3 egg whites, at room temperature
well-stirred tahini (preferably roasted, not raw) mixed with 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2/3 cup sugar (4.625 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 3/4 teaspoon rose water or orange flower water
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and flavored extract in a clean dry bowl.
Beat at medium-high speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer (or at high speed with a handheld mixer) until the egg whites are creamy white (instead of translucent) and hold a soft shape when the beaters are lifted.
Continue to beat on medium-high speed, adding the sugar a little at a time, taking 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in all, until the whites are very stiff. Scatter small spoonfuls of tahini over the meringue.
With a large rubber spatula, fold the tahini into the meringue; it’s OK if it’s not perfectly blended.
Drop rounded tablespoons of meringue—or use the pastry bag to pipe any size and shape you like—1 1/2 inches apart onto the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle each meringue with a pinch of sesame seeds.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Remove a test meringue and let it cool completely before taking a bite.
(Meringues are never crisp when hot.) If the meringue is completely dry and crisp, turn off the heat and let the remaining meringues cool completely in the oven.
If the test meringue is soft or chewy or sticks to your teeth, bake for another 15 to 20 minutes before testing another meringue.
To prevent the cookies from becoming moist and sticky, put them in an airtight container as soon as they are cool. May be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.