Monday, April 20, 2009

The Great Tahini Experiment: Or, A Trip to the Land of Meh

People, there's a reason we use butter when baking ... it makes things taste good. While I'm all for eating well, meaning with an eye towards health, I do require my healthy foods to be delicious. If I wanted to snack on biscuits of wheat and hay, I'd have been born a cow. Moo.

I had such high hopes for these tahini based cookies ... yet the finished product was decidedly UN-spectacular. One bite and I was instantly transported to the 1970's; a time before we realized that health food could be and should be delicious.

Such a shame, because the ingredients were promising: a bunch of rolled oats, a bit of whole wheat pastry flour, some dark brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, a couple of egg whites, etc. I added pecans, because I like nutty cookies. They should have been yummy. They were not. This fact was confirmed when the husband tasted them and stopped after only two cookies. Normally, he's eating as fast as I'm baking. He did not return for another round. Feh.

The recipe came straight out of The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, and I will not offer it here. They simply aren't worth baking. The texture is odd, and the after-taste is revolting. So much so that they're destined to become food for the birds that visit my kitchen window each morning. I wonder if they'll turn their collective beaks up at them?

So, have you ever baked with tahini? Have your efforts been successful? If so, please share. I'm not ready to give up on tahini based baked goods ... the search continues!

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

LOL... poor Diva. I know you had good intentions. But you know what they say about good intentions...

Your husband is a real trooper, managing to eat 2 cookies. What a great guy!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I've never baked with tahini, though I love using it as an ingredient. Sorry about the cookies. I think its cool you posted in anyway. I think its important to show that not everybody has a success all the time, especially when trying something new. Plus, if you followed the recipe, its their fault ok?! :D
I think for every good recipe I have made, I have also made one which Hubby sends back to the kitchen, quite disdainfully I might add lol.

doggybloggy said...

OMG my eyes were seeing what looked like fried chicken and my brain was reading about a cookie - I was thrown for a loop there....I had a girlfriend a long long time ago whose mom cooked 'natural' food in that cardboard and hay sort of way -

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tracy - I must say the husband was rather disappointed. He's not use to baking failures around here! LOL

Heavenly Housewife - I really like tahini too ... this just wasn't the right vehicle for it. I have no problem posting about my failures, its all part of the experience and serves as a warning for those who think this sort of cookie might be a good idea! LOL

doggybloggy - OMG, you're right ... they do look like fried chicken. Weird! Shame they didn't taste like it too. Yup, that cardboard 'natural' flavor is exactly what I mean. Sad.

stephchows said...

OH BUMMER!!!! I haven't baked with tahini yet, I stick with fruits and veggies as my butter sub. sometimes I use yogurt... but I feel like the fruit and veggie purees work the best!

Anonymous said...

Did they have a super nutty underlying taste? It seems like that would play with your mind while you're expecting to taste something else. We've never baked with tahini, nor would we have thought of it, so it's awesome to read this. If you double back and try it again, it'll be cool to see what happens.

Astra Libris said...

Baking with tahini sounds wonderful - I love all things tahini! I'm so sorry it turned out disappointingly... I've never baked with tahini before, but I love the concept - I definitely would have tried the recipe too... :-) Please do keep me posted on your tahini baking adventures!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Steph - I think you're right about the fruits and yogurt ... much better substitutions for butter. Its sad when a cookie breaks your heart. LOL

Duo - there was very strong, sharp under-taste that was not as nutty as I'd hoped it would be. I mean, I really enjoy the sesame flavor, but mixed with the honey and sugar, it just tasted ... off, rather bitter. Blech!

Astra - I may very well try my hand at another tahini based cookie, and will certainly keep you guys posted if I do. I really want it to work, because it seems like a great way to cut out cholesterol ... but ... its got to taste good!

Anonymous said...

That sounded like a good idea - I'm sorry it didn't work out the way you hoped.

Anonymous said...

Diva, has your Tahini gone rancid? Does it smell off?
I'm sorry about the cookies. I thought I was looking at fried chicken too. I was salivating. LOL

pixelgal said...

It's refreshing that even my Diva has things that turn out like something I might have made. (Cotswold savory anyone???) Anyway, the only thing I've ever done with Tahini is make my own hummus. A cookie wouldn't be my choice for this wonderful paste. However, I applaud you for trying...and reporting your failure as well. Onward and upward!

Deb said...

OMG I'm so glad I'm not the only person who saw fried chicken LOL! Sorry about those cookies - I was looking forward to a new use for that darn can of tahini beside hummus!

Have you tried an online search like recipezaar or even Sparkpeople?

Mom said...

What a shame, Dive. They look really good!

Growing up, we had a family in our circle that was totally health food nutty. The wife never used sugar. She was a great cook, but ALL of her baked goods were horrible because they lacked butter or sugar or...anything that tasted good. My dad tells a hilarious story about a sugarless apple pie that looked and smelled SO good, but biting into it was the most disappointing thing EVER!

words...words...words... said...

I'm very impressed that you would also post your failures! I don't like tahini even for its intended purposes, but this seems an admirable try.

Ingredient substitutions are fun. I have a bottle of agave sweetener, and have no idea what to do with it.

Juliet said...

No, but I do love tahini on sandwiches.

pixelgal said...

'Mom' reminded me of our now defunct LFF group (low fat food)or years past. Each month someone in the group would bring a healthy dish, most of which were totally tasteless masses. The most memorable was the yogurt pie which needed to be eaten not with a spoon but with a straw! The group was disbanded thereafter. We all celebrated.

Anonymous said...

At least you learned something! :) And like Words said, I'm impressed you post even the things that don't turn out so well. Now we know you are human ;)

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The Diva on a Diet said...

I'm really laughing about all the fried chicken comments. Weird!

I have no problem posting about my less-than-stellar creations ... I'm human and things don't always turn out as planned. In this case, I'm laying the blame squarely on the recipe, which I followed to a "T".

I'm sure my tahini was not rancid, because I used it for the white bean dip, which was excellent. I just think the cookie itself is doomed. I have searched for other tahini based cookies on all the recipe sites and the recipe I found were almost exactly the same as the one I used.

Were I to try it again, I'd probably cut the amount of tahini in half and use some butter. We shall see!

Thanks to all of you for the kind words and comments. I appreciate each and every one of you! :)

Mom and Pixelgal - have me laughing at the cardboard health food and Low Fat Food Group. Pixelgal, I'd almost forgotten about that. Good times! LOL

words words words - love agave nectar! Let me know how you end up using it.

Vincent, thanks so much for your kind invitation. I will check out! :)

Tangled Noodle said...

I have neither baked nor cooked with tahini before so I can't offer any suggestions. I recently had 'halva' or 'halwa' which is like a tahini fudge; it had pistachios and honey which sounded really good but the flavor was . . . hard to describe with any enthusiasm. Perhaps tahini simply isn't meant for sweet flavors. Sorry about the letdown!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tangled Noodle - perhaps you're right about that. My cookies were hard to describe with any enthusiasm too. Love that phrase. lol

Daily Spud said...

Hmm, have not tried tahini in baking though I did try it in a frozen dessert with banana and cocoa and it was surprisingly good (

The other thing that occurred to me is that I do find some brands of tahini to have more of an aftertaste than others, which actually put me off tahini for a long while. I rediscovered it lately, when I got a jar of light tahini (where the sesame seeds have been hulled first) rather than dark. Now I can't get enough of the stuff!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Spud - you make a fine point about the taste difference among brands. I'm going look for the lighter tahini before my next experiment. Many thanks for the tip!