Returning to a place of normalcy after moving house has been much harder than I expected! We’ve unboxed what is essentially the past ten years of our lives in just a few weeks. We’ve donated more than half of our wardrobes for a mindful restart. We’ve been exploring the quirks of our circa 1930 home, discovering beautiful old doors in the basement and flipping light switches that don’t seem to turn anything on (ha!). It’s been an adventure, and one that requires a batch of homemade cookies to smooth ragged edges and make somewhere new feel familiar.
Yesterday I had a big jar of tahini in one hand and a freshly printed recipe for tahini cookies in the other. I’d scanned the list of ingredients, mentally checking off the things I knew were in the pantry. It seemed I was ready to go when I preheated the oven, but it was just after mise en place that I decided to read the recipe all the way through: ‘refrigerate dough for 12 hours’. What!? We couldn’t wait that long, so I scrapped the recipe decided to wing it while jotting down specifics in my recipe journal.
Success! We gave this recipe five gold stars and nary a crumb was left behind. Tahini gives ordinary cookie dough rich, toasted sesame flavor. It has a subtle presence in the baked cookie that makes you pause to admire that little something-something different after each bite. I found these were most perfect after 15 minutes at 325°F. The low temperature keeps them soft and chewy and retains the tahini flavor.
This is one of the first recipes to come from the new baking studio, which is just a walk across the yard from our new house! I thought it might be fun to share a few pictures of our gradual improvements. I’m not yet ready for any kind of big reveal (if ever – what pressure!) but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.
The biggest change we’ve made (since this) is the back splash in the kitchen. We have white subway tile in the main house kitchen so I wanted something a little different for the bake space. I’ve also been decorating with Dansk and a few mid-century pieces on the new open shelving.
We also had a new Klarstein range hood installed (you can find it here). It is surprisingly strong for a ventless hood, and it met our budget needs as well. Hopefully it will continue to do a good job. I will provide updates in a few months after earnest use. This part of the kitchen is looking homey and bright, but other parts are destined to look a bit more industrial. I’ve ordered a few stainless steel prep tables and ingredient bins that are slowly making their way here.
The entry has is a very large stairwell where I think something dramatic should happen but I’m not sure what that is yet. Natural light pours in on the other side of the half wall, so that’s where I’ve been photographing things. The photography area needs a few essentials such as a wall cork board and some organization bins – but it’s a work in progress.
At least 3/4 of the studio is carpeted, which I don’t love, but we’re keeping it for now because it is in new condition. Also, my old pug Churro can’t walk on hardwood or vinyl floors because of hip dysplasia, but he does great on carpet. He can walk around almost anywhere in the studio and that makes me happy. He’s right at home under my desk most days.
I hope you’ve enjoyed having a peek at my current progress, and I hope everyone has a chance to try these cookies (or at least experiment with tahini in baked goods!). I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to give tahini a try. It is utterly delicious and I can’t wait to make a batch of tahini brownies! You can usually find tahini paste in the international aisle at the grocery store. One tip – give the paste a good stir before you use it. Over time the paste will separate and the solids will sink to the bottom of the jar.
Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 2 dozen
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (120ml) tahini (well stirred)
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (107g) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter, tahini, and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until well incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat again until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed until the chips are well dispersed into the cookie dough.
Scoop dough into heaping tablespoons and place them at least 2-inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake for 15 minutes. The baked cookies will be pale on top and golden on the bottom. Let them stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, or until they are firm enough to transfer to a wire rack for cooling.
Cookies will keep well in an air-tight container or tightly covered in plastic wrap.