Hungry Haley

it's more than food

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Bars (Grain-free)

Bars, Cookies, DessertHaley Hansen1 Comment

You can’t ever have too many cookie bars, right? These Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Bars are something special, unlike any other cookie bar out there. With molasses and tahini, they’ve got a unique flavor that isn’t too sweet for the senses. They’ve got a rich, yet light texture, and they’ll satisfy any dessert craving.

I’m the kind of person who likes distinct lines, clear definitions, certain answers, and reliable outcomes. I like things black and/or white, if you will. I like my cookies crisp around the edge, protecting a gooey and chewy center. I like my brownies rich and fudgey - none of that cakey brownie nonsense. I like plans and knowing what to expect. I like leading and - please don’t roll your eyes at me or click away from this page (gasp!) - controlling. Some of those statements scream “be a baker!” while some tap me ever (not) so gently on the shoulder each time I bake and remind me that they’re making the process more difficult to master and enjoy.

It was a Sunday morning here in SLO, just a couple weekends ago, when I’d planned to spend the day practicing some of the photography lessons I’d been studying all week. Of course, I needed something to photograph and believe it or not, I had no baked goodies in my entire kitchen. Again, gasp! As it goes with many of my recipe projects, I glanced in my pantry and the first thing to catch my eye was a jar of tahini, so tahini cookies it was. There are some other factors I consider, too, but nonetheless, the overall decision-making process for most recipes is quick. I examined a recipe I’d found on Pinterest and made my own adjustments, as I saw fit.

The first surprise to catch my eye was the thickness of the dough. Man, now I know why people use the phrase “slow as molasses”. This stuff sticks to everything and demands some serious dedication to scrape the sticky dough off the sides of the mixing bowl. Then again, though, the scant 1/4 cup of molasses was my own idea and is, without a doubt, the perpetrator of the stick. After forming poop-emoji-shaped portions of the dough onto the baking sheet, I swallowed my doubt and hoped for the best, sliding them into the oven to make some magic happen in ten hot minutes.

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Bars (grain-free)

They say you’re supposed to let your cookies cool on the baking sheet for about ten minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack, and then a couple more minutes just for good measure. Or maybe to prevent deadly tongue burns. Whatever the reasoning, I almost always ignore both rules. Despite the fact that it was 10:30 AM and the most I’d done so far that morning was walk to and from the coffee pot several times, I bit into a poop-emoji… I mean cookie! and my jaw dropped. Ladies, gentlemen - this dropping of my jaw has only happened once before in the recipe development process. Now, twice. I’m taking it as a sign - one that boldly reads “WE HAVE A WINNER”.

Why is it that when I remove all the pressure I place on myself, and sometimes even most (if not all) of the expectations and hopes for a specific outcome, I experience such joyful, fulfilling success? I do not understand. Why is it that when I place cookies in the oven solely for the purpose of becoming props in photography practice they turn looking like shiz from a digestive system that can’t process chocolate chunks but tasting like the potential best cookie recipe on the blog?

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Bars (grain-free)

Why is it that when I add not a single ounce of cocoa to the recipe the bars come out looking and tasting like brownies?

I’m just so confused. I thought I knew exactly what to expect. I thought I had this nailed down, and there I was with ugly cookies for photography practice and a damn good cookie recipe for an actual unplanned blog post.

Why is it that when something just really delicious and inexplicable and fulfilling happens I feel the need to question it like I’m some detective in my own innocent joy? I need to chill.

Makes 16 squares

1 pasture-raised egg
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 cups tahini (the runny kind)
1/3 cup filtered water
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8x8 baking pan with coconut oil. Set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg, coconut sugar, unsulphured molasses, and tahini. The mixture will thicken pretty quickly, and once it looks uniform, slowly pour in the filtered water while continuing to mix. You want to completely incorporate the water, and this will take 2-3 minutes of mixing.

  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, and 2/3 cup chocolate chips. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients, mixing simultaneously. The mixture will be very sticky, so use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.

  4. Finally, transfer the dough to the baking pan and press to the sides and corners to ensure an even bake. Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips over the top, and bake for 25-27 minutes. When a toothpick poked through the center of the bars comes out clean (which was around the 26th minute for me), they are finished baking. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least an hour before cutting.

  5. While they cool, make the chocolate drizzle. In a microwave safe bowl or double-boiler, slowly melt the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 2 tsp. coconut oil. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl in the microwave or in the double-boiler to stay warm.

  6. Once they’ve cooled, cut into 16 squares (or as many as you’d like) and transfer them to a cutting board or tray lined with parchment paper. Using a spoon, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar in any pattern you like. Allow this drizzle to set for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Serve and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookie Bars (grain-free)