[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

If tahini isn't a pantry staple in your house, you should remedy that immediately. The paste, made from ground hulled sesame seeds, is typically used in dips or sauces, most famously hummus and baba ganoush.

In the US, I see far less sweet applications, but halva is huge in some countries, as is bread spread with tahini and drizzled with honey. Because of its intense nutty taste, high fat content, and thick texture, it can also be used in many dishes that call for peanut butter.

I was determined to add tahini to muffins, and though the recipe took a few days to hammer out, I'm pretty pleased with the results. The muffin crumb is moist and just dense enough to hold pieces of chewy figs in suspension. The flavor is a good balance between sweet and nutty, and I've added a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top for extra flavor and texture.

These muffins are good way to use that last bit of tahini hanging in the jar, or to switch up your baking routine from peanut butter. But even if you have to go out and buy the tahini expressly for these muffins, think of them as the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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