I bought a jar of tahini some time back and then stumbled upon some recipes for tahini blondies. I thought it was a pretty ingenious twist on the old peanut butter blondies/brownies which were then topped by the use of almond butter then cashew butter. Who would have thought of tahini?! 

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Tahini here costs a pretty penny so I was a little reluctant to break into the bottle. As usual, I had to do some thinking before I realised that letting it sit in my cupboard was only going to inch it closer to turning rancid, not preserve it.

I remember my first taste of tahini back in my teens and to be honest, I wasn’t blown away by it at all. Black sesame paste or black tahini was more my thing having been exposed more to it in Chinese desserts. But white tahini? Not so much. It has an earthy bitterness that I found difficult to appreciate. However, I soon learned that there’s nothing like a squiggle of honey on top to turn things around. I found myself addicted to that combination and slowly began to savour the nuances of tahini.

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Anyway, with my recent jar of tahini finally opened, I decided to fiddle around with a recipe I found online. I tweaked it in order to make it a little healthier with the use of spelt flour and coconut sugar, and instead of vanilla I thought to make use of my tonka beans. The end results was more cakey than fudgy because I also added in an extra egg. Hence, I think these cake bars rather than blondies.

I’ll admit that I didn’t fall in love with these right away but the more I dug in, the more I began to enjoy the complexity of flavours from the tahini playing alongside the sweet toasted pecan nuts I’d sprinkled on top and not to forget the dark chocolate chips added in to sweetened up the deal. It’s like the case of tahini+honey all over again!

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Tahini Cake Bars (Makes 1 8×8″ Square)

160g Spelt Flour/Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
150g Coconut Sugar/Brown Sugar
70g Melted Butter
80g Tahini
1/2 pc Grated Tonka Bean/Vanilla Bean
2 Eggs
Pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 170deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, melted butter, tahini and grated tonka bean.
  3. Add eggs in one at a time. 
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until mixture comes together. 
  5. Pour batter into prepared tin and top with crushed pecan nuts. Press in gently so they stick. Bake for 20-22min. 
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.

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I can now say that I really enjoy the eating of these cake bars. I gave some away but made sure I saved some for myself although honestly, they didn’t last very long in my possession. They went very quickly into my stomach and released lots of pleasure-giving endorphins into my body. Just the thought of them make me happy.

As you read this though, I should be away in New Zealand already and I heard that they are crazy strict on what you can bring in. I’d have baked a fresh batch of these to snack on over there if I could but it looks like cravings will have to wait until we’re back. For now, you bake and I’ll eat vicariously through you! 😉

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