The legendary Black and White Cookie has been associated with New York delis for decades, it’s a cakey cookie, double dipped in chocolate and vanilla fondant. It’s simple, soft and everything you want in a grab and go cookie. I’ve always adored the half and half, black and white, yin and yang-ness of the OG version, and for years I’ve been trying to come up with my own riff on the legend.
When developing the recipe for these Black & White Tahini Cookies, I was all over the map. I tried different shapes, different sizes, considered adding some kind of nuts and incorporated dark chocolate (which was a good idea that I need to explore further), and then it came to me as I stared down at the two bottles of black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds on my counter. I finally had my own take on the B&W, Black & White Tahini Cookies!
It’s generally pretty black and white, you either like tahini or you don’t. But, I think there is a gray area, and it’s these Black & White Tahini Cookies. The tahini flavor is totally unexpected in a cookie, but when blended with a healthy dose of honey, the tahini transforms from the bitter end to a slightly sweet and smooth base, blurring the lines between cookie and biscuit. Not only do the sesame seeds add a pleasant crunch to the soft and squishy cookies, the half black/half white adds an adorable level of drama.
I’ve posted some pretty legendary peanut butter cookies on the blog over the years. I don’t know what it is but there is no better cookie dough than peanut butter cookie dough, amiright? Starting with the base recipe from my Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and my ultra squishy, ooey-gooey Peanut Butter Cookie Cups with Nutella, I adapted the recipe to sub in tahini for peanut butter. It worked like a charm, these Black & White Tahini Cookies are similar to a peanut butter cookie but way more sophisticated, basically a peanut butter cookie for grown ups. They’re just indulgent enough without being overly sweet. The black and white sesames add elegance and when paired with Earl Grey Tea, you feel like honest to goodness royalty enjoying an afternoon of high tea and fancy company. Pinkies up.
The first time I shared these Black & White Tahini Cookies with friends, they all begged me for the recipe immediately. So maybe I was wrong about there being a gray area, turns out this recipe is white hot.
They're black, they're white, they're everything you ever wanted in a cookie. Equally earthy and sweet, they're soft on the inside with a crunchy sesame shell. A yin-yang of flavor and texture.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter - 2 sticks
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large eggs - at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl, whisk to combine.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down a couple of times with a rubber spatula.
Add the tahini and honey, then cream together for about a minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl down again.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. Slowly add to the sugar mixture one egg at a time, allow the first egg to blend in completely before adding the second egg. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
With the mixer on a low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients. Once fully mixed, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend until the dough is cohesive and well mixed.
Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, form cookie dough balls and slightly press the cookies down to form chubby little disks. Place on a lined baking sheet.
Pour the black and white sesame seeds into two separate bowls, then carefully dip the cookie dough disks halfway into the white sesame seeds, gently pressing the seeds into the dough if they aren't sticking. Repeat on the other side with the black sesame seeds. Transfer the sesame cookie dough disks to a lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes to firm up.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange the cookie dough balls evenly on pans, 6-8 per pan.
Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned and crisp around the edges but still soft in the middle.
*Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for a few months.
*These Black & White Tahini Cookies pair really well with Earl Grey Tea and I suspect they'd taste pretty great with Chai Tea too!