Tahini and Almond Cookies
Makes 35-40 cookies
Recipe by Natalie Levin of Oogio.net This is one of the most Israeli recipes I have, and I think it represents Israeli cuisine in a nice way: simple, fragrant and very tasty. Making the dough is quick, and in a matter of minutes you can enjoy these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. The combination of the tahini and almonds makes these cookies addictive, so once it’s out of the oven try not to eat the whole baking rack. Please note that you can find Tahini in supermarkets around the world, but make sure you buy raw tahini and not the ready-made spread. (David’s Notes: The tahini I brought home from Israel were very smooth, without a trace of bitterness. The brands were Achva, Har Bracha, and Techina Gold. Check out markets in your community that specialize in Middle Eastern foods – or a natural foods store – to find a brand that you like, which you can turn into your “house” tahini. If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the dough by hand, with the help of a pastry blender. Or you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. For those who like to tinker, these might be nice with a hint of cinnamon, ground cardamom, or powdered espresso added to the dough.)
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (140g) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 ounces (70g) ground almonds (see note)
5 1/2 ounces (150g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (200g) raw tahini paste
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, blend the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, ground almonds, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt, and process until the mixture looks crumbly.
3. Add water and tahini and process until a smooth dough begins to form. Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and knead it a few times on the counter until smooth. (If the dough feels very dry, dampen your hands and knead the dough slightly.)
4. Create small balls of the dough, place them on the baking sheet, then flatten each one slightly with your fingers.
5. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool completely and serve.

Note: Ground almonds are also called almond meal, almond flour, or almond powder. They’re available at specialty markets, stores such as Trader Joe’s in the United States, and online. If you can’t find them, grind ¾ cup (70 g) of sliced blanched almonds in the food processor with the flours, until powdery.