Before taking the headlong plunge of parenthood last year, there was another threshold (nearly as terrifying) that Tim and I crossed the previous summer....a swan dive into the world of homeownership. Nearly two full years ago, we began looking for a little square of earth to call our own here in the desert, touring a list of not-quite-right spaces along the way. We saw lovely houses that would have been perfect except for the price, a dumpy charmer that had an insanely large yard but scary neighbors, a neat little reno right across from the library that was also positioned scarily close to a major artery road, and even a sweet midcentury fixer-upper that we initially fell in love with and bid on (although luckily, the offer fell through). Finally, we found our home-to-be, a sweet little 1970s beige brick bungalow with mature trees, and it was an instant kind of love--we knew this must be the place.
Why do I mention this? Because at the moment I type this, the love of my life is sprawled on the couch in a Sunday-afternoon-relaxed kind of way, there is a snoozing dog nearby, and our adorable little bean (the single greatest leap of faith I have ever taken in my life, and the one with the greatest payoff) sleeps soundly through his midday nap in the next room. We have been nestled in this house for nearly two whole years now, tackling projects and making it our own, and it suddenly occurs to me that this house feels more like HOME than any other since I first left my parents' home. This is where my son will take his first steps and say his first words, this will be the setting for so many of the next few years' adventures and family meals and happy memories. Unlike the many apartments and rented rooms I have passed through in the last two decades, this one is HOME. Did I mention the best part? It's on a street called (yes, really) Sesame Street. BEST PARENTS EVER.
Not long ago, I had the idea to commemorate our little patch of heaven on Sesame Street with a special cookie (because I can be super-corny like that, and because we deserve our own cookie!) that emphasizes sesame as an ingredient. This recipe, a chocolate cookie sandwich that marries a deep-dark cocoa flavor with the earthiness of black sesame seeds and a filling of sweet, tahini-spiked buttercream, is the recipe I developed as our 'Sesame Street Cookies.' Like all things in my life, it's a work in progress (I'd like the cookies to be even more buttery and crispy somehow, this version is a bit soft and chewy), but it's good enough to share and I can't wait to share them with you all! The tahini buttercream is adapted from a recipe from the inimitable Molly Yeh, whose tendency to put sesame flavors into sweet things is one I wholeheartedly endorse. Please enjoy this little taste of Sesame Street (and if you have suggestions for a crispier cookie, please, feel free to send them my way)!
Makes about 24 single cookies, or 12 sandwiches
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
For the tahini buttercream:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup tahini
Pinch of salt (to taste)
In the bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment), combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate in the cold butter, tossing occasionally to combine with dry ingredients. Add vanilla and egg yolk, mix on medium-ish speed until mixture holds together into a ball. Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While dough is chilling, clean out your stand mixer bowl and fit it with the whisk attachment. Make tahini buttercream by combining all ingredients and whipping until smooth and fluffy. Add salt to taste. Keep at room temperature to make sure it stays spreadable.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment, until dough is approximately 1/8" thick. Use the cookie cutter of your choice (mine is about 2 1/2" and yielded 24 single cookies) to cut out shapes, then place on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are firm to the touch, 22-25 minutes. Let cookies cool completely, then frost with tahini buttercream, sandwich together and enjoy!