Adeena Sussman’s Chewy Tahini Blondies

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Credit: Dan Perez

These blondies are fun and simple to make, but from the first bite, fragrant with cardamom and spiked with a tiny jolt of black pepper and the crunch of toasty seeds, you’ll know you’re tasting something special.

Another reason this treat is so special is the time, effort, and energy I put into getting the recipe just right. I’ve made these so many times, so you won’t have to. On the surface this seems like a dead-simple recipe, but it took quite a bit of tinkering to nail. Tahini has a complex molecular structure made up of lots of tiny carbohydrate molecules that cling to liquid for dear life, seizing up the way chocolate does if you add liquid to it at the wrong time. But if you play your carbs right and add the tahini last, after all of the other ingredients, it stirs in smoothly and bakes up into these sexy little squares that get better as they sit around. To make these non-dairy, swap in a neutral-flavored olive oil or vegetable oil instead of the butter. 

Tahini adds depth and complexity to these blondies that get better and better as they sit.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup

    (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for buttering the pan

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cardamom (or more to taste if you really like this flavor)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fine sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    lightly toasted black sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons

    lightly toasted white sesame seeds

  • 1 1/4 cups

    lightly packed light brown sugar

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup

    pure tahini paste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, then line the pan with 2 crisscrossing strips of parchment paper, buttering between each layer and leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter the top and sides of the parchment.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, pepper, and the black and white sesame seeds. In another medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated, then fold in the tahini until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden on the outside and the center doesn’t jiggle but is still soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool in the pan, and cut into 16 equal squares.

Recipe Notes

Recipes from Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen, (c) Adeena Sussman and Avery Books

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