Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tehina Cookies

I have always been taught never to waste any food. My grandparents on both sides, having survived harsh times here in Germany and the territory which is now known as the Baltic Republics, were very efficient in making use of whatever they had. I never saw them throw out food that could still be eaten (e.g. stale bread was frequently turned into some kind of bread soup).
While this is certainly a good thing, it can put you in a tight spot if you suffer from our family disease: Always preparing too much. I definitely inherited it from my grandma, who would cook up a storm in her tiny kitchen, preparing quantites of food fit to feed a family of 10.
"Nu, willst du seyn hungrig, mejdelach? (Well, do you want to go hungry, little girl?)", she would ask and we would eat. Being unable to feed her family was one of her big fears. Indeed, I never went hungry at my oma's house (quite the opposite, in fact).
So, no wonder I made way too much tehina and found myself contemplating what to do with it. I know it keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks, but I prefer my food fresh. Plus, I probably would've forgotten about it until it turned rancid.
Out of the corner of my eye, however, I noticed a recipe for tehina cookies and decided those were what I would make with my tehina.
Recipe is here at Israeli Kitchen. I pretty much stuck to the recipe, except that I used butter (I hate margarine!) and real vanilla (about a third of a vanilla bean) instead of vanilla extract.
I had a little problem with the consistency of my dough, although I'm sure that wasn't the recipe's fault. I think my tehina contained a bit more oil than the store-bought stuff and thus the amount of flour stated in the recipe wasn't enough to make the dough as dry and crumbly as it's supposed to be. I just added a little more flour and then cornstarch until I liked the consistency (didn't want the cookies to become hard as a rock).
By the way, absolutely do add the pine nuts, and more than one per cookie. I was sceptical at first, but they do make all the difference. It's a perfect match.
My changes resulted in the cookies not being parve, but I just like butter better. They were incredibly soft, yet crumbly - they basically melted in my mouth. I gave some to my dad and he exclaimed: "Chalva cookies!". Chalva is one of his favorites. So in the end, everyone was happy and I didn't have to throw anything out.

And here are some pictures I took.

Making the tehina a little finer.

The perfect consistency I was going for.

Shaping the log using platic wrap.

Cutting... Baking... Done!


  1. Julia, your cookies look wonderful. Very well-thought out, your adaptation. And the photos make me hungry.

    Keep on bloggin', you're doing great!


  2. Thank you, Mimi! You provided me with the recipes to get started. I'm glad you like my cookies. I hope you will enjoy my blog in the future as much as I enjoy yours.