These sesame dark chocolate thumbprint cookies are fast becoming a staple in my house that I can’t live without, especially if you’re from the “not too sweet” camp like I am. A healthy energy boost, these are dense cookies full of sesame seeds, bound together with tahini and spelt flour and finished with a touch of dark chocolate ganache if you choose. I've even come to rely on one or two for breakfast on the run or whenever hunger hits during busy days. They remind me of the Italian sesame cookies I've loved from my neighborhood bakery, but these are much better—delicious in fact and healthier. These are amazing filled with dark chocolate ganache or great filled with concentrated fruit jam, but plainly delicious without any filling at all. I currently have some stashed away in my freezer...
Sesame Dark Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe inspired by, adapted from Tartine book no 3
Makes 22 cookies
- 147 g/ 2/ 3 cup sesame seeds toasted, plus extra untoasted for coating cookies
- 147 g/ 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/ 2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 57 g/ 1/ 4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 g/ 1/2 cup sugar
- 165 g/ 1/2 cup plus 2T tahini
- 1 ½ t vanilla extract
- 4 T water
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F/ 180 ° C.
Toast sesame seeds; spread out seeds on a baking sheet, toast until golden brown 5-7 minutes stirring halfway through for even browning. Remove and cool completely.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter together with the sugar on medium speed using a hand mixer about 2 minutes until pale and beginning to gain volume, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the tahini, vanilla and water, mix until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Fold in the cooled toasted sesame seeds one third at a time distributing the sesame seeds evenly. Chill briefly ½ - 1 hour (dough can be prepared and chilled up to one day in advance).
Dough should be a slightly pasty not crumbly, see recipe notes below. Using a medium cookie scoop (or roll into large walnut sized balls) scoop dough then gently press rounded top into a small dish with additional untoasted sesame seeds to coat. Place each dough scoop flat side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet and immediately make a thumb indent in the center. Repeat, placing cookies 2 inches apart.
Bake 14-18 minutes until edges are just golden and bottoms are golden brown. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the time for even browning. (In my oven, 16 minutes yields a perfect golden cookie.} Remove from oven, cool briefly on sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Fill cooled thumbprints with dark chocolate ganache, concentrated fruit jam or enjoy as is without any filling at all.
The dough should be compact, but not break apart when making a ball or making a thumbprint in center of the cookie. If the dough breaks apart add an additional 1 teaspoon of water at a time to the dough until there is a consistency that holds it's shape without breaking, a few cracks here and there are fine.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 80g / ⅔ cup chopped dark chocolate (72% or more)
- 40g / ⅓ cup heavy cream
Place chopped chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Heat the cream in the microwave or small saucepan just below boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate, when chocolate looks half melted stir the mixture with a spatula until smooth and glossy.
Using a small offset spatula or spoon fill each thumbprint with ganache and let set. Cookies keep for several days well wrapped and can also be stored in the freezer.