Grain Free Yin Yang Cookies (chocolate and vanilla) For the New Year

yinyang cookieHappy New Year’s Day!

Today I felt inspired to test drive a new cookie idea. I am eagerly trying to think of new ways to use black sesame seeds in cooking this winter, since they are one of the fantastic black foods that support the health of our kidneys.

I used the taiji or yin-yang symbol because winter is the season to restore the root of our yin and yang housed in the water elements. Winter solstice marks the time where yin is at its peak of the year and the seed of yang starts to wax again. Immediately after the solstice, yin begins to wane. From now on, each day that we move forward, yang will be growing ever so slightly stronger. This is an ideal time to restore the foundation of our energy, and even though yang is building, it is still important to use yin activities, like rest to help restore our foundations of health.

Nutritionally, we turn to the theory of Chinese medicine to look at how to incorporate foods that support rebuilding our foundation during the winter. Black foods are theoretically important. Black sesame has always been a go to for me, since it is easy to incorporate  as a garnish on stir fries, curries, soups, stews, and to use in both dressings and marinades.

However this winter, I encountered an amazing grain free cookie recipe from My New Roots‘ blog that utilized tahini to create a delectably moist, grain free cookie. It was a short leap to think about making a similar cookie with black sesame. I’m a sucker for black and white cookies, and so I adapted the black sesame mixture with unsweetened cocoa powder, and made a regular tahini vanilla dough to make my taiji black and white cookies. If you like these cookies, please check out My New Roots recipe here. This is truly what inspired mine.

Some added benefits about using a black sesame tahini in winter. Black sesame seeds are higher in iron. The iron content is a little over double that in regular tahini. If you are a menstruating woman, these can be an ideal treat during that time of the month. And since these cookies are an excellent blend of protein, high quality fats, and quality sugars, these make an excellent post workout snack.


Black dough:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cups black tahini
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder, like Wonder Cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

White dough 

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup regular tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup honey  (OR for a vegan cookie, simply do 1/2 cup total of maple syrup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


Make the black dough first. If you want to make your own black tahini, you’ll need a high powered blender that can make nut butters, like a Vitamix. To make your own, simply put 1-2 cups of black sesame (you can roast them first if you want a nuttier flavor), in your blender. Follow instructions for your blender on how to make nut butters. If the consistency isn’t as smooth as you’d like, try adding 7-8 T of olive oil or avocado oil or flaxseed oil and continue to blend on high until the tahini becomes smooth. Even though I have a vitamix, I struggled to get the smooth consistency that I wanted without adding some olive oil. I was able to do 2 cups of black sesame seeds and 7 T of olive oil to make 1.5 cups of black tahini. Depending on where you live, black tahini may not be available at your local grocery store. It is easy to purchase online.

In a medium bowl, add all the wet ingredients, stir thoroughly with a spatula. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt to the wet ingredients. Stir together with the spatula until completely combined. The dough will be dry. Set aside.

Make the white dough in another bowl. Again, add all the wet ingredients, and stir thoroughly. The white dough can be made vegan by doing 1/2 cup of maple syrup. I only had 1/4 cup of maple syrup left, so I substituted the rest with 1/8 cup of honey (a full 1/4 cup would create much too sweet of a cookie) and love how the flavor combo of the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla came together. Stir in the almond flour and salt until all ingredients are well combined.

To make the cookies: 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Use a tablespoon to scoop out 1T of dough at a time. I started with the white dough. If you want to make a taiji (yin yang) symbol, roll the tablespoon of white dough into a ball, and then cut it in half. Roll each half between your palms, now work it gently into the curved teardrop shape of half of a taiji symbol. Place on your parchment or silicone baking mat and repeat until your dough runs out. This will make about 46-40 halves. Repeat the process with the black dough, and squish together the taiji symbols. Flatten slightly before baking. If that all sound like too much work, you can make simple half and half cookies by just squishing the halves together to create a half chocolate and half vanilla cookie.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

e9e31c908af2e8b59f7a151efa47f28eLindsey Thompson is an East Asian Medicine Practitioner at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She loves growing vegetables, raising chickens, and striving to get the most out of life. Practicing medicine and help people find ways to improve their health at home is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her career. Check out her Chinese medicine based lifestyle and nutrition video series, Ancient Roots: What Chinese Medicine Can Teach Us About Our Diets. Link in the side bar of the blog.




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