These flavorful and crisp sesame cookies are made with some of my favorite ingredients: toasted sesame seeds, tahini, and some orange blossom water for a touch of a more exotic flavor. Really simple to make, and the flavor is really unique. A love at first bite for me! :)
Orange Blossom Water
Tahini & orange blossom are a flavor pairing I love very much. It's traditional in Middle Eastern cuisine, and I think the first time I fell in love with it was trying Harriseh (a lovely Lebanese dessert flavored with tahini and orange blossom or rose water) many years back.
These two flavors just work so well together I've been using them in a myriad of ways over the years. I love it especially in this oldie tahini and orange blossom vegan cheesecake recipe.
And if you're looking for more recipes to use up some of that orange blossom water in besides these sesame and orange blossom cookies, this pistachio avocado cake is always a favorite as well. And if you have Unconventional Treats, you'll find more recipes using orange blossom water there (the macaroons being my favorite!).
Quick Tip: I find that I can get the Cortas brand of orange blossom water way cheaper in person in Middle Eastern grocery stores than online.
One of my favorite things about these cookies is that they have just the right amount of crispness to them. For a gluten-free, vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free cookie, that's not always an easy thing to achieve (softer cookies are more the norm in this realm...).
Of course they were snappiest on their first day, and I totally expected them to soften up by day 2, but was surprised that they mostly retained their crispness even in storage. Snappy sesame cookies for the win! :)
Sesame Cookies (with Orange Blossom)
Deliciously flavorful and crispy sesame cookies, made with tahini and orange blossom water. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, and nut-free.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 37 minutes
- Yield: 8 cookies
- Category: cookies
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: vegan, dessert, gluten-free
- 6 tbsp white rice flour
- 2 tbsp hulled tahini (the runnier, the better)*
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Place the sesame seeds used for topping in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Process all cookie ingredients in a food processor (I used the small bowl of mine) until the mixture sticks together and is at the beginning stages of forming a ball.** Gather all this dough up (I used a spoon to scoop it out of the processor) and form into a ball with your hands. Divide into 8 equal pieces of dough.
3. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Roll it around in the bowl of sesame seeds to coat, then gently flatten into a disk with your hands. Place on the cookie sheet and press down on the cookie with your hands to flatten it further (the flatter, the crispier the cookie will be). Repeat with the remaining cookies (keeping the cookies spaced about an inch apart on the tray).
4. Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes until nicely golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!
*Tahini generally comes hulled or unhulled. Hulled is the more common white kind (unhulled is usually darker and can have flecks of sesame seeds in it. It also has a stronger and more bitter flavor, which is why you want to use a hulled variety for this recipe instead). The tahini should ideally be quite runny -- I find that authentic Middle Eastern brands usually have creamier and runnier tahini. You can use whatever you find though, but if using a regular thicker grocery store variety, I recommend using a freshly opened jar and stirring the contents really well to get it to be more on the runny side.
**The texture of the dough can be different depending on the tahini used. Some batches are runnier than others + brands vary, etc. The dough should be soft and pliable, as soft as possible without being too sticky to handle. If the mixture feels too sticky at this point, add a bit more flour (1 teaspoon at a time) and process again to incorporate; if too dry, add a bit more maple syrup.
Keywords: sesame cookies with orange blossom (vegan, gluten-free)
Fanni Matrai says
Hi :) Can I use brown rice flour instead of white?
Hi Fanni. Yes, absolutely.
martine Thompson says
I've made these cookies numerous times and they are an absolute winner. Everyone loves them!
Thanks so much or sharing your feedback, Martine! :) I'm glad you're enjoying these.
Hi Audrey - the cookies look amazing, I can’t wait to make them for a picnic next week! And will deforest double maybe even triple the recipe :) How many days ahead of serving the cookies can they be made? Thanks!
Hi Michele. I always find homemade cookies to taste best on day 1 & 2, but they can be made 3-4 days ahead no problem. Enjoy them :)
I made this recipe and I confess that I was positively surprised! So I decided to test the cookies with my daughter who has a very demanding palate and she just loved the recipe! Thanks to share
Aw, so happy to hear that! :) I'm glad you're enjoying the cookies.
Hi Audrey, I am planning to make these cookies today, I am in india where we don’t get orange blossom water any substitute I can use
Hi Sweety, I've seen orange blossom water that's made in India, so perhaps it's out there somewhere waiting to be found :) I just did a quick google search and saw that amazon.in carries a version, though it's currently out of stock, but maybe you'd have better luck searching local online shops or physical markets, since I don't know much about the shopping experience there.
As for these cookies, the orange blossom adds a lot of flavor and pair really well with the sesame. But you can maybe substitute it with another flavor, like maybe regular orange flavor, lemon flavor, or maybe just vanilla? Not sure if rose water is just as hard to find as orange blossom where you are, but rose water (not rose oil!) would probably work great here too.
Can I sub more maple syrup or flour for the sugar? Or even eliminate it completely?
Hi Yasmeen, you can try it both ways. The coconut sugar helps to make these more "snappy / crisp" and also adds a bit of sweetness. You can try both options you proposed, you might just need to adjust the dough a little as you go (i.e. if it turns out too wet / sticky, add a touch more flour and mix again, if too dry / crumbly, add a touch more syrup).
These are delightful! They are light and crispy, hold together well and are super-simple to make. I doubled the recipe and was glad I did as they are disappearing quickly. Especially like the orange blossom water, which is subtle but adds an elegant touch.
Thank you Audrey!!
Thanks so much for the lovely feedback, Shelaki! So glad you're enjoying these cookies :)
Silly question! Have you attempted to dip these cookies in coffee or tea? If so, does it maintain structure or does it crumble? Wanting to try new gluten free recipes for tea/coffee hour!
Hi Emily, you know, I haven't tried dunking these, so can't say. But it's a small batch recipe so you can always make them and test it out first :)