March 14th, 2016

A Sweet, Sweet Date With Tahini

When my favorite chef and blogger suggested I pitch in and write a tahini post, I was resistant to say the least. Especially when she suggested this arctic char dish.

Fish? Blech. I’m not cookin’ fish,” was my response. That was clearly not me at my most helpful.

After several suggestions, I got sucked in when my lovely wife exclaimed, “This looks interesting.” And it was!

She’d happened upon a sweet tahini treat reminiscent of my favorite candy — the peanut butter cup. I can not get enough of those delicious discs and tend to eat them by the bucketload. Well … that may be an exaggeration, but not by much. I can knock down an entire bag of the Halloween singles in one sitting. And don’t even get me started on peanut butter cup ice cream.

But here’s the rub: I’ve chosen to give up chocolate for Lent this year. Giving something up for Lent is NOT supposed to be easy. And since I love hot chocolate, during the colder months, this is a particularly difficult sacrifice for me. So the one-two punch of eliminating that steamy beverage AND Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups has left me really wanting in the sweets department.

IMG_4582Now, I know very little about tahini. If it weren’t for Sarah’s post last week, I would think it was a random paste my most-awesome-chef wife breaks out every once and a while to make her incredible black bean hummus and leave it at that. But there clearly are some sweet applications for it too.

The other amusing aside is that I was encouraged (by said wife) to use her “gingerbread men” candy tray to make them.

“C’mon!” I argued. “I wrote a post last month where I made a heart shaped scones. They are going to send the authorities to revoke my man-card.” I immediately ran to put on one of the Die Hard movies to up my testosterone levels.

Funny thing … we have no other baking cups to form these things, so, under duress, I ran with gingerbread men shaped snacks and figured I could spin it.

As to the prep work, crazy easy! Even for me who normally takes 48 hours to cook minute rice. We could have run this tasty treat in May when we typically feature recipes with only five ingredients. The toughest part was figuring out what it meant to pit a date (as opposed to date a pitt?). Though, on a more serious note, I could have done a better job portioning out the ingredients as the forms were a lot smaller than cup size.

So here it is … my manly version of the tahini cup in action figure (it’s not a doll) form. The cover photo would have been way funnier if I had filled them with strawberry jam…

Next time.

“Honey”, I Shrunk The Salted Tahini SoldiersIMG_4570

Inspired by the recipe at RunningOnRealFood.

1 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup raw tahini
1 – 1 1/2 tsp honey (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Start by soaking the dates in hot water for 10 minutes.

While dates are soaking, mix the tahini, coconut oil and honey (the original recipe suggested maple syrup) in a bowl until smooth.

If you’re using a mini muffin liner, add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to the bottom of 20 liners. If you are using some other vessel (like my action figure molds!), use your judgement. You’re building the bottom layer of your “cup”. I filled 12 “soldiers”. Put them in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes to set.

Blend the dates with the sea salt until it’s completely smooth and creamy.

Divide the blended dates by spoonfuls into the muffin liners/mold. Then pour the leftover tahini mixture over the top, spreading it around to keep the top flat.

Place them back in the freezer for about 20 – 30 minutes, until fully hardened.

Store them in the freezer as they melt pretty quickly.

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Posted in Dear Diary