I kickstart most of my mornings with a trip to the gym followed by a jaunt to one of my favourite cafés in Angel Islington. Today I spotted some vegan tahini cookies on offer and thought I’d try one with my coffee. It was delicious. And it wasn’t long after hoovering up the last of the crumbs that I was heading home again intent on baking a batch of my own.
I think I’m a bit late to the tahini party. I remember my mum being hooked on it as part of a Greek meze at our favourite family restaurant (Lemonia, Primrose Hill, London) but I’d always thought it was a bit of an acquired taste. It is however incredibly versatile, essential in many savoury dishes such as hummus and baba ganoush, but also a perfect match in sweet treats and dishes too.
Tahini actually contains more protein than milk and is a rich source of B vitamins – essential for energy boosts and brain function. As such it’s a perfect healthy snack for a pre or post workout.
Most of the recipes I came across featured oats; however the cookie I’d enjoyed was smoother, almost like shortbread. I then came across a recipe by Ceri Jones using ground almonds as the base, to which I added few seeds for that extra texture.
Makes approx 15
135g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
150g maple syrup
120g tahini (the lighter the tahini, the more subtle the flavour. Darker tahini has a stronger and slightly bitter taste)
1½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp vanilla extract
handful of sesame seeds (approx 15g)
handful of pumpkin seeds (approx 25g)
Combine the ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the maple syrup, tahini, olive oil and vanilla extract. Mix this into the dry ingredients along with the sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Wet your hands and roll the dough into approx 4cm diameter balls, place these onto a lined baking tray and flatten each with your hand so they form rough discs. Do make sure you leave enough space between each, as they will spread in the oven.
Bake for 12-15mins, or until golden brown at 180˚C.
They should be soft in the centre and crunchy round the edges.