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!
For more cookie ideas see the round up of holiday cookies here, all using products from Rodelle.
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.
Dip them in dark chocolate and they are heavenly!
Oh man!! That would be awesome! Then dipped in coffee 🙂
Becky–I adore halvah! We had a deli several blocks away from our house growing up and they sold halvah in bulk. If I went there with my Mom she would buy me a snippet. My favorite was the marble with chocolate swirls! I even have a Halvah and chocolate dessert in my cookbook. Definitely making these cookies–Pinned for later!
I’ve been wondering if it’s halvah or halva. I see it both ways online! On another note, I think you and I share similar taste buds!!
I made these yesterday for a Mediterranean dinner last night (we have a once a month dinner night with 2 other couples & we trade off hosting). I made one alteration, added carob chips (because that’s the flavor I loved from the marbled Halva I used to buy occasionally but can rarely find anymore). They ended up looking more like a chocolate chip cookie (flattened in cooking more than I expected). They were wonderful anyway & you must try the addition of the carob chips! I doubled the recipe & maybe that’s why they flattened a bit (also used half cake flour to get more crackle on top). Thinking because the cake flour is lighter I should have increased it a bit. This is a definite keeper. Everyone really enjoyed them. I had to laugh at one point as all the members of the dinner group was sitting at the table after dinner was done – munching on tea, cookies & a small dish of Kheer pudding, looked over at my friend who broke another cookie in half and obviously enjoyed the first half, then couldn’t leave the other & went back for it. Thank you for the wonderful treat!
Oh this makes my heart so happy! I had these same feelings when I first tried these cookies; I simple couldn’t get enough!! I will definitely add carob chips next time. About the crackle on top that normal cookies get, I think of these more like shortbread cookies in that they will be more dense and sandy and less chewy like a chocolate chip. So the flatness and lack of crackle is just how they should be (not too flat but there won’t be much puffiness). Hope that helps! Thanks so much for sharing about your gathering!!