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- Baking with Sourdough Discard
- 🔍 Tips for Making Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
- How to Store Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
- ❓ Sourdough Tahini Cookies FAQs:
- Other Sourdough Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
These easy Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies only use a handful of ingredients to make a savory and sweet sourdough discard cookie that comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Despite their tender, shortbread-like texture, these cookies don’t contain butter. Instead, I use tahini (sesame seed paste), which provides the necessary fat for these cookies.
Made with honey, these tahini cookies a halva-like flavor (but less sweet), and they’re coated in sesame seeds like other traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sesame cookies.
This earthy cookie is perfect for those who enjoy bold flavors and less sweet desserts. Moreover, they are egg-free and easily adaptable to a dairy-free version, making them an excellent alternative to traditional peanut butter cookies.
👉 For more cookie recipes, check out the recipes for these Sourdough Discard Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Raspberry Sourdough Biscotti, Brown Butter Sourdough Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and these chewy Sourdough Snickerdoodle Cookies.
Baking with Sourdough Discard
For many reasons, sourdough discard is an excellent ingredient to add to recipes.
Sourdough discard is unfed sourdough starter that may typically be thrown away during the regular feeding process.
Not only does sourdough discard add a slightly tangy flavor to baked goods, but it also tenderizes and helps them keep longer.
It’s my “not-so-secret ingredient” for flaky and tender pastries, such as my Sourdough Pie Crust, Sourdough Discard Blueberry Scones, Sourdough Biscuits with Cheddar and Chives, and Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes.
While I developed this recipe using refrigerated sourdough discard, you’re welcome to use active and bubbly sourdough starter instead.
🔍 Tips for Making Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
- For chewy cookies, only bake them until they’re just set and the bottoms are lightly brown.
- To encourage spreading, flatten the cookies slightly before baking and use a spoon or flatten them more while hot after baking.
- Toast your sesame seeds for more sesame flavor.
- The recipe doesn’t require chilling, but if the dough is too wet, chill before baking to make scooping easier.
- Only mix until the flour is hydrated for tender cookies.
🛠 Tools Needed:
See below for my favorite tool recommendations to help you make these cookies.
- Baking Scale: Weigh your ingredients for the best and most precise results.
- Spatula and Whisk: For mixing, stirring, and scraping the sides of the bowl.
- Cookie Scoop, optional, but helpful: For even-sized cookies, I use a 1 ½ to 2 TBS scoop (#40).
- Baking Sheets: Line your cookie or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easy transfer and to prevent sticking.
- You can mix the cookies by hand or you can use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
See below for my favorite ingredient recommendations, substitutions, and purpose for ingredients.
- All-purpose flour: For more flavor, substitute some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, spelt flour, buckwheat, or einkorn.
- Baking soda: The baking soda does all of the leavening and helps make them puffy, chewy, and assists with browning.
- Kosher salt: Salt helps offset some of the bitterness of the tahini and brings out the sesame flavor.
- Tahini (sesame seed paste): Use a high-quality, smooth tahini for this recipe (Soom, Joyva, and Seed + Mill are all good). If your tahini is chunky, stir and break it apart.
- If you love tahini, or sesame paste, you might enjoy this Black Sesame Sourdough Bread!
- Honey: Honey is the primary liquid sweetener and flavor in these, so I don’t recommend swapping out for granulated sugar or another sweetener (although maple syrup would be my first choice!).
- Light brown sugar: A little helps the cookies spread and adds a bit more depth of sweetness and more moisture to the dough.
- Sourdough Discard (or active starter): You can use either active starter or sourdough discard in this recipe.
- Whole Milk: Adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to the cookies helps them spread more and have a chewier texture (I tested without, and they were a little dry!). To make them dairy-free, use plant-based milk or water.
- Vanilla extract: Use vanilla bean paste for more vanilla flavor.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds: Toast your sesame seeds before baking. This will bring out their flavor and add a crunch to the outside of the cookies. I like a mixture of white and black sesame seeds for contrast.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest to a dash of brightness to these cookies.
- For a chocolate chip cookie substitution, I recommend adding some cocoa nibs in these! They’re smaller and nutrient-dense.
- To make a gluten-free version, substitute the all-purpose flour with almond flour (almond meal) or another gluten-free flour.
- For even more nutty flavor, substitute the vanilla extract with almond extract.
👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
Follow this visual and detailed step-by-step recipe guide as you make these sourdough tahini cookies.
1. Toast the Sesame Seeds and Mix the Dry Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
If your sesame seeds aren’t already toasted, toast them in a small skillet over medium heat.
