The Washington Post

Sesame Blossoms

Sesame Blossoms 38.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2020 Dec 9, 2020

These sesame blossoms are inspired by the classic peanut butter blossoms, as well as Syrian barazek, which you can find in many Middle Eastern bakeries. Instead of peanut butter, the cookies get their chew and nuttiness from tahini, and like barazek, they’re coated in a crackly layer of sesame seeds.

The baking time as written results in a very chewy cookie with crunchy edges. If you want your cookies to be extra-golden brown, with more toasted sesame flavor, less chewiness, and more crunch, add 1 to 2 minutes to their bake time before topping with the chocolate kisses.

Make Ahead: The rolled and coated cookie dough can be frozen on a sheet pan and then stored in a plastic bag. Bake from frozen, but they will take about an extra 2 minutes to bake, and tend to be a little puffier.

Storage Notes: The baked cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. You can also freeze them for up to 1 month, though you may lose a few more sesame seeds. Wait for the chocolate to set completely before storing.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 38 servings; makes 38 cookies

  • Generous 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 tablespoons (7/8 stick/100 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (165 grams) well-stirred tahini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) untoasted sesame seeds, for coating
  • 38 unwrapped chocolate kisses (use dark, if desired)


In a small bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt for a few seconds on low speed and then on medium for about 1 minute, just until thoroughly combined (the mixture should not be fluffy).

Add the egg, tahini and vanilla, and beat on medium speed just until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl after the first 15 seconds to make sure the ingredients fully incorporate.

Add the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix, and stop as soon as there are no dry patches. Using a spatula, scrape down the bowl and give the dough a fold or two by hand to make sure there are no unmixed parts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.

Once the cookie dough is ready, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop the dough into 38 smooth balls, using a No. 50 disher or slightly heaping tablespoon (each ball should weight about 20 grams). Roll the balls generously in the sesame seeds, roll again between your hands to make sure the seeds stick, and place them a couple inches apart on the lined baking sheets (about 12 per sheet — they will spread, but not dramatically).

Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, just until the cookies are puffy, light brown and a little crackly. Remove from the oven, set a kiss in the center of each one (embed by slightly stamping it in) and return to the oven for 2 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown and slightly flatter, and the chocolate has softened but still holds its shape.

Carefully slide the parchment off the pan and let the cookies cool on the countertop. The chocolate should firm up after a couple hours, just about to the consistency of room temperature-set ganache. They should not regain the snap of tempered chocolate — soft is preferable here.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Kathryn Pauline, who blogs at

Tested by Becky Krystal.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie: 120

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 7g 11%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 12mg 4%

Sodium: 75mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates: 13g 4%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 2g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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