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Eclipse cookies

Twelve round, black and white cookies in a grid on a white plate. the decoration mimics the phases of a solar eclipse

Make sure that your crescent shapes are the light colored part of the cookie, to represent how the sun looks as the moon's shadow eclipses it. (Kayte Young/WFIU)

What to bring to your eclipse viewing party? Eclipse cookies, of course!

This recipe uses a dough that is closely based on Marbled Tahini Cookies by Susan Spungen from the New York Times Cooking. One taster described these as "nutter butter adjacent," which makes sense. They are a sandwich cookie that is made with sesame butter rather than peanut butter. The lemon is a nice surprise, but you can certainly omit it, the buttercream works well on its own.

Black tahini is a crucial ingredient for this recipe, so if you can’t find it maybe try this method with a chocolate wafer cookie instead. 

Tahini Eclipse Cookies

For the cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup plain tahini
¼ cup black tahini (black sesame paste)
For the icing
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar (approximately)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lemon zest


  • Whisk together 3 cups flour, the salt and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl; set aside. 
  • In a stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, scraping bowl as needed (about 5 minutes). Add the egg and the vanilla; beat on medium-high about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  • Add the flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined; then increase speed to medium and beat until dough starts to clump together, scraping bowl as needed.
  • Remove dough from bowl and form it  into a fat log. Cut into two almost equal pieces. Return the slightly larger piece to the bowl, add the plain tahini, and beat on medium speed until fully combined. Remove that dough from the bowl, pat into a round disk, cover and put in the fridge to chill.  Add the slightly smaller piece and the black tahini to the bowl and beat on medium speed until fully combined. Remove that dough from the bowl, pat into a round disk, cover and put in the fridge to chill. 
  • While the dough chills, locate two round cookie cutters, one slightly smaller than the other. You can get creative and use jars, cups or lids for this–anything that will make a round cut in your rolled out dough. 
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • After 30 minutes or more, remove the plain tahini dough from the fridge. Lightly dust your countertop with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about ⅛ inch thickness. Use the larger round cookie cutter to make as many circles as you can. Gently transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment (the parchment is optional). Those will be your suns. 
  • Now roll out the chilled black tahini dough and cut out as many circles as you can with your slightly smaller circle cutter. Using the same cutter, remove slivers, or crescents from some of your black circles, to varying degrees. These will be your moon shadows, and you want to make cookies representing various stages of the eclipse. Leave some of them whole (to represent totality). 
  • Gently transfer them to a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the plain tahini cookies start to color slightly on the edges. Transfer the entire parchment sheet to a cooling rack. 
  • While the cookies bake and cool, mix up your icing. 
  • Blend all of the ingredients and beat until smooth. Adjust quantities as needed to get a nice spreadable icing. 
  • Once the cookies are completely cooled, cover each light circle disk with a thin layer of icing. Place one of the black shapes on top, lining one edge up with the edge of the lighter cookie. Repeat with the rest of the shapes. Dust all of the exposed icing with sanding sugar (optional). 
  • These are best enjoyed when they are freshly baked, but the dough can be frozen as long as it is tightly wrapped. 
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