sesame sumac sweets
Sesame is one of those rather polarizing ingredients, isn't it? There are the haters and the lovers, and I happen to be the latter–obsessed with tahini (sesame seed paste) to the point that I blog about it a lot and slightly panic if I don't have any stocked in my fridge. I'll spoon it over everything–from breakfast cereal to bananas to salads to roasted vegetables still hot from the oven. And what's not to love? Rich in iron, calcium, and other essential "happy body" minerals, sesame seeds and tahini are also a good source of healthy fats and did I mention how much I love them? These cookies are an homage to one of my favorite ingredients, and were inspired by my tendency to dip fresh dates straight into the tahini jar, standing in front of the refrigerator in my pajamas when my late-night cravings strike. I may or may not have also then double dipped them straight in to the honey jar (please don't judge). They are soft and chewy and not overly-sweet, with the unique flavor base of tahini accented brightly by honey, bits of date rolls, and a little extra flavor oomph from the addition of sumac, a lemony spice used regularly in Middle Eastern cuisine.
• 1 cup finely ground almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
• 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp. ground sumac, plus more for sprinkling
• 3-4 large coconut-date rolls, finely chopped (see NOTE)
• 1/3 cup unsalted tahini (the brand I use tends to be thick and not overly runny)
• 1/3 cup light/mild honey
• 1 large egg white
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup sesame seeds, for rolling (I used both black and white sesame seeds here)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut, baking soda, salt, and sumac until evenly combined and not lumps remain. Fold in coconut-date roll pieces and set aside.
In another bowl, beat tahini, honey, egg white, and vanilla extract with a whisk or electric hand mixer until smooth and frothy. Pour over the bowl of dry ingredients, and fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a large spoon or rubber spatula until a sticky, thick dough forms.
Pour sesame seeds into a shallow bowl or small plate, and with wet hands, roll the dough into small (tablespoon-sized) balls, them roll the balls in the sesame seeds until well coated. Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with additional sumac to your liking. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until cookies are puffed and golden brown. Store at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerate for a longer shelf life. Makes about 20 cookies.
NOTE: Coconut-date rolls can typically be found in the bulk section of your local co-op or Whole Foods. You can substitute fresh medjool dates in a pinch, but I love the way the date rolls sort of melt into the dough as they cook. Little sweet pockets of deliciousness! Mmmm.