I'll include a recipe for the rugelach in a later post, since I want to tweak the filling a little bit. My olive dip and spiced hummus were pretty weird, so I won't bother with those. Here's my version of the tahini shortbread, though. These aren't very sweet, and the tahini has a little bitter edge to it. People really liked them, though. They're sort of a grownup version of peanut butter cookies.
Tahini Shortbread Cookies
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup tahini, stirred (Note: tahini at some kind of ethnic market is going to be cheaper than what you find at the regular grocery store, if indeed you can find it there at all. Stirring up tahini that has sat for awhile is like trying to stir up cement that's settled under a pool of oil. It may help to store it upside down for several hours. If you try to use a blender or mixer to do it, try not to get sesame oil all over the kitchen. I'm just a sayin'.)
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the tahini, confectioners' sugar and salt at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead just until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 15-inch log, about 1 inch thick. Scatter the sesame seeds on a sheet of parchment paper and roll the logs until completely coated. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Unroll one log and slice it 1/4 inch thick. Roll each slice in the sesame seeds. Arrange the slices on the baking sheets. Bake the cookies in the center and lower-thirds of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden, shifting the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Slide the parchment onto a rack and let the cookies cool completely. Repeat with the second log of dough. (recipe adapted from the Food & Wine website.)