My Date with Tahini

Let’s talk about dates. Luxuriously plump medjool dates to be precise. And tahini. Unroasted oozy sesame tahini.

 

A few short months ago, I didn’t think my love for dates and tahini could get any stronger, but Israel changed my mind.

Before Israel, dates and tahini sat alongside some of my other favorite ingredients like cinnamon, kale, olives and vanilla extract. After Israel, however, my love for these two foods has morphed into more of an obsession than anything else. A sweet, sweet obsession that is only growing stronger as I continue to haphazardly throw dates and tahini into any and every meal possible.

Utterly delicious on their own, both dates and tahini can be used in countless ways.

I like to sneak tahini into salad dressings, in rice or quinoa dishes, as an added component to roasted vegetables (like my tahini-roasted cauliflower dish I posted a few months ago) and to add a unique depth of flavor to hot chocolate (you just need a teaspoon!).

 

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In my mind, dates are a complete food. The perfect amount of sweetness with enough oomph to get you through a long day, dates make a fantastic snack all on their own. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, as dates are a delicious natural sweetener in plant based milks; they’re also perfect chopped up in oatmeal or yogurt, and can even add an unexpected yet no less delicious sweet burst to savory dishes like green salads (with tahini dressing ;)), rice pilafs, and Middle Eastern stews.

Bring dates and tahini together though, and the possibilities for creating delicious delicacies increase tenfold!

One of my favorite quick snacks when I need an energy boost and also have a craving for something sweet is a tahini-date toast. It’s incredibly simple to whip up in a hurry and yet somehow still seems indulgent. I like to toast my bread, then ladle several large spoonfuls onto it (don’t be too neat). On top of that add some sliced medjool dates and a handful of raw cacao nibs for crunch and a bit of chocolate. A generous sprinkle of cinnamon and it’s a done deal!

When there is no time for even a tahini-date toast, or when I just want a mini morsel of deliciousness, a favorite of mine is literally a date with tahini 😀 And oh how I love my dates (with tahini ;))!

For this speediest of speedy snack, slice a date along the pit from top to bottom. Then carefully ease out the pit without breaking the date in half. In the recently vacated space pile a few spoonfuls of tahini and voila–get ready for your date with tahini!

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For the final section of this tahini-date collaboration, I’m sharing with you a delicious marriage of the two flavors in cookie form. Yes, you read that right, date and tahini cookies all the way!

These cookies are super simple to make, need only one bowl and can be ready in 30 minutes flat! Stuffed with delicious bits of coconut flakes, raisins and oats and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, they actually make a wonderful breakfast on the go, or an afternoon pick-me-up. Of course the real stars that make these cookies ooey gooey and extra delicious are the tahini and dates!

I suppose after extolling the virtues of tahini and dates for the past five minutes, I won’t torture you any longer, so without further adieu, my date with tahini cookies. Enjoy!

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My Date with Tahini Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tahini (I love this one)**
  • 1/3 cup date paste (I used this one, but you can always blend pitted medjool dates with a spoonful or two of water instead)
  • 2-3 Tbsp plant-based milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • A handful of roasted unsalted almonds to garnish

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and lining a cookie sheet with wax paper.

In a large bowl mix together the tahini, the date paste, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.

To the wet mixture add your dry ingredients except the coconut and raisins and mix well.

Finally add in the coconut flakes and raisins and mix a final time. Make sure everything is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Using a standard tablespoon (as opposed to a measuring spoon), scoop out small balls of the cookie dough and lay out on the cookie sheet with a few inches of space between each ball.

Use a sharp knife to very finely slice the almonds into thin slivers. Sprinkle these generously over each cookie and pat them down a bit so they stick.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes, turning halfway through.

Once they are slightly golden, take the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on the tray for ten minutes.

Then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely (for another thirty minutes or so). Do your best not to touch them as they cool as they will be quite soft and may easily break.

Once they’re cooled drizzle them with a bit of maple syrup or honey and they’re ready to go!

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**If after reading this post you’re still not convinced of the deliciousness of tahini, raw cashew butter makes a perfect replacement for the tahini in this recipe. The cookies turn out slightly sweeter and do not have the earthy umami undertones that the tahini gives, so if you’re feeding these to children or avid tahini-haters, using cashew butter instead is a great option.

 

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