Sesame Brownies

These brownies are gluten-free, with tahini paste mixed into the batter and topped with a chewy sesame seed topping.

Sesame Brownies

Ingredients

Sesame Seed Topping

  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. white sesame seeds

Brownies

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter (6 oz.)
  • 6 oz. milk chocolate
  • 2 oz. semi-chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. tahini paste
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 c. sweet white rice flour
  • 3 tbs. unsweetened coco powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Yields Approximately 12 bars.

For the Sesame Seed Topping

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, brown sugar, and salt. Heat until mixture begins to boil. Add the sesame seeds and stir mixture frequently. Cook until liquid is mostly evaporated. Pour mixture onto a parchment paper- lined baking sheet and let cool. Break into pieces to serve.

Sesame Seed Topping

For the Brownies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and chocolate, microwaving in short bursts and stirring to melt the butter and chocolate. After chocolate is fully melted, stir in the vanilla extract and tahini paste. Set aside and let cool.

Beat the eggs and egg yolk until the eggs are frothy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until the mixture is aerated and lighter in color. Add the chocolate mixture and mix to combine. In a bowl, sift together the sweet rice flour, coco powder, and kosher salt. Add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl after each addition. Pour batter into a parchment paper-lined 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.

Sesame Brownies

Let brownies cool completely before cutting and serving with the sesame topping.

Guava Cookies

These cookies have a guava-cream cheese filling and have a hint of lime and coconut.

Guava Cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 1/2 c. salted butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk powder
  • 1 3/4 c. All-Purpose flour

For the Guava-Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 oz./1/4 c. guava paste
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • Juice of 1 lime
Guava Cookie Dough

Yields Approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies using tablespoon-sized scoops of dough.

For the Cookies

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix to combine. In a bowl, mix together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, coconut milk powder, and flour. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients a little at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Chill dough for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take each scoop of dough and roll lightly in hands. Place dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then make an indent in the dough using thumb. Fill each dough ball with a teaspoon of guava-cream cheese filling. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.

For the Guava-Cream Cheese Filling

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the guava paste in the microwave, about 35-60 seconds. Let guava paste cool. Beat cream cheese and egg until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the guava paste, lime zest, lime juice, and powdered sugar. Beat to combine. Set aside.

Spumoni Cookies

These are inspired by Spumoni ice cream with three different doughs flavored with cherries, pistachios, and chocolate.

Spumoni Cookies

Ingredients

Cherry Dough

  • 1/4 c. salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 4 oz./1/2 c. maraschino cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs. maraschino cherry juice
Spumoni Cookies Dough

Pistachio Dough

  • 1/4 c. salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 drops green food coloring
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Spumoni Cookies

Chocolate Dough

  • 1/4 c. salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 1 tbs. Dutch-Process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Yields Approximately 18 cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the Cherry Dough: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the Kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and All-Purpose flour. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the cherries and cherry juice and mix until just combined. Set dough aside.

For the Pistachio Dough: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add the egg, vanilla extract, and food coloring. Beat to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the Kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and All-Purpose flour. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the pistachios and mix until just combined. Set dough aside.

For the Chocolate Dough: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the Kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and All-Purpose flour, and cocoa powder. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Take a tablespoon-sized scoop of each dough, and roll them together in your hands to combine the dough. Place dough balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 11-14 minutes until the cookies are lightly brown on the edges.

Hummus and Slab Pita Bread

Instead of portioning out individual pita breads, this is baked in one big portion and then sliced into strips.

Ingredients

For the Hummus

  • Two 15.5 oz. Cans of Chickpeas, drained
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. tahini paste
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds to garnish
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley to garnish

Place all the ingredients into blender or food processor. Blend until everything is combined and it reaches desired smoothness. Chill until service. Garnish with sesame seeds and dried parsley.

Hummus

For the Pita Bread

  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • 2 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • 2 oz. salted butter, melted
  • 2 3/4 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1 tbs. dried parsley
  • 2 tbs. sesame seeds
  • vegetable oil for greasing pan and brushing bread

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast, allowing mixture to foam. In a mix bowl, beat the egg and sour cream together. Next, and the water and yeast mixture and combine. Lastly, add the melted butter and mix to combine. In a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and parsley. Add flour a little at a time, scraping bowl after each addition. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. If dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.

Cover dough and let rise about an hour, until doubled in size.

Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil and sprinkle with 1 tbs. of the sesame seeds. Place dough on baking sheet and gently stretch dough out as evenly as possible. Brush dough with more vegetable oil, and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly and then cut into strips to serve.

Hummus and Pita Bread

Povlorones

These are a lightly sweet almond cookie that have a hint of cinnamon.

