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Tahini Blondies from Sababa

I’ve made these so many times, so you won’t have to. On the surface this seems like a dead-simple recipe, but it took quite a bit of tinkering to nail. Tahini has a complex molecular structure made up of lots of tiny carbohydrate molecules that cling to liquid for dear life, seizing up the way chocolate does if you add liquid to it at the wrong time. But if you play your carbs right and add the tahini last, after all of the other ingredients, it stirs in smoothly and bakes up into these sexy little squares that get better as they sit around. To make these non-dairy, swap in a neutral-flavored olive oil or vegetable oil instead of the butter.


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, OR ½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cardamom (or more to taste if you really like this flavor)

½ tsp fine sea salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp black sesame seeds, lightly toasted

2 Tbsp lightly toasted white sesame seeds

1¼ cups lightly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup tahini paste


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossing strips of parchment paper, buttering between each layer and leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter top and sides of parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, pepper and black and white sesame seeds.

In another medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, ½ cup melted butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just incorporated, then fold in tahini until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 25-30 minutes until golden on the outside and center doesn’t jiggle but is still soft. Remove from oven, cool in pan, and cut into 16 equal squares.

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