Halva Cookies have been on my list to try making for years now. I once had this unforgettable meal at a local Lebanese restaurant and we finished out our evening with traditional tea and halva. Ever since then I haven’t been able to get out of my mind the perfectly sandy, melt-in-your-mouth texture of this cookie. While the flavor is full of depth and intrigue from the tahini and vanilla in the cookie, the texture is really what makes this cooking utterly amazing.
Just a little background on this magical cookie…Halva Cookies are made with tahini, a peanut butter like paste made from sesame seeds, flour, sugar, egg, and some vanilla. For these cookies I used a vanilla bean but feel free to use pure vanilla extract as a substitute. They are enjoyed in most Middle Eastern countries at the end of a meal or as a snack. You can find tahini at most grocery stores and at all health food stores. Make sure to stir up the tahini, as it often separates like a natural peanut butter does, before adding it to the recipe.
Lets just be honest here, during the holidays I’m not just having treats and cookies after dinner or on the weekends, my sweets consumption endures throughout the day. I may have a mid morning bite of candied nuts or peppermint candy and mid afternoon there’s always coffee and a cookie or two. These halva cookies are ideal afternoon treats, as they perfectly compliment some espresso or black coffee.
When I say these melt in your mouth, I’m not exaggerating here. These cookies literally turn into something magical when you take a bite. As you roll them into little balls before baking, they seem crumbly and the dough may have trouble sticking together a bit but this texture is exactly what you want for this cookie. Before experiencing halva I really hadn’t had any cookie have a texture like this before. They are truly one of a kind and though tis the season for cookies, I will definitely be making these year around!
Halva Cookie Recipe
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup tahini*
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeded or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease it.
- Cream together butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
- Add in tahini. Remove seeds from the vanilla bean and add those to the mixture (or extract).
- In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in by spindling it over the wet mixture with the mixer on low speed. Mix just until incorporated. Roll the cookie batter into 1 tablespoonful balls and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until starting to slightly crack on top.