Tahini Satsuma Blondies
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free
Something about oranges makes me think of the holiday season. My friend Emma Rose’s family has a party on Christmas Eve every year (I have been going to it for over 20 years) and every year there is mulled wine, which has oranges studded with cloves floating in it.
I wanted to make a little something with oranges, but maybe jazzed up a bit (it is the holiday season after all). Alyssa, another BFF, is from Seattle and her obsession is satsumas. We used to bicker all the time about why satsumas are better than clementines. After trying to satsuma, I fully admit that I was wrong.
Satsumas are an asian variety of mandarin organ. They looks almost exactly like clementines, slightly bigger and usually sold with their leaves still attached. The flavor differs from clementines though. Clementines can be very sweet; satsumas are sweet, but slightly less so, a bit more floral in flavor and almost what tastes like more orange-like? I can’t describe it very well (clearly), but if you find them (my local Whole Foods had them), try them.
Tahini is such a powerhouse. I normally turn to almond butter, but when I found Soom Foods Tahini, I realized just how good tahini could be. Soom is a woman-run business, which I adore. I want to do anything I can to support small, women-run businesses. Their tahini is made from premium single source sesame seeds so you are getting the best flavor. I sound like a sponsor, but I am not. I just really like their tahini.
If you are not a fan of tahini, then you can use almond or cashew butter in place of the tahini. I will say that the tahini works really well in their recipe because it is a good balance to the sugar in the recipe.
Silan? What’s that?
I had no idea what it was either and then I saw something about date syrup when I was perusing my Instagram account. I had never heard of date syrup, but I had just baked my Date Maple cakes and was feeling amorous towards the sweet little date. Well, I bought Soom Foods’ Silan (date syrup) and got to baking. And yes, I am always searching for things that I can bake with. This is why my pantry is always full.
Anyway. Turns out date syrup is an even better alternative to honey or maple syrup. It has less sugar and more fiber and tastes just as sweet. The flavor it what really gets me. It is like a sticky dark caramel, but a little fruity.
If you can’t find date syrup or would rather use what you have on hand, you can use maple syrup. If you use honey, only use 1/4 cup of honey.
1/2 cup olive oil (or avocado oil)
1 cup Tahini (Soom is my favorite)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup Soom Silan date syrup (You can also use maple syrup)
2 tsps gluten-free vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Zest of 3 satsumas (a delicious variety of Mandarin orange that I am obsessed with. You can also use clementines or 1 large navel orange)
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 tsp potato starch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (I used a chopped Taza Chocolate bar, but use what you like)
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13inch baking pan with oil or dairy-free butter and then line with parchment paper. You can also line the pan with tinfoil and then grease it if you want to save yourself some dishes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oat flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, tahini and satsuma zest. A trick I do is use the same measuring cup I used for the oil to measure the tahini; this means the tahini comes out a little easier with less scraping with a spatula.
Add the date syrup (or maple syrup if that’s what you’re using) and coconut sugar to the tahini mixture and whisk again until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again. Give it a good 3 to 4 minute whisk to get everything nice and smooth and incorporated.
Fold in the flour mixture to the tahini mixture. When almost all of the flour is mixed in, add most of the chocolate chunks, holding back a handful for topping.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, give it a good spread around the pan to make sure it is evenly distributed. Top with those chunks you held back.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes; the edges should be golden brown and the middle be just set (when you touch it it will feel firmer and springy). Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Drizzle a warm one with more tahini or even a runny dairy-free yogurt. It’s also delicious with apples sautéed with the juice from the zested satsumas.