There are cookbooks, and then there are books you will cook from for life.
Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman, published in 2019, falls into the latter category. Each recipe is approachable, interesting, and bursting with flavor.
Beyond the recipes, she delves into details about ingredients, stories about her experiences in Israel, and recommendations for favorite kitchen tools and products.
This recipe for Chewy Tahini Blondies was a favorite among us at Simply Recipes. We loved it so much we asked Adeena if we could share it with you. Don’t let this be your only foray into her gorgeous book. These blondies are just the beginning of what will be a beautiful relationship with her food and writing. But I will let you tell her about them:
"I’ve made these so many times, so you won’t have to. On the surface this seems like a dead-simple recipe, but it took quite a bit of tinkering to nail. Tahini has a complex molecular structure made up of lots of tiny carbohydrate molecules that cling to liquid for dear life, seizing up the way chocolate does if you add liquid to it at the wrong time. But if you play your carbs right and add the tahini last, after all of the other ingredients, it stirs in smoothly and bakes up into these sexy little squares that get better as they sit around. To make these non-dairy, swap in a neutral-flavored olive oil or vegetable oil instead of the butter,” written in Sababa by Adeena Sussman.
What Is a Blondie?
A blondie is kind of like the rich, caramelized, hints-of-molasses-flavored cousin of a brownie. You can make them chewy or cakey, simple or complex, but the universal component of a blondie is brown sugar. It’s what gives it the golden color and subtle molasses flavor.
What Is Tahini?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It adds a creamy texture and subtle nutty flavor to recipes. When most people think of tahini, they think of hummus, but it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in sauces, dressings, marinades, and baked goods like these Tahini Blondies.
Swaps and Substitutions
We think these blondies are perfect just the way they are, but baking is fun when you mix things up.
- Swap the butter for oil to make them dairy-free.
- Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips because, well, chocolate.
- Add 1/4 cup of toasted nuts.
- If you can’t find sesame seeds, leave them out.
- If you don’t have tahini, make a different blondie recipe.
Can You Freeze Blondies?
You can absolutely make these Tahini Blondies ahead and freeze them by layering the blondies between sheets of parchment and storing them in a ziptop bag or freezer safe container. Then grab one as a single serving treat when the mood strikes you!
More Great Recipes With Tahini!
- Easy Homemade Hummus
- Mediterranean Chickpea Bowls with Tahini Sauce
- Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Sautéed Kale with Tahini Sauce
- Air Fryer Falafel
Learn More About Adeena Sussman and Israeli Cooking
- Q & A with Cookbook Author Adeena Sussman
- The Beginner’s Guide to Israeli Cooking
- Ingredient Spotlight: Tahini
- 5 Specialty Kitchen Tools for Cooking Israeli Food at Home
Chewy Tahini Blondies recipe from Sababa by Adeena Sussman, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Adeena Sussman
Chewy Tahini Blondies
To make these tahini blondies dairy-free, replace the butter with a 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for buttering the pan
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or more to taste if you really like this flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lightly toasted black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons lightly toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 1/4 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pure tahini paste
Preheat the oven and prep the pan:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, then line the pan with 2 criss-crossing strips of parchment paper, buttering between each layer and leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter the top and sides of the parchment.
Make the batter:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, pepper, and the black and white sesame seeds.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated, then fold in the tahini until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden on the outside and the center doesn’t jiggle but is still soft, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cool in the pan, and cut into 16 equal squares.