Tahini. No, not that island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the peanut butter looking stuff. But is it peanut butter? Is it even made with nuts? What exactly is this deliciously rich and intoxicating ingredient that seems to be everywhere these days?
If you grew up in the US, chances are you had probably never heard of tahini until a few years ago when the hummus trend exploded. But this unique sesame paste has been a Middle Eastern staple for thousands of years, adding flavor and texture to many sweet and savory dishes. Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is like peanut butter’s exotic hot older brother. It has a similar texture and mouthfeel but tastes a bit more indulgent than classic pb. Yet like peanut butter, the possibilities are endless to use it within recipes.
Hummus lovers, like ourselves, know that tahini is what gives hummus its distinct flavor. Without tahini, there would be no hummus. Most hummus recipes use tahini and chickpeas as the base, adding herbs, spices, and other veggies depending on the final product flavor and texture desired. While tahini does have a sesame taste, the flavors aren’t so bold that it’s all you will taste in your hummus, leaving you room to customize your hummus to your own tastes. Tahini does provide a certain nuttiness to hummus that leaves you satisfied and wanting more.
Don’t forget that tahini can also be used for baking (our favorite use-case, obviously), making it an easy (and allergy-friendly!) swap for peanut butter in cookies & brownies. Desserts with tahini still provide that nutty flavor that comes from peanut butter but also add a rich, indulgent nuance of flavor that will make your baked goods sing. Our new Tahini Tea Cookies are crafted with an organic version of this roasted sesame paste to bring a flavor that is rich yet delicate, sweetened with just a touch of sea salted honey. These cookies are insanely addictive and made exclusively with, GMO-free, all-natural ingredients so you can indulge all ya want. You’ve been warned!
Aside from being delicious, tahini has some surprising health benefits: it has 20% complete protein, making it a higher protein source than most nuts. In addition to protein, this sesame paste is also high in unsaturated fats, which are the good fats for your body. Lastly, tahini is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, and iron, as well as one of the best sources of calcium in plant foods.
Have we convinced you of the all wonders of tahini? Try making your own hummus or dipping sauce and you will see just how amazing adding only a spoonful of this stuff will be for your dish. Or if you’re mischievous we also suggest making a batch of brownies with “peanut butter” (aka tahini) for your friends and see if they can taste the difference!
Follow us on social @marlosbakeshop for updates on our new Tahini Tea Cookies, available this spring!