Smoky Salted Tahini-Chocolate Shortbread

When I post sweet recipes you guys seem to come forward to show appreciation more than if I was posting a savoury recipe. It seems like I am fuelling constant cravings .CAKE!!! is a common response, you know who you are? Now is your oooh aah moment.Inspired by a Portuguese favourite Bolo marmore , simple plain shortbread has been given a facelift here with the addition of chocolate and tahini. They are the perfect teatime accompaniment for grown-ups. Not too sweet, with a nice smoky tahini flavour. They look stylish in their uniqueness, and with the added bling of salt blossoms sprinkled over the top, they are irresistible. I arranged them like a jenga game. Take turns to remove a block from the stack and balance it on top, creating a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses. What fun, and could this new presentation become a fun to way to eat biscuits?
These buttery, nutty, salty shortbread cookies have enough structure to hold together when you pick them up, but when you take a bite, they are meltingly tender. The salt compliments the tanginess of the chocolate, and brings out the nuttiness from the tahini. Marbling the dough creates a striking pattern. Enjoy them with a cup of coffee or tea.Thinking of Christmas they would also make a lovely gift for a foodie friend, packaged up in a nice box.
Salted Tahini-Chocolate Shortbread

Makes 18 fingers
1 cup (about 2 ounces) powdered sugar
1 cup tahini, well stirred
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1 ¾ cups (about 7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons flor de sal
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon flaky flor de sal crystals

Beat sugar, tahini, butter, and egg yolk with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and pale, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Stir together flour and kosher salt in a medium bowl. With mixer running on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, beating until combined, about 1 minute (mixture will be crumbly but should hold together when squeezed). Transfer half of the dough (about 1 1/2 cups) to a medium bowl; set aside. Add cocoa to remaining dough in bowl, and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line bottom of a straight-sided 13- x 9-inch metal pan with parchment paper. Spoon alternating clumps of varying sizes of each dough into bottom of prepared pan to create a marbled pattern. Using a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan (it should be about 1/4 inch thick). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough all the way through into 18 (about 4 1/2- x 1 1/4-inch) bars. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with flaky sea salt.
Bake in preheated oven until top is light golden and begins to look dry, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pan 180 degrees on rack every 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Immediately re-cut the cookies along the lines. Let cool in pan completely, about 1 hour. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.


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