Black Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie with Smoked Salt

Black Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie with Smoked Salt


I had an epiphany the other day. It's in form of a dark and glossy paste and it sucks you into a delicious vortex of cookie crumbs.

I've had a love affair with tahini for a while now. Traditionally, tahini is made with hulled, lightly roasted sesame. It is the heart and soul of many middle eastern and mediterranean dishes, whether as the toasty backbone of a thick and smooth hummus, or as the flaky yet creamy texture of halva. I love its versatility, and more so the velvety nuttiness it adds to both savoury and sweet food.

After staring into a jar of black sesame paste the other day, it finally occurred to me that this inky paste is kind of like tahini's darker and more intense cousin and could be used basically the same way. Black sesame paste is most commonly made from unhulled black seeds. In Asia, its culinary usage varies from an earthy broth base for Japanese kurogoma ramen, to the luscious Cantonese black sesame sweet soup.

These chocolate chip cookies replaces a portion of butter with black tahini that gives a perfectly soft and chewy cookie an earthy edge. And on top of that, pools of molten dark chocolate and bursts of deep smoked salt. I use a combination of tahini and black sesame paste to mellow out the intense flavor, but for those feeling especially goth feel free to play with the ratio of black and white. Smoke, salt, chocolate. Are you sold yet?


A note on salt:
Smoked salt is salt that has been cold smoked with wood chips to induce a smoky flavour. Common smoked salts found in supermarkets are flavoured with hickory or applewood, the same kind of wood used to smoke bacon and salmon. At the end of the day, this is all up to your personal preference. Feel free to use any type and form of salt or smoked salt for this recipe. I used this coarse Maine Sea Salt Company hickory smoked salt for the cookie dough and this Maldon smoked sea salt flake to top off the baked cookies.

Black Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie with Smoked Salt

Makes 16-24 cookies. Adapted from David Lebovitz.

Cookies are probably the easiest thing to bake at home, but only if you understand that each oven works differently. On your first batch, check the cookies around 3 minutes before the recommended bake time, and pay attention to how much the dough spreads and browns. Look for visual clues rather than follow the recipes baking time to the T. Keep a close eye on them during the final minutes of baking, and mark down the number minutes you took to bake the cookies and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Dry ingredients:
180g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon smoked salt
235g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
flaky smoked salt, to garnish

Wet ingredients:
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
90g black tahini/black sesame paste
60g tahini, mixed
110g granulated sugar
100g soft brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, black sesame paste, tahini, and sugars on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is fluffy and smooth. Scrape down the sides occasionally.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, and continue to mix for another minute, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl for a few times. Mix until the eggs are fully incorporated and emulsified.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and smoked salt. Start the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until almost combined. Remove from the mixer stand and mix in the chocolate chunks with a wooden spoon. Do not overmix. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  5. Form the dough into rounds using an ice cream scoop. Place them evenly spaced on the baking sheets, 2 to 3-inches apart. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, turning the sheet pan midway during baking, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the center slightly puffed up.
  6. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the tops with flaky smoked salt, to taste. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet until they are firm enough to handle. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  7. To store, place cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Unbaked cookie dough can be refrigerated for a week and frozen for up to 3 months.
Torta de Mil Hojas (Chilean Thousand Layers Cake)

Torta de Mil Hojas (Chilean Thousand Layers Cake)

Pastry Basics: Danish Pastry Dough

Pastry Basics: Danish Pastry Dough