Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tahini Hot Cocoa

With blizzard Jonas billowing towards Virginia, we knew that meant one thing for certain: cookies and cocoa. Our grocery list was a meticulous itinerary for tasty treats to get through a long weekend. If we were going to be holed in, we needed something to look forward to after shoveling snow for hours on end.  

The husband loves cookies. It started off as an Oreo obsession but that has slowly waned as he has experienced more home-made flavors. He was shocked when he started to notice the difference between manufactured goods versus oven-fresh. His new go-to cookie is homemade chocolate chip. For such a standard recipe, it amazes me how even the slightest variation can cause a drastic change. 

I would give these Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies a B+. They're mighty good but lacked that something special. Yes, they are soft and chewy; you would never regret making them. It's just that this house has met other cookies that have caused us to pause in adoration on the first bite.

For the husband, his favorite chocolate chip cookie remains the recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. For me, I love my go-to Bread Flour Cookies because they hold such a nice shape and do not require refrigeration before baking. The downside is that they are a little more cakey so I find a night in an air-tight container works wonders. On the total opposite end of the spectrum, I adore this recipe from Williams Sonoma. The one itty bitty detail that frustrates me is how the cookie can cling to the parchment because of the chocolate chunks. Your have to be careful with the bake time but aside from that, they're gold.

Snow is not complete without hot cocoa. My usual crowd pleaser is from Smitten Kitchen and we recently discovered tthe magic that is a touch of Mary Hite Bowman Carmel Cream liqueur (sorry folks, you have to visit the distillery in the Fredericksburg, VA to get a bottle).

Then out of left field, an entirely radical hot cocoa came into my tiny world: tahini hot cocoa. It sounds like madness... sesame in a cup... but I absolutely had to give it a try. I love the nutty flavor of black sesame and if this concoction held even a thimble of that magic, it would be my new best friend. Plus, it's vegan!

I definitely held back on telling Mike what was in his cup to avoid any bias. It's like no other cocoa I have ever tasted which is not a bad thing! Instead of regular milk, this calls for low-fat coconut milk - yummy! There's a little unsweetened cocoa power for the chocolate effect, a splash of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Instead of honey as a sweetener, I used maple syrup. Our organic, raw honey is not the sweetest and wouldn't contribute in terms of flavor.

This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of tahini but a word of caution - start slow. Add one tablespoon at a time and taste test. I enjoyed the full glory of the sesame but the hubs needed a little more milk to thin it out. The overall flavor is subtle, mature, and not overly sweet. Serve with a dollop of coconut whip cream and cinnamon stick to stir.

One last observation for this recipe! Because it's coconut milk, only heat to the point of serving because the longer it's on the stove, the more the milk reduces making it thicker and thicker. If you should, oh I don't know, accidentally let it boil for an extended period of time because you're distracted by the super cute foster cat.... your hot cocoa is going to have a consistency akin to pudding. On the plus side, I now have a new recipe in the works!

Keep cozy and warm with some Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies (from, "Stuck on Sweet) and a cup of Tahini Hot Chocolate (from, "My Name is Yeh")!