We have a new neighbor and I can't decide if I straight up hate him/her/it (let's go with him for the sake of simplicity) or appreciate him for all his talents. That sentence might read crazy but goodness, I just can't decide how I feel. From about 10:50 pm till around 3:00 am, this neighbor goes off. I'm talking full-blown concerto. The first few nights he took the stage, I barely slept a wink and after about a week of resenting him, I think I've moved past hate and have entered the realm of appreciation (I think). Mind you, this new attitude is shocking, no one is more surprised than I am to hear myself say that, especially after the copious amounts of "shut the *bleep* up" and several other phrases that resemble the first.
"Damn you mockingjay" was beginning to be the way I greeted the new day. Side note: I realize mockingjay is a telltale sign that I've read a too much YA fiction. But this mockingjay, I mean mockingbird, was seriously starting to consume my life guys and I feel like it was making me a tad bit crazy. However, after saying all of that, the tables totally turned the other day and I decided to listen to his song, rather than cursing the day he was born. And guess what, that mockingbird, sure does sing a pretty song. I mean, he's insanely awesome and the sounds that bird can make, WOW. Just wow. So good it justifies some 50/50 love/hate action in this house now (I'm still not sleeping through the nights so we haven't tipped the scales all the way in the other direction quite yet).
If you're sitting here and thinking what does this bird have to do with cookies, I promise I'm getting to the point. You see, when you lay awake for hours on end, thanks to a neighbor who's symphony runs late night, you have a lot of time to think about, well, a lot of things. Like these cookies. You see, the idea for these cookies came to me late one night after I stumbled into the kitchen for a late night snack, only to learn that I had eaten the last of the do-si-dos earlier that day. While I laid awake in bed, hungry, I dreamt up my version of those ever famous do-si-dos. I think it's safe to assume that you all know about my black sesame obsession by now but I'm not one to discriminate and white sesame is totally my jam too.
Anyway, that same do-si-do(not) night, I got to thinking about why aren't there more cookies with sesame butter and then decided I'd solve my own dilemma and make some! Tahini (white sesame butter) is super creamy and light and such a wonderful addition to any cookie. It gives that nutty, or in this case seedy, flavor you'd look for in a peanut butter cookie but it's subtle and almost indiscernible. Moses ate a whole cookie and couldn't figure out what was giving it the nuttiness. If you're a fan of sesame, or if you're interested in becoming a fan, make these cookies. They're a good introduction into the world of sesame for newbies and a reminder of why you fell in love with the stuff for all you long time lovers. Happy baking and happy Wednesday, guys!!
Double Tahini Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Thomas Keller's Better Nutters Recipe Via Saveur Magazine
Makes 20 to 24 sandwich cookies
- 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 c. tahini (white sesame butter)
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste, such as Nielsen-Massey
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1/2 c. tahini
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Black or white sesame seeds
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Stand mixer
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- 2" round biscuit cutter
- Rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat mats
- Small saucepan
- Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- Glass measuring cup
- Candy thermometer
- Wire rack
- Offset spatula
- Piping bag with round tip
- Combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together; set aside.
- Combine butter, sugar, tahini, honey, and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, around three to four minutes. Add egg and beat for forty seconds.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in four parts, and beat on low until just combined. Remove bowl from stand and stir in oats and sesame seeds with silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
- Transfer dough a sheet of plastic wrap, form into a 5-inch by 7-inch brick, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, around two hours.
- Remove brick from fridge and transfer to a floured work surface. Using rolling pin, roll until a 1/4-inch thick. Flour surface and dough as necessary--the dough is sticky.
- Using a two inch round cutter, cut out 40 to 48 rounds. Use a floured offset spatula to transfer cookies to pre-lined sheets and leave at least one inch space between rounds. Freeze until cookies are firm, at least 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 325°F while chilling cookies. Bake until golden brown, around 16 -18 minutes. Let cool on sheet for five minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Adjust speed to lowest speed to keep egg whites moving.
- Bring sugar and 1/4-cup water to a boil in small saucepan, swirling pan to help dissolve sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to pan, and cook, without stirring, until syrup reaches 248°F. Promptly remove from heat, and turn mixer speed up to medium-high speed and beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Adjust speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle sugar syrup into whites. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, bring speed up to medium-high and beat until whites hold stiff peaks and are room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add butter, a couple pieces at a time, until the buttercream is smooth and totally emulsified.
- Measure out 1-1/2 cups and place in a medium mixing bowl; reserve remaining buttercream for another use.
- Add tahini, honey, and salt, and whisk together with whisk until smooth. Transfer to piping bag fitted with round tip.
- Place half of the cookies top side down on a baking sheet, and pipe buttercream almost to the edge of each cookie then top with a remaining plain cookie and sandwich together. You can sprinkle on sprinkles or sesame seeds onto the sandwiched buttercream edges if you desire. Refrigerate cookies to firm buttercream for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!