Halvah is an addictive Middle Eastern sweet traditionally made with honey and ground sesame seeds, called tahini, and often studded with nuts. Apparently there are versions made with semolina flour, seeds, beans, and even vegetables, but I have not tried any of those. I can’t get past the honey and tahini combination. It’s just too good. Especially swirled with dark chocolate.

An uncooked Halvah:

  • 1 cup ground sesame seeds (tahini)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds, optional

Mix all ingredients just until creamy but not sticky. Form into balls or place in a pan lined with waxed paper and weigh down with heavy weight. Store in refrigerator.

A cooked version of Halvah:

2 cups honey
1-1/2 cups sesame tahini
1/2 to 2 cups toasted sliced almonds, pistachios, or other nuts (optional)

Place the honey in a heavy pot and the tahini in a smaller pot, and set the tahini aside for the moment. Heat the honey over medium heat to soft ball stage (235-240F or 118-120C), which is when a drop of the honey placed in cold water forms a soft ball that loses its shape when taken out of the water.

Once honey has reached soft ball stage, set it aside and place the pot of tahini on the heat until it reaches 120F (50C).

Pour the heated tahini into the honey and stir well with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and well combined.  Add the nuts and continue to stir as the mixture cools and stiffens. This may take five to eight minutes.

Pour into a greased cake pan or spring pan. Let cool to room temperature, then wrap the whole pan tightly in plastic wrap and store in fridge for 24-36 hours. Crystals should form in the halvah during this process. Remove halvah from pan and cut into slabs with a sharp knife.

Wrap individual slabs tightly in plastic wrap. Keeps well for several months in the fridge if tightly wrapped.