Recipe by Holly Cosner
My first experience of eating halvah was at a stand in Chelsea Market in New York City. It looked like slabs of fudge and I needed something to satisfy my sweet tooth. My mom and I soon discovered it was actually made out of tahini and had a flaky texture. We like to be adventurous and try new things so of course we had to try it. We then fell in love. We bought pieces of a bunch of different flavors including chocolate, peanut butter, and coffee. Even our service dog loved it, so we bought him his own piece of peanut butter halvah. We learned it is simple to make and extremely delicious.
Halvah, derived for the Arabic word for sweet, is a broad term for a dessert in the Middle East made with flower or nut butters and sugar to make a crumbly dessert. Depending on the region and recipe halvah is spelled differently and means something different. In South Asia, Halwa is like what we know as pudding in the United States. In Israel and many Jewish communities it is known as halvah. Halvah is similar to what we think of as fudge in the United States. However halvah is made with tahini, which is a paste made from sesame seeds. Halvah is especially popular in Israel because it is pareve, meaning no meat or dairy, so it is a good dessert for those who eat kosher. The brand Joyva sells halvah in many United States supermarkets including Giant. Halvah can be made in several flavors with different toppings. I tried many different recipes and this was definitely my favorite!
2 cups of honey
1 ½ cups of tahini
Up to 2 cups of nuts (optional)
Heat honey to 240℉
Heat tahini in a separate pot to 120℉
Add tahini to the honey and mix with a wooden spoon until completely mixed
Add nuts then continue mixing for about eight to ten minutes until it becomes stiff and hard to mix
Pour into a well grease pan and let it cool
Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 36 hours.
Holly is from Washington D.C. and an AU undergraduate majoring in history with a minor in Spanish. Currently, she is an intern with FoodPrints, working in D.C. Public Schools with their healthy eating program. However, her true passion is preserving history and learning more about the past.