Chocolate chip cookies may not be strictly a Mediterranean dessert, but we’ve taken the classic flavors used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern desserts and transformed them into a cookie! These cookies have a brown butter and tahini base, toasted pistachios, and tons of dark chocolate for a rich, nutty cookie. They have a crispy crust and a gooey center.
If you’re wondering what the heck tahini is, I’ll tell you. Tahini is a seed paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds. It’s the consistency of peanut butter. Its commonly used in hummus (including our roasted red pepper hummus) and is the key ingredient in a popular Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dessert—halva—a dessert made mostly of tahini, ground nuts, and honey.
Pistachios are another common ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and baking, like baklava. You’ll want to toast the pistachios before adding them into your dough. This does a couple of things; it enhances the nutty flavor and crisps the pistachios so you don’t have soft pistachios in your cookies.
With these cookies I decided to brown the butter (see our tips on browning butter here), which matches the nutty flavor of the tahini and pistachios. I used more brown sugar than white sugar because the molasses in the brown sugar complement the nutty flavors.
You’ll want to use dark chocolate chips to contrast the sweet and nutty flavor of the rest of the dough. You’ll see in the instructions to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I made a couple of cookies immediately after the dough was made and a couple of cookies the next day after refrigerating the dough and then did a little taste test. I found that the flavors had mingled and we’re better after the dough sat overnight. But, if you don’t have time to wait, the cookies made the same day were still insanely delicious.
- ½ cup +3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- ½ cup tahini, well stirred
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, well packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups flour, measured correctly
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups dark chocolate
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pistachios on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely before incorporating into dough.
- Brown butter until an amber color, cool to room temperature (solid, not melted). See our tips on browning butter here
- Cream together brown butter, tahini, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down sides of bowl if needed. In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add in to batter a little bit at a time. Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Stir in dark chocolate chips and pistachios. I reserved some pistachios to top cookie dough balls with. If you have time, wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I found that flavor is better as they mingle together overnight. However, your cookies will still turn out and be delicious if you don’t have time.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Take about ¼ cup of dough top cookie dough balls with some of the reserved pistachios (optional). Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.