Tahini Billionaire Shortbread
Recipe by Sarah Jampel
Crunchy shortbread base with gooey tahini caramel middle and crisp dark chocolate topping finished with a sprinkling of toast sesame seeds- the ultimate sweet treat.
The twist on this classic recipe is the use of tahini and sesame seeds which transforms the excessively sweet millionaire's shortbread into something so much better, with a slight nuttiness from the tahini.
Nonstick cooking oil spray or vegetable oil (for pan)
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (83 g) powdered sugar
⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
2¾ tsp. sea salt, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, divided
2 large eggs
1¼ cups (packed; 250 g) light brown sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup tahini
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (65%–75% cacao)
1) Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Lightly coat a 9x9” or 8x8” baking pan, preferably metal, with nonstick cooking oil spray or vegetable oil. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides. (If you have a precut sheet of parchment, simply slice it in half crosswise, then overlap the two halves to line the pan.)
2) Whisk 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour,¾ cup (83 g) powdered sugar,⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds, and ½ sea salt in a medium bowl. Cut ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter into ½” pieces and add to dry ingredients; toss to coat. Using your fingers, work in butter until pieces are about pea-size.
3) Separate 2 large eggs—the easiest way to do this is to crack open eggs one at a time and gently pour into a (clean) hand, letting whites fall through your fingers either into the sink or a small bowl while trapping the yolk. Add yolks to bowl with flour mixture and mix in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Dough should hold together when squeezed in your hand.
4) Scrape dough into prepared pan and gently press into an even layer (lightly flour your hands if needed). Prick dough with a fork in several spots (this will help it stay flat as it bakes). Lightly flour the fork if it's sticking to the dough.
5) Bake shortbread until golden brown, 24–28 minutes (or up to 35 minutes if using a glass dish). Let cool slightly.
6) While the shortbread is cooling, make the tahini butterscotch. Cut remaining ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter into 8 pieces. Heat butter and 1¼ cups (packed; 250 g) light brown sugar, whisking constantly, in a medium heavy saucepan over medium until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Whisk in ¾ cup heavy cream and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling becomes less frequent and butterscotch is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. (When in doubt, err on the side of giving the mixture another 30 seconds—it's better if it's a little too firm than too runny.)
7) Remove from heat, add ½ cup tahini and 1 tsp. vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated and smooth. Pour butterscotch over shortbread and tilt pan to distribute evenly if necessary. Chill until set, 30–40 minutes.
8) Coarsely chop 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (65%–75% cacao) and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in a microwave in 40-second increments, stirring between bursts. (Alternatively, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water a.k.a. a double boiler; do not let bowl touch water. Heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth.) Pour over butterscotch and spread evenly to edges of pan with a small offset spatula or rubber spatula; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Chill until chocolate is firm, 1–2 hours.
9) Using parchment paper overhang, pull bars out of pan and set on a cutting board; remove parchment. Using a serrated knife (a chef's knife will smoosh these), slice into 25–36 pieces (5–6 cuts in each direction) with a sawing motion. If you're having trouble slicing, feel free to freeze the bars for 20–30 minutes, which will harden the caramel and ease the process.
10) Do ahead: Bars can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at in the fridge.
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