Tahini cookies


I was reading Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem not so long ago and the preamble to his recipe for tahini cookies.  It appears a few years ago, tahini cookies were all the rage in Israel.  I had never heard of them but was interested as Ottolenghi advised they taste like halva, which I absolutely adore. The association makes sense because halva is made with tahini and sugar, two key ingredients in these yummy biscuits.

I always remember my very first experience with halva.  It was on our first overseas holiday – the one year Europe trip – our first stop was Athens.  We must have read about halva as it was high on our must eat list.  We found some in a market and bought a massive block of it – about a 6 inch square.  Those who know halva would know how rich it is and how that much halva would normally last quite a while.  Maus and I finished it before we got back to our hotel and returned for more!  I have loved it ever since.  We always have some tucked away in the cool room for when something sweet is called for.

As a consequence, I am interested in anything that, reportedly, tastes like halva.   I decided to give the recipe a go.

We loved them.  They are a bit like halva-flavoured short bread.  I wasn’t even going to take a photo.  I was so certain we would make them again, I knew there would be other opportunities but, as an after thought, I took this shot of the remaining few.

I was right.  I did make them again – today, in fact.  And it is not just me who loves them.  I put two on a plate, one for me and one for Maus and Maus ate them both.


  • 130g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 110g tahini
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 25mls double cream (I just used ordinary cream)
  • 270g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. Place the sugar and butter in an electric mixer bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until just combined.
  3. Add the tahini, vanilla and cream and beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour and mix with a spoon until the dough comes together.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands until well combined and smooth.
  6. Take spoonsful of dough and roll into balls, about the size of a walnut.
  7. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper, about 3 cm apart.
  8. Use the back of a fork to push down lightly on top of the ball to flatten it slightly.
  9. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on each biscuit.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden (you have to watch them closely as the bottoms brown quickly).
  11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

19 thoughts on “Tahini cookies

  1. These look really wonderful Glenda and I love your perfect fork marks on the cookies. Not a fan of halva but am a huge fan of tahini. I think you might want to have some cookies when Maus is not around. 🙂

  2. I’d never heard of tahini biscuits either until I saw a recipe on David Lebovitz’s website and made them. And now I’m addicted too – they are so moreish aren’t they? I’m with you on the halva front too – I always bring a tub back with me from Melbourne. I’m not very good at sharing it though!

  3. It’s wonderful that we’re so multicultural these days. I love halva and tahini and am sure I’ll feel the same about these biscuits. To think that you once had to travel overseas to experience something as exotic as halva. Now the world has come to us.

    • Hi Mary. You are so right. There is not much you can’t get close to home these days. I live in a country town with two small supermarkets. Both sell Tahini. It used to be you could only get it at health food stores. Remember the days when you bought olive oil at the pharmacy?

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