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.
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.
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.
(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 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