A Sunday Night Recipe: Tahini Walnut Rolls

I’m taking a hiatus from politics for a while. Here’s a recipe I played with this week. Love the people in my life who look forward to me experimenting with new recipes and are willing taste-testers.

I have a bunch of Food in Fiction recipes on the cooking blog, I love finding or recreating recipes in novels I’ve read. One of my very favorites was the Lane Cake from To Kill A Mockingbird.  So when I started writing, I wanted to include foods in my books that match recipes on my blog.

In my newest endeavor, I have included a little Turkish Cafe as a part of the local color and I wanted to try out a few pastry recipes to use in the book. This was one of the simpler (and not deep fried) that I decided to give a try.

This is not the definitive recipe – if you Google Tahini Rolls you’ll find dozens of variations. Everyone’s grandma must make her own version. This one seemed the easiest to replicate.

These are much different than I expected. Light, crisp, flaky and not too sweet, they go great with coffee.  I really liked them.  This recipe makes about 2 dozen:

Tahini Walnut Rolls

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg instant dry yeast
  •  4 cups flour (480 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup tahini paste
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs roasted sesame
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds to sprinkle over buns

Warm milk, butter, oil and sugar to 90 degrees (F). Add packet of yeast and mix gently.

Mix together flour and salt and add, 1 cup at a time, to the milk mixture. Blend thoroughly and mix until it forms a soft ball. Knead gently for 2 minutes.

Remove to a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, mix tahini and sugar together until smooth. Chop walnuts.

Divide dough into two balls. Roll one of the balls out until very thin (but not thin enough to tear).

Spread ½ of the tahini mixture over the rolled dough. Sprinkle half the walnuts and 1 tbsp of sesame seeds over the dough. Roll up into a jelly roll.  Slice into one inch thick pieces. Lay flat onto a baking sheet. Gently flatten.

Repeat with second ball of dough.

Mix egg yolk with a bit of water and brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.


Open thread.

22 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    Those look delicious. I love rolls like that. With the yeast I’m guessing they’re sort of like cinnamon rolls? I also like rolled cookies.

    I’m planning on making chili. I have a bunch of cans of various tomato items (chopped, diced, sauce, etc.) that expired in 2015. The cans look okay so fingers crossed they’ll be okay. If they aren’t okay then I won’t make chili. I need to use them up or toss them, so I figured I’d give it a go.

  2. 2
    debbie says:


    How will you know they’re okay until you’ve eaten them and gotten sick?

  3. 3

    @Yarrow: Surprisingly they are not like cinnamon rolls – they are firm, crisp and flaky, vs. the gooey, bread-like texture of cinnamon rolls. Great for dipping in coffee.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    'Niques (lurker; occasional commenter) says:

    These look/sound delicious, and I’m going to bookmark this page. One thing though . . . there appears to be an egg (third ingredient) that doesn’t get used . . . ?

  6. 6
    Yarrow says:

    @debbie: I don’t worry too much about canned food if the cans look okay. There was one can that looked like it might have a problem at the seam so I threw that one away. Another one might or might not have had some swelling. Since I wasn’t sure, into the trash it went. The rest look fine. When I open them if the food doesn’t look or smell right I won’t use it.

    @TaMara (HFG): Thanks. That pretty much confirms my thoughts on it. I don’t like to waste food but I also don’t want to keep things around forever.

  7. 7
    Yarrow says:

    @TaMara (HFG): That sounds really delicious. I might give the recipe a try.

  8. 8
    Sab says:

    Belated thanks for your Russian pecan tea cakes.

    We used to have a pecan ball recipe as one of our standard Christmas cookies. When I cleaned out my dad’s house last summer I gave a bunch of my mother’s ancestral cookbooks to my niece.

    At Christmas I discovered that that recipe had gone off with the cookbooks. Your recipe was really similar. Thanks. I thought I had lost it forever.

  9. 9
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @Yarrow: and I have a older unopened container of tahini in my pantry – maybe I should try the posted recipe later this week

  10. 10
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    TaMara, Thank you for the link to your fascinating food blog. I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes, especially from the food in fiction area. Well done!

  11. 11

    Yummy rolls!

    MrsFromOhio is making sautéed shrimp and orzo with roast vegetables. Time to eat!

  12. 12

    @Mike in Pasadena:

    Thanks you guys. My plan is to do more recipe posts. I need a break from politics and I think many others do, too.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    I learned something new about cooking today that I truly did not think was possible, but now I know:

    It is possible to add too much black pepper to a pot of soup. In all my years of cooking, I have never thought it was possible for soup to have too much pepper. Yes, it was from a newly opened shaker of Penzey’s black pepper, but I have been using that for years.

  14. 14
    zhena gogolia says:


    I’m having to adjust to Penzey’s pepper — it’s potent! I love it.

    And we now seem to have goulash every week because their paprika makes it so yummy.

  15. 15
    WaterGirl says:

    @zhena gogolia: I love their black pepper! I guess I just got carried away. :-)

    Have you tried their Medium Hot Chili Powder? It’s so good, with a great complex flavor. I end up making my southwest vegetable soup every couple of weeks because the chili powder makes it so good.

    I do have Penzey’s paprika, but I don’t have many recipes that call for paprika.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:


    I add some additional smoked paprika to chilis and anything else that could use a little smoky flavor. I don’t even own any regular paprika, only the smoked kind. It’s also really good in stuffed peppers. It’s in most pre-mixed chili powders, so you may already be using it without realizing it.

  17. 17
    Mary G says:

    Did you cut those with a knife or dental floss? I made cinnamon rolls for Christmas Day, and it was great until I got to the cutting the log up part.

  18. 18
    Ruckus says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    I still need my Ballon Juice fix regularly but I also have a maximum level of current day political reporting that I can deal with. Unfortunately that is one of the desired responses to the BS that gets shoveled at all liberals on a daily basis.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m really not a fan of smoky. Their chili powder lists paprika as an ingredient, but they don’t list it as one of their smoked paprikas.

  20. 20

    @Mary G: The key is to not let them rise at all – chill if needed – and use a very, very sharp knife. My dough was ice cold when I started rolling it out, so it was still pretty cold when I cut it.

  21. 21
    Sab says:

    Do these tahini rolls freeze well?

  22. 22
    mousebumples says:

    I made similar rolls this morning – though I made more traditional cinnamon rolls (with pecans or raisins). I used a dough that rose in the refrigerator overnight, which works really well for my family, since it’s rare that I have a full day to devote to making dough, letting it rise, rolling it out, and making the rolls. (I also let the cinnamon rolls rise a bit more before I baked them.) But I’ll have to try this version with the tahini paste – thanks for the recipe!

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