Povlorones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 oz. blanched almonds (About 2/3 c.)
  • 2 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Additional almonds for topping

Yields Approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies using tablespoon-sized scoops of dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To blanch almonds:

Bring a cup of water to a boil and add the almonds to the water. Let the almonds boil for 60 seconds then remove from heat. Run the almonds under cold water to cool them enough to touch. Gently squeeze the almonds out of their shells and pat the almonds dry.

In a food processor or blender, place the blanched almonds and 2 tbs. of the flour inside and pulse until the almonds are ground finely. Over-processing can turn this into paste, so take it slowly. In a bowl, combine the ground almond mixture with the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat to combine. Scrape the bowl, then add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and the lemon zest and mix to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, scraping the bowl after each addition.

Scoop and lightly flatten the dough in you hand and then place onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Place an almond in the center of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are lightly firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Brown Butter+Mizithra Cheese Shortbread

These shortbread bars are toasty from the brown butter and lightly sweet.

Brown Butter+Mizithra Cheese Shortbread c

Ingredients

1 c. salted butter
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. All-Purpose flour
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. Mizithra cheese, shredded
1 tbs. turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Yields Approximately 16 bars.

To Make Brown Butter

Brown butter in mixing bowl.

In a light-colored pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Give the butter an occasional stir. The butter will start to bubble and foam. Once this happens, start stirring more frequently.

Butter is foaming.

The butter will start to darken and begin to smell nutty. Once the butter reaches the desired color, remove from heat and pour butter into a heat-safe container and allow to cool to room temperature. I poured my butter into the mixing bowl I planned to make the shortbread with.

To Make the Shortbread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until combined and the mixture is slightly lighter in color. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl. In another small bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and the ground nutmeg. Add flour mixture to the bowl in two additions, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the Mizithra cheese and mix until just combined.

Press the dough into a greased 9×13 pan. Dock the dough with a fork. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar and the 1/4 tsp. kosher salt over the dough. Bake for 24-27 minutes until golden brown. If the shortbread starts to get dark, cover it with some aluminum foil. Let shortbread cool before cutting and removing from the pan as the bars are soft and crumbly when warm.

Brown Butter+Mizithra Cheese Shortbread

Date Gingersnaps

These are a two-bite cookie with a different kind of sweetness from the dates.

Date Gingersnaps

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. date molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 3 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. pitted medjool dates, diced
  • 1 c. milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. turbinado sugar

Yields Approximately 60 small cookies using 1 tablespoon-sized scoops.

Date Gingersnap Dough

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl. Add eggs and beat until combined, scraping bowl after. Add date molasses, vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, and ginger paste. Mix until combined, then scrape the bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground star anise, ground nutmeg ground white pepper, kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to dough a little at a time, scraping after each addition. Add diced dates and chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.

Roll each dough ball in turbinado sugar and the place dough on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until cookies are golden brown and slightly firm to the touch.

Pomegranate Gingersnaps

These bake up soft and have a little crunch from the turbinado sugar the cookies are rolled in.

Pomegranate Gingersnaps

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate molasses
  • 2 c. All-Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 c. pomegranate arils

Sugar Mixture

  • 1/2 c. turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Yields Approximately 18 large cookies using 2 tablespoon-sized scoops.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream together butter and brown sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl, then add vanilla extract and eggs. Beat until mixture is combined. Next, add pomegranate molasses, mix until combined. Scrape the bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, and cardamom. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add pomegranate arils and mix until just combined.

In another small bowl, mix together the turbinado sugar, ginger, and cardamom. Roll dough balls in sugar mixture and then place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown and the cookies feel a little firm to the touch.

Pomegranate Gingersnap Dough

Mango Con Chile Snickerdoodles

These cookies are a play on the snack of mango con chile. They’re smoky and a little tangy from the addition of crystalized lime powder. If desired, you can use a store-bought chile mix like Tajin and add two tablespoons of it to a half cup of granulated sugar.

Mango Con Chile Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 c. dried mango, diced

Sugar Mix

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbs. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tbs. Chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 tbs. Ancho chile powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs. crystalized lime powder or citric acid
  • Mix ingredients in a bowl and see aside

Yields Approximately 30 Cookies using 1 tablespoon-sized scoops.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream butter, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl. Next, add eggs and beat until fully incorporated and the batter is lighter in color. Add vanilla, lime juice, and zest. Mix until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, Kosher salt, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to bowl, a little at a time, scrapping bowl after each addition. Lastly, add in dried mango and mix until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, take tablespoon-sized scoops of dough and roll in sugar mixture. Place dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.