This should only take a couple of minutes, so keep your eye on them! As soon as you smell the sesame or see any browning, transfer them to a small, shallow bowl to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. Mix the Wet Ingredients
Whisk together the tahini, honey, and light brown sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Make sure no clumps of tahini or brown sugar remain.
Add the sourdough, discard, and mix until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Then, add the milk and vanilla extract.
The mixture will be thick and gooey.
Can I use a stand mixer? Yes, you can use a stand mixer to make this dough. I prefer to mix by hand because it helps to make sure you don’t overmix the cookie dough.
3. Mix the Sourdough Tahini Cookie Dough
Dump in the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until there’s no visible flour.
This tahini cookie dough is very wet and sticky, so if you think scooping and rolling them will be difficult, you can chill the dough for 15 minutes to make it easier to roll.
Make ahead: The cookie dough can be made up to three days in advance. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Before baking, let it come to room temperature before rolling in the sesame seeds and baking.
To freeze, portion the cookie dough into balls, roll them in sesame seeds, and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and freeze. Then, remove the balls and place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before baking so they’ll spread.
4. Coat in Sesame Seeds
Scoop the cookie dough into about 16 two TBS equal-sized balls.
Then, roll between the palm of your hands (lightly flour if needed), and dip the top of the balls into the bowl of sesame seeds.
I only coat the tops of the cookies in sesame seeds as I think it adds enough crunch and flavor, but you’re welcome to coat the entire balls in sesame seeds.
Set the balls on your parchment-lined baking sheet a couple of inches apart and press down on the tops slightly. This will help them spread more.
Due to the tahini and honey in this recipe, it’s normal if your balls flatten some after placing them on the cookie sheet.
Tip to Sticky Dough: The cookie dough is very sticky, so you can refrigerate it for 10 minutes or longer to make it easier to roll out.
I also recommend lightly flouring the palms of your hands and tip of your fingers to prevent sticking.
Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until cookies are just set and lightly golden brown on the bottoms.
Avoid overbaking, or you’ll get a tougher cookie.
Finally, enjoy the sourdough tahini cookies! They’re excellent served with a drizzle of honey, or with coffee or tea.
How to Store Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
These cookies store very well and remain chewy for a few days because of the tahini, honey, and sourdough discard.
Before storing, let the cookies cool completely to avoid trapping any moisture.
You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a 4 days at room temperature. You’ll get a a couple more days out of them if they’re stored in the refrigerator.
I don’t recommend freezing these cookies since they’re already so easy and quick to bake!
However, if you do you can freeze, thaw, and slowly reheat the baked cookies.
❓ Sourdough Tahini Cookies FAQs:
Why is my cookie dough so sticky and wet?
It’s normal for these tahini cookies to be sticky due to their high-fat content (tahini) and honey. Use lightly floured palms and fingers to roll and coat the cookies, which should help! You can also refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes if needed.
Can you ferment the cookie dough?
You can let the cookie batter ferment slightly overnight in the refrigerator if you’d like.
How do you make the honey tahini cookies spread more?
Don’t chill the batter, or if you do, let the cookie dough or pre-rolled balls come to room temperature before baking. You can also press down on the tops of the cookies before baking to encourage more spreading.
Are these egg-free?
Yes! There are no eggs used in this sourdough tahini cookie.
Can I use active sourdough starter?
Other Sourdough Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy:
Sourdough Tahini Honey Cookies
- If your sesame seeds aren't already toasted, toast them in a small skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes until they're fragrant and lightly brown. Transfer to a small bowl.Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.36 g Sesame Seeds
- Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.130 g All-purpose flour, ½ tsp Baking soda, ½ tsp Kosher salt
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, honey, and light brown sugar. Be sure to break apart any clumps of tahini and brown sugar until the mixture is thick and smooth.Add the sourdough discard and mix thoroughly incorporated. Then, add the whole milk and vanilla extract.The mixture will be very wet and sticky.128 g Tahini, 113 g Honey, 38 g Light brown sugar, 120 g Sourdough discard, 38 g Whole Milk, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no floury spots remain.
- Scoop 2 TBS of the dough and roll into balls, very lightly flouring your hands to prevent sticking. Dip the tops of the cookies in the bowl of sesame seeds to coat the toss and place a couple of inches apart on the baking sheet.Press down the tops slightly to encourage some spreading.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes until the cookies just set and the bottoms are light brown. Use a spoon to press down on the tops for chewier cookies.
- Follow my guide for more detailed instructions and photos to make this recipe step-by-step, along with more baking tips.
- You can store the baked sourdough tahini honey cookies for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will become less chewy over time.