Republique’s Fig-Tahini Cookies

These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.
These fig-tahini cookies are not only pretty to look at, but have a wondrous chewy texture.

Mochi, gummi bears, springy noodles, and ideal chocolate chip cookies.

What do they have in common?

A certain chewiness that I can’t resist.

And “Fig-Tahini Cookies” possess that ideal attribute in abundance.

It’s evident not only in the consistency of the cookie, itself, but also in the chopped dried figs hidden throughout.

The recipe is from “Baking at République: Masterful Techniques and Recipes” (Lorena Jones Books, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is by Margarita Manzke, co-owner of Republique restaurant and bakery in Los Angeles. The book, written with former Los Angeles Times food writer Betty Hallock, features all the favorite pastries, cookies, cakes and pies from this fabulous bakery that’s a must-stop whenever my husband and I drive to Los Angeles.

When the kind folks at SoCo (Seeds of Collaboration) sent me a sample of their Tahini & Dates to try, I knew I wanted to feature it in a baking recipe of some sort.

SoCo Tahini & Dates
SoCo Tahini & Dates
Rich, creamy, and fruity.
Rich, creamy, and fruity.

After all, it’s SoCo’s fantastically creamy, nutty tasting tahini, but given a subtle sweet twist with the addition of date syrup. Who can resist? Definitely not me at first taste. Its sweetness is gentle with its concentrated, dried fruitiness marrying beautifully with the toastiness of the sesame seeds.

Indeed, with its flavor profile, SoCo describes it as a healthier version of PB&J. In fact, you could simply spread it alone on toast and be quite content.

But when I spied this cookie recipe, I knew I had hit the jackpot. Because the date syrup doesn’t make this tahini cloying, I figured it would work well even with dried figs already adding another layer of sweet fruitiness. Plus, dates and figs are naturals together.

Sesame-coated dough balls.
Sesame-coated dough balls.
Just out of the oven.
Just out of the oven.

The dough — a mix of the tahini, butter, flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and egg, and those chopped dried figs — get formed into balls that are rolled in sesame seeds. The dough balls are refrigerated overnight to let them fully hydrate before baking the next day.

These cookies bake up big, rich, buttery and, yes, chewy through and through. The sesame seeds give the exterior a hit of crunch here and there. The figs are jammy, sticky, and far more interesting than raisins ever would be.

The taste of the cookie is sort of a cross between a fig Newton and a Chinese sesame cookie by way of Lebanon.

Chew contentedly on one — or two — with a glass of ouzo or pot of mint tea.


Fig-Tahini Cookies

(Makes 12 cookies)

1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup tahini paste

1 egg

1 cup chopped dried figs

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Set aside.

Place the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium speed until combined. Add the tahini and mix until incorporated. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Stop and scrape down the bowl.

On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the figs, mixing until just incorporated — but no longer.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sesame seeds in a small bowl.

Using a #40 (2-ounce) ice cream scoop, portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Dip each cookie in the sesame seeds to coat and return to the baking sheet. Wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes to ensure even baking. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

From “Baking at Republique” by Margarita Manzke with Betty Hallock

Another Chewy-Licious Recipe From Republique To Enjoy: Raspberry-Mochi Butter Cake with Matcha Glaze

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  • Laura in Texas

    Yum! Those cookies look amazing and I can only imagine how delicious they are!

  • Laura: I love these cookies. They are so good that I already can’t wait to bake more of them. 😉

  • I made these last week and they were delicious! However, although my “before” photos looked just like the ones in your post, the final cookies spread A LOT! They essentially became almost like a slab, with lines in them which I could cut to make individual cookies. Did anyone else have that happen? They tasted great and had the desired chewy texture, but they simply weren’t balls, like your photos showed. Did I do something wrong?

  • Flash: Wow! That is so interesting that your cookie balls spread so much. You chilled the dough overnight? The dough is fairly stiff after you do that. I wonder if it’s due to a runnier than usual tahini? Very interesting.

  • I made these a third time, putting the refrigerated-overnight cookies in the middle of the oven (instead of on the lower rack). Although the finished cookies taste great and are chewy and soft, they STILL didn’t come out like yours did…in a ball shape. Oh, well. I’m still going to keep making them. A friend suggested baking them in a muffin tin. What do you think?

  • Hi Flash: That is so weird that the cookies keep coming out flatter. Do you want to try measuring the flour by weight? If so, it’s 175 grams of all-purpose. After baking, my cookies weren’t exactly ball-shaped. But they were definitely thick rounds, with a wonderful chew to them. I’m glad you still liked the flavor, despite the flatness you encountered.

  • Hi Carolyn, the #40 scoop is for 0.85 ounces, I think. Do we make really small cookies for do we need the #20 size scoop to make larger cookies?

  • Nabeela: I’m not sure the #-size of the scoop I used. However, I did measure its volume; my scoop will hold 2 tablespoons of water, if that helps you gauge it at all. You can probably make whatever size cookie you like, but you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly. Happy baking! 😉

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