Tahini rye cookies! I mean, yes, right?! There's something so exciting about them, you can't help but picture the exclamation points (tahini! rye! cookies!) when you see them. All the goodness of nut butter and deep flavor of rye and buttery shortbread rolled into one.
Tahini is surprisingly hard to find in Algeria, where it's not a common ingredient. One of the fancier import groceries sells it, which is good, because tahini is a huge staple in our household. I like to think of tahini as the more versatile cousin to peanut butter, slipping easily between salad dressings, to baba ghanoush to sweets like halva. In Syria mothers spread flat bread with tahini and swirl it with grape molasses (dibs al-ainab), the Arab cousin of PB&J, tucked into every kids' backpack.
Tahini functions in these cookies much like peanut butter would, adding nutty flavor and a nice crumble. I love baking with rye, I think it adds just the right amount of depth to baked goods (the next time you're baking bread try substituting a small amount of the white flour for rye flour and you'll see). These cookies take literally 10 minutes to stir together, contain no eggs, and are ready in no time. Just in time for you to start saying Tahini! Rye! Cookies!
Tahini Rye Cookies
In order to measure the tahini, I recommend adding the two tablespoons of creme fraiche to your measuring cup first, then add in the tahini until you reach 1/2 cup. If you want to weigh your flour mixture the total weight should be about 260 grams.
150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar
140 grams (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons tahini
splash of vanilla extract (about 1/2 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (can also use heavy cream)
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup rye flour
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare greased or lined cookie sheets. Mix the all purpose and rye flours and salt in a small bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, I use a fork to do this, but you can also use a stand mixer. The mixture should be well combined and lightened in color. Stir in the vanilla extract. Stir in the tahini and creme fraiche. Working in batches, stir in the flour mixture until the dough comes together nicely.
3. Using your hands, roll the cookies into small balls (about 1 inch diameter or 20 grams) and place on the baking sheets. Press the cookies down with the tines of a fork to make crisscross marks. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until just barely golden. Cool on a wire rack.