We were having a conversation about what you can do with tahini this morning in the office, and I mentioned the sesame cookies my mom made when I was little, which don’t actually have tahini in them but are strongly sesame-flavored nonetheless. That may sound a little odd, but they’re really much like the idea of peanut butter cookies, and sesame cookies have a long history in the South, where they’re called benne cookies (benne being an adapted African name for sesame). The coconut in these may be a little non-traditional, but I sure do have fond memories of these cookies from childhood. I believe this recipe came from Joy of Cooking.
¾ c. sesame seeds
½ c. grated coconut (mom says she has used both sweetened and unsweetened with good results)
2 c. sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread seeds on a rimmed cookie sheet and toast in oven for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to promote even browning. Add coconut and return sheet to oven for additional 5 minutes, until seeds and coconut are golden brown.
Sift the flour together with the powder, soda, and salt. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add brown sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, sesame seeds and coconut. Beat well. Blend in sifted dry ingredients gradually and mix thoroughly.
Shape balls of dough, using a rounded teaspoonful for each. Place three inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten to 1/8 in. thickness using your hand or the bottom of a glass. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden.
Makes 48 cookies.