Recipe courtesy of Susan Spungen

Black and White Tahini Swirl Cookies

Black tahini, which usually is available at Whole Foods (and Amazon, of course) is inky black and typically quite a bit looser and oilier than white tahini, hence the extra flour in the black dough. The two doughs need to be more or less the same consistency so they can be kneaded together easily to create a marbled effect. If you can't find black tahini, just double the white dough and forgo the marbling. They still will look cool (and taste great) with black sesame seeds around the outside.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: Makes about 60 cookies
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Ingredients

White Dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup regular sesame tahini

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Black Dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup black tahini

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For Finishing the Cookies:

1 large egg white

6 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Flaky sea salt

Directions

  1. To make the white dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the tahini, salt, and vanilla, and beat to blend, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the flour all at once (with the machine turned off) and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Knead lightly in the bowl if needed to bring the dough together into a soft mass. Scrape onto a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To make the black dough: Without cleaning the bowl, repeat the process for making the white dough above.
  3. To combine the doughs: Divide each dough in half and pat one portion of the white dough out into an 8-by-4-inch rectangle. Top with a portion of the black dough, patting it out on top to fit.
  4. It doesn't need to be perfect! Repeat the process so you have a rectangle with 4 alternating layers. Fold over and lightly knead once or twice, give it a quarter turn, and knead again once or twice. You are trying to create a marbled effect, so be careful not to overdo it, or you will wind up with gray dough.
  5. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Now, this may sound confusing or complicated, but just bear with me and follow along and it all will make sense. Take a sheet of parchment paper about 20 inches long and lay it on the counter in front of you with the short end facing you. Place a dough piece on the lower quarter of the paper, then fold the paper over the dough. Get a small baking sheet with a straight edge (no protruding handles). Now place your hand under the fold, and firmly hold the bottom part of the sheet in place. Using the short end of the baking sheet, tap kind of vigorously against the paper-covered dough, forming it into a tight log. Use the parchment to roll the log back to the starting position and repeat the process 3 or 4 times until you have a perfectly cylindrical log about 7 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If it becomes too long, simply push the ends together to shorten it, then tap a few more times. Roll the log up in the sheet of parchment, twist the ends, and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour or two. Repeat with the remaining dough. You will have 4 logs.
  6. To form and bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. When ready to bake, beat the egg white using a fork, with a teaspoon of water to thin it out. Spread the sesame seeds out on a small baking sheet. Very lightly brush the outside of a log with the egg white. Roll in the sesame seeds, pressing hard to coat the log completely. Repeat with the remaining logs. Cut the log into generous 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Very lightly brush the tops of the cookies with egg white (you should be able to do about 6 cookies with every dip of the brush) and sprinkle judiciously with flaky salt. Repeat until all the dough has been sliced. Bake for 17 minutes if baking one sheet at a time, or 20 minutes if baking 2 at a time, or until the cookies are barely starting to brown around the edges and they are slightly puffed and crackled. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cook’s Note

Timing Tip: The parchment-wrapped logs can be put into a resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days in the fridge or a month in the freezer. Defrost for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Bake as desired.

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