“Hal-e-vah”OR “hawl-vah” … now that you know how to say it – you can try to enjoy it! But, how to spell it!? Halvah, Halva, Halava – no one ever said I was good at spelling (or that spelling makes sense, so lets just skip that part and enjoy eating)!!
I have loved Halvah since I was a little kid (its a sweet from Isreal, Turkey, Greece, India… you know, that area of the world. If you are interested in learning more about it: check out the Wikipedia article, even though it isn’t the most accurate source – come good background info, or visit Dictionary.com for quick info). The flavor tastes a lot like the tahini that you use, so make sure you are using one that you like (and that you like that flavor). I really thought that this was going to be a lot harder to make than it was – but besides making sure you have these ingredients (which I did) it is really pretty easy!
GUESS WHAT – this is [pretty] HEALTHY [in my opinion at least]… made with just cashews, sesame paste, & agave. Yes, there are about 15 grams of fat & 175 calories if you base this on 10 servings – but all of those are natural fats! So it really isn’t that bad of a tasty sweet (rich) treat for you. All of the fats or calories in this are the “good” kind, just don’t eat the whole thing at once!!
From Diet Dessert n Dogs who adapted it from the book: Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar
- 1/2 cup cashews [lightly toasted]
- 3/4 cup sesame tahini
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds [lightly toasted]
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 3 Tbsp [yacon syrup or] agave nectar
- [10-20 drops plain, vanilla or chocolate stevia liquid, to your taste – I skipped]
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 1 Tbsp [vegetable glycerin or] agave nectar
- [10-20 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste – still skipped]
Base: In the bowl of a food processor process the cashews until they resemble a coarse cornmeal, no pieces left bigger than a sesame seed. Add remaining (base) ingredients and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball (scraping the sides down once helped). It should have the consistency of a thick dough (do not add liquid; you want it fairly dry, just moist enough to hold together). Break up the ball with your fingers or spatula and crumble it evenly around the processor bowl. Set aside.
Chocolate Swirl: Prepare to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (small pot of a little water with a bowl on top to put your chocolate in the top bowl). Stir constantly until the chocolate melts, a couple of minutes. Remove the bowl from the pot and then stir in the [glycerin or] agave [and stevia]. The mixture should remain smooth and pourable.
Finish: Drizzle the chocolate mixture directly over the halvah in the processor bowl. Don’t worry if it’s not even around the whole mixture. Pulse once or twice ONLY to just barely incorporate the chocolate in ribbons through the mixture (any more than this and you will end up with chocolate halvah). You want the chocolate to be distributed between the halvah, but not blended into it.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter and turn the mixture onto it. Folding the plastic over the halvah mixture, press the mixture into place to form a compact rectangle (make sure its not too thick, but is compact). Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least overnight. Once firm, cut into small squares for serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to one week. Makes 20-30 small squares.