Tahini Rolls are a delicious on the go breakfast or midday snack for fans of Middle Eastern flavours and pretty pastries.
Lebanese Tahini Rolls, also known as “kubez el tahini,” are prepared with a yeasted bread dough and cut to look like cinnamon buns with a sesame swirl.
These sweet Middle Eastern rolls are quick and easy to make, featuring flavourful ingredients like olive oil, cinnamon, tahini and sesame seeds.
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What is Tahini?
Tahini, also known as tahina, is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. It is served by itself as a dip with other mezzes, or as a major ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush and sweet halva.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds that are soaked in water and then crushed to separate the bran from the kernels. The crushed seeds are soaked in salt water, causing the bran to sink. The floating kernels are skimmed off the surface, toasted, and ground to produce an oily paste. It can also be prepared with untoasted seeds and called raw tahini.
The oldest mention of sesame is in a cuneiform document written 4000 years ago that describes the custom of serving the gods sesame wine. The historian Herodotus writes about the cultivation of sesame 3500 years ago in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia. It was mainly used as a source of cooking oil.
Sesame paste is also an ingredient in some Chinese and Japanese dishes; Sichuan cuisine uses it in some recipes for dandan noodles. Sesame paste is also used in Indian cuisine in curries, chutneys and onion gravy.
What are Tahini Rolls?
The dough includes sugar and oil and has been described as having a texture between a bread and a cookie. It is leavened with yeast and can be baked after the first rise. Sometimes the pastry may be soaked in syrup made with sweeteners like sugar and honey, and flavored with cinnamon. While not required by all recipes, cinnamon is sometimes added to the tahini filling.
They are made by rolling the dough flat, spreading with tahini mixture, sprinkling with sugar and rolling into a log shape. The dough is sliced into smaller pieces and then flattened to form a circle shape.
Travel to Lebanon by Baking Tahini Rolls at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Sesame Rolls via adventures that had me zig-zagging through Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East feature piping hot kubez el tahini.
I ate sweet Tahini Rolls at a traditional Moroccan riad, on food tours of Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by Egyptian coffee on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night snack with mint tea in Amman, mid-afternoon coffee break in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and for dessert after massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
Where To Eat Authentic Sesame Rolls
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East before? It may be helpful to first sample Sweet Tahini Rolls at a local bakery to better understand how the appetizer is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired overall size, crunchiness of the exterior and spice level. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with Tahini Rolls, like Turkish Coffee or Moroccan Mint Tea.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants and bakeries that may serve a traditional Tahini Rolls include Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen, Paramount Fine Foods, Al’deewan Lebanese Bakery and Serano Bakery.
My Family Loves Sweet Sesame Rolls
My family loves baking.
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood spent in Toronto, Markham, Oakville and Muskoka are keeping cozy on a cold winter day by baking gourmet crackers, sourdough bread, muffins, pancakes, cookies, pie, cake, Nuts & Bolts and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
I bought a Black & Decker bread maker when I was in grade 6 and ever since I’ve been honing my bread making skills.
One of my families favourite pastries to enjoy at the cottage are classic cinnamon buns. I’d prepare the dough with my bread maker and the roll it out, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and top with chopped nuts and raisins.
After perfecting the ultimate Chocolate Cinnamon Babka a few years ago I felt it was high time to roll up my sleeves and slather tahini onto something sweet.
Sesame Tahini Rolls Health Benefits
Our homemade Sesame Tahini Rolls recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Rich in energy-boosting manganese, cinnamon is also antibacterial and may protect your brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
A useful source of copper, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, sesame seeds help support circulatory, digestive and skeletal health.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Whole wheat flour is rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
What To Serve with Tahini Rolls
There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day then keeping cozy by baking traditional Lebanese Sesame Tahini Rolls.
We like to serve this Tahini Roll recipe as a breakfast pastry, served with mint tea or espresso.
It’s common in the Middle East to enjoy warm Sesame Rolls straight out of the oven. They’re often slathered with creamy tahini and date syrup, perhaps Lebanon’s take on the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich?
Having guests over for dinner and are looking to impress with a unique dessert? Why not build fun Middle Eastern sundaes featuring pistachio gelato, sliced fruit, havla and chopped Tahini rolls.
For a simple pleasure, drizzle hot Tahini Rolls with liquid honey.
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Storing Tahini Rolls
If you have leftover Tahini Sesame Rolls you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container or bag for 2-3 days. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or toast in the oven.
We love doubling our recipe so we can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on baking in the kitchen. As soon as the rolls have cooled, store a portion of your sweet smelling pastry bounty in the freezer to enjoy as a quick snack a few days, weeks or months in the future.
How To Make Sweet Lebanese Tahini Sesame Rolls
Sweet Lebanese Tahini Sesame Rolls
- 1.5 tsp Yeast
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 0.5 cups Milk lukewarm
- Olive oil greasing
- 300 g All purpose flour
- 5 tbsp Unsalted butter melted
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 0.5 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 7 tbsp Tahini
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 Egg yolk beaten
- 1 tbsp White sesame seeds
- Put the yeast, sugar and milk into a small bowl. Mix to combine, then set aside for 5-7 minutes, or until it starts to bubble ad looks active.
- Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil.
- Put the flour and 0.5 tsp of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed, then slowly pour in the active yeast mixture. Add the melted butter and continue to mix for 1 minute.
- Add egg to the mixing bowl, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, until well kneaded.
- Use your hands or a dough scraper to remove the ball of dough, it should be sticky and elastic. Place it in the oiled bowl, turning it several times to ensure the entire dough ball is covered in oil. Cover the bowl and let it rest and rise in a warm place for an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Put the 0.5 cup sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, as you would when making cinnamon buns. Drizzle the tahini and honey over the dough and spread out using a palette knife. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the tahini and let rest for 10 minutes, until the sugar looks wet.
- Starting from one of the long sides, roll the dough inward to form a long, thin log. Slice the dough into 10 pieces, approximately 1 3/4 inches long.
- Sit each piece upright, then using the palm of your hands, gently flatten it to form a 3 1/4 inch wide circle. Cover with a damp dish towel and rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Transfer each roll of dough to the prepared baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart to give them room to grow in the oven. Brush the top and sides with egg yolk using a pastry brush and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake i the oven for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside for 20 minutes then serve.
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