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Author Notes: The word ‘exotic’ pisses me off.
Well, more specifically, the way people use the word pisses me off. There’s nothing wrong with the word; it’s a perfectly nice, unassuming word that likes to go to the mall with its friends on the weekend and hopes the dreamy-looking football player in homeroom will ask it to Word Prom.
But most of the time when we use the word ‘exotic’, it’s because we’re too lazy to describe something that tastes new, and that’s bullshit. You should be describing the hell out of anything (well, almost anything) new that ends up on your mouth, simply because there’s guaranteed to be a few flavors that’re firing off synapses in your inept brain that you even didn’t know existed.
That’s not what you do though, is it? You don’t go off on a glorious symphony of flavors and textures, weaving together word and world and taste bud until you’ve written the goddamned Ivanhoe of pop-up Udon joint reviews. No, you decide to skip all that and go OOOOH, IT’S EXOTIC, and fart it onto a page so you can move on to your “top 10 ways to eat cupcakes” list masquerading as actual culinary journalism.
Yes, there’s a point to this rant. The point is that people tend to have that exact same retreat when they run into Tahini, which makes up about half of the delicious recipe you’re about to read. “Oh man, so exotic, what could it possibly be?” It’s fucking sesame seed butter. You know peanut butter? It’s that, with sesame seeds. That’s all it is; that’s all it’s ever gonna be. Just because they have it at pita restaurants doesn’t mean it’s automatically the Mata Hari of food.
Stop being lazy. Stop calling food “exotic” and just call it delicious.
Also go get some sesame seeds. Like a lot of sesame seeds.
You’re gonna need them. —Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats
cups powdered sugar
ounces dark chocolate chunks
teaspoon vanilla extract
sesame seeds (for coating)
cup cookies butter (like speculoos or biscoff)
- First, combine the cookie butter, tahini, and 4 tablespoons of butter in a stand mixer and beat them until they’re light and creamy; should take about 3 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and mix it in on low.
- Mix the powdered sugar in on low (unless you want to look like you had a grand mal seizure in the powder room) a ½ cup at a time until it’s all mixed in. You want this stuff to be just a little crumbly. If it’s got the texture of the middle of a Reese’s cup, you’re doing it right.
- Form the stuff into balls about an inch wide and put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Stick that in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Toast the sesame seeds on medium-high in a small pan until they’re a little brown and you can smell the toasty goodness, then put them in a wide bowl.
- To make the chocolate coating, get yourself a double boiler (or just be lazy and put a metal bowl over a pot filled with boiling water, like me) and throw the chocolate and a tablespoon of butter in. Stir it until it becomes not-solid.
- This is the tricky part; use a toothpick to spear the balls (ahem) and coat them in the chocolate, leaving a little bit on the top uncovered, then immediately dip them in the sesame seeds so the bottom half is covered.
- Once you’ve done that with all the balls and put them back on their cookie sheet home, stick them in the fridge for a couple more hours. Yes, I know the waiting is hard, but you can pass the time by seeing how many funny things you can say involving “fridge” and “balls” (hint: it’s three and a half).
- Take the buckeyes out of the fridge and let them sit for half an hour until they’re at room temperature, and then shove a half dozen of them in your face.