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Update: This recipe has been so popular that I updated to make it even better and I also included it in my new cookbook The Joyous Cookbook! If you haven't tried them yet - this is the perfect treat to bring to your next party or family get together.
Have you tried tahini before? If not, you've likely had sesame seeds. Well it's the same thing -- essentially paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds. In fact, you can make it yourself by tossing a cup or two of sesame seeds into a super high power food processor and after a minute or so, tahini!
I love the taste of it. It has a nutty taste similar to peanut butter but much more mild. Most people think of tahini in savoury recipes like hummus or in delicious Lebanese food. I love using tahini that way too, but I also LOVE tahini in recipes that are sweeter. It's great if you need to avoid nuts in your home due to an allergy or if you just want to mix things up a bit! And it's a great source of non-dairy calcium -- your bones will thank you. More on that below...
I like the Nuts To You brand. It's a Canadian company and you can find them in the natural foods section of pretty much every grocery store (in Canada at least) and in health food stores. For my American friends, you can find it on Amazon, but I'm sure there are other delicious brands of tahini.
These cookies reminded me of peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies but they are egg-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly and you can make them truly gluten-free with gluten-free oats -- if that's important to you. I just use regular oats.
I adapted this recipe from an older post from 2013 for Ginger Tahini Bites with quite a few modifications. You can find out why oats are so gosh darn good for you in that post too! I used less maple syrup, nixed the ginger and sunflower seeds and added cinnamon and mini-chocolate chips instead. This recipe won't work with regular size chocolate chips because they will be too chunky and fall apart.
They are chewy and soft straight out of the oven but don't remain super soft once totally cooled. They remain chewy though -- hurray!
*I went with 1/3 cup maple syrup because I added the chocolate chips. I would suggest adding 1/3 cup first and giving them a taste test. If they are not sweet enough for you, then use 1/2 cup. I used the ENJOY Life brand of mini chocolate chips because they are dairy-free and gluten-free. I personally find that cow's milk dairy in chocolate bothers me (makes my wrists achey due to inflammation).
They will seem a bit crumbly when you put them on your baking sheet, don't worry they solidify nicely when they are cooked.
By the way, people always ask me where I get my pretty plates from. I find the most inexpensive places are either garage sales or budget-friendly shops like Homesense and Winners. In fact, Homesense always has a shelf or two somewhere in the store of super discounted items. I bought a few plates today and one of them was only three bucks and it's gorgeous! I was due for some new plates because a few of mine have chipped over the years and are no longer photo-worthy.
Before I go, I wanted to share my handy dandy chart with you of non-dairy sources of calcium. Thanks (sarcasm intended) to the lobbying of the dairy industry with our government it's been drilled in our heads that the only source of calcium is dairy products. This is just total bologna!
While dairy is an excellent source of calcium, you can definitely get enough of this important mineral without slurping cow's milk. The key is to eat a variety of foods. If you have a mono-diet of eating the same foods every day and don't eat dairy, you are likely NOT getting enough calcium. A variety of whole foods is the way to go because they you get a variety of other nutrients that help with the absorption of calcium like magnesium, vitamin D and K.
I hope you love this cookie recipe. Be sure to hashtag #JoyousHealth if you make them and post a pretty photo to instagram or twitter because then I will see it! :)
Have a joyous day!
ps. If you like cookies as much as I do, then here's a link to all my cookie recipes on JH: http://www.joyoushealth.com/?s=cookies&post_type=&filter=#search-container
pps. I was interviewed by CNN (so cool!) on Reasons You Should Learn to Cook.