Like any holiday, Valentine’s Day provides a great excuse to make cookies. If I’m being honest, every day is an excuse to make cookies, and any kind that features chocolate wins. Cookies are my favorite celebratory sweet treat: easy and inexpensive to make, easy to share, easy to eat, easy to not stop eating.
And if Valentine’s Day is all about love, then the pairing of tahini with chocolate in cookie form is wholly fitting. They’re a match that every Jewish mother would approve of. The subtle nuttiness of the tahini serves to enhance and compliment the chocolate chunks, and it also gives the cookies a great soft and chewy texture. These two independently strong flavors come together to make something greater than the sum of their parts (comparisons to romantic relationships are only semi-intended).
What I love most about these cookies is that they’re endlessly versatile. I like to add rye flour to the batter for extra nuttiness, and flake salt before baking for a pop of flavor and crunch, but you could easily use entirely all purpose flour and leave the flake salt out completely. If you’re not into chocolate, you could substitute the two cups of chocolate chunks with two cups of chopped dried fruit or chopped nuts. If you’re feeling adventurous (or frisky?) you can even use all three. In keeping with romantic clichés, just as in matters of finding true love, these cookies benefit from patience. If you chill the batter overnight the cookies taste even better when you bake them off the next day. But between you and me, you can break the rules and succumb to instant gratification and make the cookies the same day and they’ll still work out just fine.
I always hope that Valentine’s Day can be less a celebration of coupledom and traditional forms of romantic love, and more of an excuse to celebrate all love-filled relationships, including with one’s self. I can assure you that whether these are made for your partner, secret crush, lonely hearts club band, or for you yourself and only you, making these cookies in all their tahini-chocolate goodness is a rich expression of love and all things good.
Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons rye flour (optional, can substitute this with all purpose flour)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup tahini
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups (8 oz) chopped chocolate chunks or chips
Flake salt, as needed (optional)
1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, rye flour if using, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Reserve.
2. Using a stand-mixer or handheld electric mixer, cream together the tahini, butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. You can also do this by hand, but it will take slightly longer.
3. Add in the egg, and mix until well incorporated.
4. On a low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture to the tahini mixture. Mix until just incorporated, be careful not to overmix.
5. Stir in the chocolate chunks until just incorporated. Ideally, refrigerate the cookie dough for 24 hours or overnight. If you can’t wait that long, let it chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Scoop out the dough, one heaping tablespoon at a time, and roll into equal-sized balls. You can also use a small ice cream scoop to do this. Place the dough balls on the baking sheets a few inches apart — they will spread as they bake. Sprinkle the dough with flake salt, if desired.
8. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
9. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.