Sesame Stars

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes (15 minutes of work)
Yield: 4 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies

If you love both halvah and shortbread, these cookies are for you.

* You can chill or freeze the dough practically indefinitely if you wrap it well and seal it in a plastic bag. Let it warm up almost to room temperature before rolling.

A few sesame seeds for the pan
1 cup ( 2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sesame butter or tahini
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups unbleached white flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sesame seeds
Granulated sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly sprinkle a baking tray with sesame seeds.
  2. Cream together the butter, sesame butter or tahini, and sugars in a medium-large mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt directly into the butter mixture, and stir until thoroughly combined. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2-inch shapes with a knife or a cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking tray.
  4. Sprinkle the tops with a few sesame seeds and some sugar, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.