Tehina Shortbread Cookies

November 20, 2015
6 Ratings
Photo by Michael Persico
  • Makes 30 cookies
Author Notes

It may come as a surprise, but tehina is perfect in desserts because, in addition to adding nutty flavor, it helps modulate sweetness and leaves you wanting more. For me, there's nothing as comforting as these shortbread cookies enriched with tehina. They are ridiculously easy to make and extremely satisfying. Because the tehina replaces some of the butter in a traditional shortbread, they are actually quite light. (Or at least that's how I rationalize eating ten of them in one sitting.) I love to crumble them on Turkish coffee ice cream or layer them with tehina semifreddo to the make the ultimate ice cream sandwich. But these cookies are perfectly delicious simply dusted with confectioners' sugar and served with coffee.

Excerpted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015). —Michael Solomonov

What You'll Need
  • 1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup tehina
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed or in a large bowl with a hand mixer and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the the tehina and continue mixing until well incorporated.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Transfer to the tehina mixture and beat until just incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. (This dough keeps well in the freezer for a few months.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are light brown around the edges and set, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julia
  • stefanie
  • laurie
  • Violet Laber
    Violet Laber

18 Reviews

laurie December 29, 2019
I made the first batch of these cookies today.
I followed the advise of other posters and (1) used a really BIG pinch of salt and (2) replaced 1/4 cup of flour with cornstarch. I also changed the way the flour is measured. If you dig into the flour bag to scoop out flour, you compact the flour and end up using more flour than the receipe calls for. The flour need to fall into the measuring cup & then leveled off with a knife.

I was really confused about Tehini versus Tehina. I decided that the 'Tehina', which uses a hefty wallop of garlic and lemon juice, was inappropriate for this cookie and I used Tehini 'as if' it was just like making a peanut butter cookie, except using Tehini paste instead of peanut butter. I didn't roll these into logs, rather I used a spoon to scoop out the hard cookie dough & then rolled the dough into balls to get a nice round baked cookie. These cookies spread a lot and need at least a 2" spacing.

Right out of the oven, these cookies are extremely fragile & can't tolerate any touching, so I moved the entire parchment sheet to a cooling rack.

These cookies are fabulous with or without a sugar coating. I consider this an 'adult' cookie that could be served at any event
Violet L. August 25, 2017
Pardon - what are towlogs?
stefanie March 1, 2018
I think he means 2 logs.
Violet L. August 25, 2017
a question for neighome: what are tiwkigs? Did you cut the logs into slices e and bake, or just bake the whole log. How long were the logs?
neighome September 3, 2016
My first batch was tasty, but a little dry. For the second batch I made four small changes. 1. Made that pinch of salt a really big pinch. 2. Per Noreen Scherer's advice, replaced 1/4 cup of flour with cornstarch. 3. After chilling the very soft dough so it could be shaped, I rolled in into tow logs, about 1.5 inches in diameter, then continued final chilling. 3. Prior to baking, rolled the logs in crunchy demerara brown sugar. Final result was the perfect cookie for afternoon tea.
HA April 11, 2016
Sorry about the type-o...almond flour, not Alvin flour...
HA April 11, 2016
Can these be made gluten free by substituting Alvin and / or coconut flour for the all purpose flour?
Noreena S. February 8, 2016
I substituted 1/4 c of the flour with cornstarch, and the cookies had the melt-in-the-mouth feel to them, instead of the chalkiness taste from just having an all-flour recipe. This is an old trick from the Tartine bakery in S.F.
Julia January 6, 2016
I made these cookies ( and they really were so yummy!) but my dough was incredibly crumbly. I managed to pull it together with a tiny bit of water, but I'm wondering if there's something I missed? I followed the ingredient list to a T! Regardless, I snacked on the dough itself after I got taste complaints here!
laurie December 29, 2019
If you dig into the flour bag to scoop out flour, you compact the flour and end up using more flour than the receipe calls for. The flour need to fall into the measuring cup & then leveled off with a knife.
John B. December 28, 2015
Tehina is not the same as Tahini. Before I read the comments I googled it. Tehina has lemon juice, garlic and cumin added to the Tahini
Joanne December 28, 2015
Made these for various holiday gatherings (+ kept a stash for myself!). They were such a hit. People were surprised when I told them I used Tahini. Thanks for the recipe!
deborah B. December 23, 2015
I made these -- they were okay the first day (nothing i thought i'd make again) but really good a few days later. so now i think i will make them again! and they keep nicely for a week.
Lisa December 20, 2015
You can freeze almost all cookies after baking. Just make sure they're sealed properly and don't leave them longer than a month or so, or freezer burn inevitably creeps in.
sadenis December 20, 2015
Can I freeze these cookies after baking?
jenahearn December 15, 2015
I've made these twice now since Thanksgiving (big fan!), once with regular butter and once with higher-fat butter - the higher fat butter was noticeably better, IMO. Also, if you want yours to look like the ones in the photo, roll them into balls after scooping!
Lisa December 5, 2015
Yes, indeed, it is.
beth M. December 3, 2015
Is tehina the same as tahini?