I have a weak spot for shortbread cookies. And that spot gets even weaker if the shortbread flirts with a savory side, like a touch of sesame, in this case, black tahini. The darker, grayish color of the dough makes it perfect for Halloween times. If you stop by my cookie blog tomorrow, I will be sharing particularly spooky versions using this exact same dough. Heads up: a little tutorial I used for one of the spooky cookies is available in the Facebook group “Painting with Sugarprism.” If that interests you, check it out and ask to join. It is a super fun and interesting group, hosted by Michelle Ingalls. And now, without further ado… the Black Tahini Shortbread Cookies…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, very cold, cut in pieces
280g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black sesame paste (I used Kevala)
luster powder + vodka to paint (optional)

Heat oven to 350F.

Place the butter, flour, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process pulsing on and off until the butter is in small little pieces. Stop the processor, add the sugars and the black sesame paste. Keep processing until the mixture forms a ball that starts to glue together. You might need to clean the bowl and spread things around once or twice.

Stop the processing, transfer the dough to a countertop, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Roll the dough and use any type of stamp of cookie cutter of your choice. Place the cut cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet and freeze for about 15 minutes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Times will vary depending on the size of your cookie and your oven.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve been using the food processor method for shortbread as described by Helen Fletcher in her new book, which I recently reviewed. For my personal taste, these are total winners. Shortbread is a very simple cookie, that needs pretty much nothing in terms of adornment. No icing, no dusting with powdered sugar, although those things can still happen if you like to gild the lily. The tahini gives the cookie an adult feel, less sweet, very intriguing. And the color of the cookie screams Halloween. I invite you to stop by my cookie blog tomorrow to get spooked. But in the meantime, consider adding this recipe to your list of things to bake. You won’t regret it.

Cookie press available here.

Cat fondant press available here.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Fruitful Trio (of Macarons)

TWO YEARS AGO: Halloween Entremet Cake

THREE YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kansas Corn Chowder

FIVE YEARS AGO: Impossibly Cute Bacon and Egg Cups

SIX YEARS AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

NINE YEARS AGO: On my desk

TEN YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo


These are the perfect cookies for grown-ups. Not too sweet, with a nice tahini flavor. They look stylish in their black and white nature, with the added bling of black sparkling sugar around the edges. I saw this recipe on the New York Times and made it the following day. But, guess what? I was not very happy with the outcome, because the cookies ended up too big. In their recipe, the full block is sliced to form the cookies. I changed things around a bit, and cut the block in half first. They turned out quite a bit more delicate. This version I am happy with, so I share it with you…

(adapted from The New York Times)

385 grams all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
Cooking spray
225 grams unsalted butter, softened
125 grams confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup plain tahini
3 tablespoons black tahini
coarse black sanding sugar (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, salt and baking powder; set aside. Coat a loaf pan (9 x 5) with cooking spray, then line with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and the vanilla; beat on medium-high until combined, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined; then increase speed to medium and beat until dough starts to clump together.

Remove dough from bowl, knead lightly and form into a fat log. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut into two pieces, one about 1/3 of the dough, and the other 2/3 of the dough. Return the larger piece to the bowl, add the plain tahini, and beat on medium speed until fully combined. Remove from bowl and set aside. Add the smaller piece and the black tahini to the bowl and beat on medium speed until fully combined.

On a floured surface, using a bench scraper or a knife, cut the white dough in half. Pat half the white dough into a 5-inch square. Cut the black dough in half, then pat half the black dough on top of the flattened white dough to match dimensions. Repeat with remaining white dough, then black dough, so you have four alternating layers of white dough and black dough. Cut in half crosswise, and gently knead and roll one piece to marble the two colors together. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Stack both pieces of dough together and briefly knead the pieces together to form one dough. The idea is to marble the colors, so do as much or as little as you like.

Press dough into prepared pan, and fold the plastic wrap over the top to seal. Gently press down to even out the surface as much as possible. Chill until firm,  at least a few hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the egg white with 1 teaspoon water to thin it out. Spread the sanding sugar out on a small baking sheet. Remove the block of dough from the loaf pan and unwrap it. Trim the slanted sides and the top if you want them really square. Cut it in half lengthwise, so that you’ll have two equal blocks of  cookie dough. Very lightly brush the outside of each block with the egg white mixture. Press  firmly to coat all sides (except the ends) with the sugar, sprinkling and pressing it on to cover any bare spots.

Cut each block into thin slices (less than 1/4 inch) and lay them out 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes. Bake until cookies are golden underneath, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: These are quite likely my favorite cookie of this crazy year.  Well, you know I am partial to macarons, but macarons are pretty sweet. Truth is, I like to dream about designs and flavors, bake them, but once I eat one, I’m satisfied. These cookies are quite a bit more dangerous… They have that savory-sweet quality that I find hard to resist. The black sparkling sugar is a nice touch, but you can skip that step with no major harm done. Halloween is approaching. I see no parties, no get-togethers, but I definitely see a batch of these babies, in orange and black. What do you think?

On the picture above you can see the first batch, slicing the full block of cookie dough to make the cookies. Maybe you would prefer them that way, but I definitely like the smaller better.

Each one, so unique!


ONE YEAR AGO: Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffle

TWO YEARS AGO: Strawberry-Mango Entremet Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Hommage to the Sun

FOUR YEARS AGO: Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Almond Vinaigrette

FIVE YEARS AGO: Eggplant Tomato Stacks

SIX YEARS AGO: The Couscous that Wasn’t

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Apple-Cinnamon Bread

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Blueberry Galette

NINE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, August 2011

TEN YEARS AGO: Journey to a New Home

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Friday Night Dinner