If I were a “wine snob” trying to describe this cookie, I’d say something like “This cookie is full of rich, roasty flavors. Notes of caramel and molasses dance over the bold, round base of chocolate and sesame”—but that doesn’t even begin to cover the pleasant crunch of toasted seeds wrapped around a soft, fudgy chocolate-tahini center.
I’ve made batches of these chocolatey, salty-sweet cookies with both Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix as well as Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, and, honestly, when I can tell the difference, I think I might prefer these gluten free ones, because they’re softer. So does everyone at my office (where I bring them when we need a treat) and at home (where people complain when I take them away to give to my co-workers).
With high-quality bittersweet chocolate and tahini (sesame seed paste) inside and toasted sesame seeds outside, these are a cookie anybody could love, but people like me who can’t get enough of nutty and chocolatey combinations will be especially susceptible to their charms.
Cheapskate note: There is a huge price range for sesame seeds—I found a little 2-ounce spice jar of them in the baking aisle for $5, and then I found a 6-ounce bag of them in the ethnic foods aisle for $1.50. It’s definitely worth your time to look around.
Ready to get started? Remember, if you’re interested in making these cookies and don’t need to eat gluten free, then check the notes section in my recipe for simple conventional substitutions.
My sesame seeds were untoasted, so I decided to bring out more of their rich flavor by browning them in a hot pan over medium-low heat. All it took was a few minutes and a couple of shakes over the heat to brown them evenly.
I melted my chocolate in the microwave because I think it’s easier than putting together a double boiler. I heated the chocolate and butter together for 15 seconds at a time on high, then stirred, repeating 15 second intervals and stirring until all lumps were gone. It took me 2 or 3 minutes to get to a nice smooth mixture. (Of course, you can use a double boiler if you prefer.) Once the chocolate has melted into a smooth consistency, add tahini and stir until everything’s combined and smooth again.
Tahini sometimes separates in the same way that natural peanut butter does, with the oil rising to the top. Stir it up a little, and do your best to break up lumps, but don’t sweat it. Most lumps will melt as it gets stirred straight into the warm melted chocolate, and later it’ll get a good beating with the electric mixer.
Let’s leave the chocolate mixture alone for a while. Starting with the liquid ingredients, beat the eggs until they’re light and frothy, then add the sugar and vanilla and beat again.
The mixture will start out thick like caramel, but keep beating until it’s light and fluffy again.
Now add the melted chocolate-tahini mixture, and mix until combined.
Last, add the dry ingredients and mix again until you have a thick brownie-like batter. (My mixer was struggling a little by the end of it.)
The dough needs to be covered and refrigerated for at least 30 to 60 minutes, because it needs to be pretty solid to shape with your hands without melting it. When it’s chilled, scoop out spoonfuls of dough and shape them into spheres with your fingertips. If the dough balls don’t keep their shape on the first try, return the dough to the fridge for another 30 minutes and try again.
Roll the cookie dough balls in toasted sesame seeds, pressing to make the seeds stick. (I added a little sugar and sea salt to my toasted sesame seeds for an even punchier salty-sweet crust, but that’s optional). Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet. Now they’re ready to pop into the oven.
When they come out they’ll be slightly flattened, with their tops cracked, and just begging to be eaten warm. This batch above had the extra salt and sugar added to the sesame seed coating.
With big chocolate and sesame flavors, these cookies are deliciously different, and you're sure to get tons of compliments if you can bear to share.
Gluten Free Fudgy Sesame Cookies
- 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped (60%-70% cocoa)
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or vegan shortening
- 5 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2/3 cup Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds toasted, for coating
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt for coating (optional)
- 1 tsp. white sugar for coating (optional)
Melt chocolate and butter together, using either a microwave or a double boiler. To microwave, heat chocolate and butter in a bowl on high for 15 seconds at a time, stirring between heating until melted (2 to 3 minutes total). To use double boiler, bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Set a small metal bowl over the water, add chocolate and butter, and stir mixture until melted and smooth. Remove pan from heat. Once chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stir in tahini until smooth. Set chocolate mixture aside.
In a small bowl combine gluten free baking mix, baking powder, and salt. Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until frothy, then add dark-brown sugar and vanilla and beat again. It will start out thick like caramel, but keep beating for 2 or 3 minutes until it’s thick and light.
Pour in slightly cooled chocolate mixture and mix again. Add reserved dry ingredients and mix well. Final mixture should be thick and fudgy like brownie batter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 to 60 minutes or as long as overnight.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two cookie sheets with foil, parchment paper, or a light coating of nonstick spray. Place toasted sesame seeds in a bowl, then stir in ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. white sugar if using (gives an extra sweet/salty kick to the coating).
Scoop dough out in 1-Tbsp. portions. Use fingertips to quickly shape cold dough into rough spheres the size of walnuts. Move quickly, or the dough will melt when handled. (If shaped cookies slump or don’t keep their shape, return dough to fridge for another 30 minutes and then try again.) Next roll each ball in sesame seeds to coat it and arrange shaped cookies 1½ to 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies have puffed and begun to crack in spots. Let cookies sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To toast sesame seeds, heat a pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds in an even layer over hot pan; let sit 30 seconds, then shake vigorously. Repeat until seeds are a uniform dark brown and smell deliciously toasted. They will steam slightly, but they shouldn't smoke or turn black.
If you wish to make a version of this cookie that is not gluten free, substitute Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
or Naturally White Flour
instead of the Gluten Free Multi Purpose Baking Mix.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Makes 24 to 30 cookies
You can find Gluten Free Fudgy Sesame Cookies and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.