I have a weakness for chewy treats, and I love the taste of tahini.

It’s no wonder this recipe has become a favorite treat of mine. The sesame seeds in this recipe provide just the right amount of chewiness, and the tahini an interesting taste. To boot, these blondies keep well; I recently brought a box of them along on a hiking trip with my daughter. The blondies were a delicious pick-me-up at several picnic spots. Digging that box out of my backpack was like a bit of magic, and thankfully they stayed good for an entire week.

Tahini, the sesame paste that is typical to Middle Eastern dishes, is widely available nowadays. I actually buy mine in the ethnic foods section at Walmart.

You’ll also need an 8 x 8″ baking pan and parchment paper to line it with, but other than that, here goes:

Chewy Tahini Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you can also use 1/2 cup of olive oil), more softened butter or oil for greasing the pan

1 1/4 cups flour (gluten-free flour works fine, I use Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour by King Arthur)

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp. sesame seeds

3/4 cups light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup tahini paste

Put sesame seeds in a small pan over low heat and toast, stirring frequently, until they become aromatic, about 10 minutes. You don’t want them to brown. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the 8-inch square baking pan, then line it with two crisscrossing strips of parchment paper, buttering between each layer and leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter the top and sides of the parchment. (You can also use oil for this.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, pepper, and toasted sesame seeds.

In another medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla until it’s a smooth mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then fold in the tahini until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden on the outside, 25 to 30 minutes. The center needs to remain soft.

Let cool in pan, the lift out and cut into 9 squares.


Adapted from Sababa: My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman