SMiLes by Meg

Tahini Shortbread Cookies

So. Many. Cookies.

Every year, I make cookie tins for friends and colleagues, and usually spend an entire weekend in my kitchen making the cookies. This was that weekend. Since yesterday at noon, I’ve made 6 different types of cookies, 3 of which are new recipes, and I’m not even done yet (I still have to ice the sugar cookies). 

Making cookie tins is a bit of an art. You want to have a cookie to make everyone happy, and different levels of effort/impressiveness. When designing my boxes this year, I decided I needed a couple classics (sugar cookies with royal icing, big soft ginger cookies, and my all-time favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) and then some new ones, obviously, for the blog.

To supplement those, I wanted a good balance of flavors for my new cookies. I landed on tahini shortbread, which I’m sharing with you today, as my “nutty” cookie, largely because I’m obsessed with tahini (see tahini brownies, halvah ice cream, tahini chocolate chip cookies). For my chocolate lovers, I went with chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies, inspired by some cookies Erik has been raving about for weeks. And for my fruit lovers, I made spritz cookies with orange zest for a citrusy twist. Those later two recipes will appear in the coming weeks.

I know this is my second shortbread cookie in a row, but slice and bake is a really nice way to make cookies. Once you get the dough done and chilling, the baking part goes super fast.

For these, start by creaming together the butter, sugar, and tahini in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Next up, add the flour and salt, and mix on low speed until smooth.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four pieces. Roll each piece into a log with a 1 inch diameter.

Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and roll each log in the seeds to coat. Pro tip on sesame seeds: check the asian foods aisle at the supermarket. They’ll be much cheaper than the ones in the spice aisle, and they’ll already be roasted for you.

Roll each log in parchment paper, twisting the edges, and refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the log and use a sharp knife to slice 1/4-inch slices. Place on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart – they won’t spread.

Bake at 300°F for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on baking sheet. That’s important – they’ll be a little soft, and you really won’t be able to transfer them to a wire rack without smushing them until after they cool. Of course, if you do smush one, and decide that it’s now a tester cookie, I think that’s acceptable.

Store in an airtight container. Come back next week for more cookies!


Tahini Shortbread Cookies


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (94 grams) confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted sesame seeds


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and tahini on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and salt and continue to beat on low speed until smooth.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into four pieces and roll each into a log with a diameter of 1 inch.
  4. Roll each log in the sesame seeds spread out on a plate to coat.
  5. Wrap each log in parchment paper and twist ends. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, Slice each log into 1/4-inch slices and place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake at 300°F for 15 to 17 minutes, until tops appear dry. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before removing.

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