choose any or all of the following:
gomasio, or toasted sesame seeds
flaky sea salt
What You’ll Do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
In a stand mixer or a bowl with electric beaters, cream together butter and both sugars until pale and well combined. Add in the oil and mix again. Beat in the egg until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and incorporate on low speed until just combined. Dough will be dense and on the drier side than you may be used to seeing.
You could use a #16 scoop for this, or if you don’t have a cookie/ice cream scoop this size, divide and roll the dough into 12 balls between your palms and put 6 dough balls onto the prepped baking sheet at a time. They should be 2" apart from each other.
Pour an extra 2 tablespoons or so of sugar into a small shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Using the base of a glass cup (with the tiniest dip of water to get the sugar to initially stick if needed), liberally dunk the base of the glass in sugar, and then press out dough beneath until it just passes the edge of the cup, and do this for all the dough. Now you are creating a little well for the frosting to sit in. This is a good thing.
Bake each sheet of cookies for 8 minutes. Really, that’s it. You don’t want to overbake these so set a timer.
Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
While cookies cool completely, make frosting. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the tahini. Slowly mix in the cocoa powder, cream or milk, vanilla, and kosher salt. Once the mixture comes together, mix in the powdered sugar. Continue beating until frosting lightens and is completely smooth. Taste, and adjust according to your likes. If you want more tahini flavor, add more one teaspoon at a time, incorporating and then tasting each time. If you need to adjust the consistency (or want less tahini flavor) add more cream/milk to thin it out, or add more powdered sugar mixed with a little cocoa powder to thicken.
Spread frosting on cookies liberally and sprinkle with toppings, if desired. Store on a plate covered in cling wrap or in an airtight container in a single layer for up to two days.
This recipe makes a dozen (12) cookies.
Cookie recipe adapted from this one by The Faux Martha.