Tahini Is The Underrated Ingredient Your Baked Goods Need

Tahini is pure liquid gold in creamy form. This thick paste, made from ground up sesame seeds, is essentially the nut-free cousin of peanut butter. It features a similarly smooth consistency and a distinct nutty flavor, minus all the sugar. It's also very nutritious, teeming with protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Just like its peanut-based brethren, there are a multitude of sweet and savory ways to use tahini. Although the rich spread is probably more commonly used as a dip or dressing — such as in hummus or drizzled on falafel — the sesame butter lends itself incredibly well to an array of baked goods, too.

You can use it to enhance the flavor of cookies, breads, and more. Even better, if you find yourself all out of butter, milk, or oil, you can also use it as an alternative to the fatty ingredients frequently used in baking.

Tahini boosts the flavor of baked goods

Tahini's intoxicating nutty undertones can add a delicious depth of flavor to baked goods. Not to mention, its earthy notes can perfectly complement the natural sweetness of ultra-decadent treats. Swirl it into your chocolatey cake or brownie batter, creating a beautiful marbled effect in the process. Or, add a flavorful punch to fruity snacks like tahini coconut date bars and even flaky pastries like Turkish coiled tahini buns.

Of course, not all tahini sauces are created equal. From hulled and unhulled to roasted or raw, the types of sesame seeds used to make your spread can greatly impact the flavor of your sweets.

For example, unhulled tahini, which is made from whole sesame seeds, is usually far more bitter than its hulled counterpart, which lacks its hull, or outer shell. Raw tahini, usually lighter in coloring, generally features a milder flavor compared to the darker, roasted variety, which boasts more robust flavors.

Use tahini to replace fats in baking

The versatility of tahini — which contains about eight grams of fat per tablespoon — is unmatched when it comes to baking. Thanks to its creamy mouthfeel, the spread can also be used as a substitute in many recipes that call for dairy products like butter or even milk. A tahini-based version of the latter can be made by mixing about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the sesame sauce with about three to four cups of water.

Replace butter with tahini at a 1:1 ratio when making baked goods like cookies and muffins. Just keep in mind that you may need to mix a tablespoon or so of water into the tahini first to add moisture to the thick spread, and match the consistency of butter.

The miracle spread can also be used as a substitute for oil, such as in boxed cake mixes, and even in some recipes that call for eggs, like cookie dough. Simply mix four tablespoons of water with two tablespoons of the sauce to replace one egg.