Middle Eastern Sesame Treats (Halvah)

There are several different varieties and even names for Halvahs, the healthy Middle Eastern treats. Halva is originally a confection made from semolina and has its origin in India although the recipe spread throughout West Asia, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, while being adjusted to the local taste of each region.They are even known in the African countries of Somalia and Libya. The Halvahs (Jewish spelling) refers to the sesame based confection which is what this recipe consists of. The treats are very rich treats and packed with iron, protein and calcium. Serve them after a light meal, with tea or pop into your lunch box for a nice treat.

Carob (which looks similar cocoa powder but has a slightly sweeter taste) is available in most health food stores (and sometimes can be found in larger supermarkets).

You will need a food processor to grind the almonds although you might find almond flour in your local health food store which you can use instead.


Very rich treats and packed with iron, proteins and calcium

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free but includes seeds/oils from seeds

This recipe is easy to make:

  • Vegan

Middle Eastern Sesame Treats (Halvah)

Makes 10 halvahs

Ingredients

  • 270 grams (9½ oz) almonds, ground in a food processor (or almond flour)
  • 125 millilitres (5½ oz) tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 tablespoons acacia honey
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (from a health food store)

Preparation

  1. You can use either almond flour or you can grind almonds in the food processor. Blend the 270 grams almonds until they resemble a course flour (might take 2-3 minutes). Be careful not to blend so much the flour become oily.
  2. Add the 125 millilitres tahini (sesame paste), 3 tablespoons acacia honey and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract You might need to scrape the insides of the bowl. Continue blending for 5-10 seconds or until the mixture is fairly coarse but sticks together when pinched with your fingers.
  3. Divide the mixture into two parts and leave half of the mixture in the food processor. Transfer the other half to a small bowl.
  4. Add the 1 tablespoon carob powder to the food processor and blend for 5-10 seconds.
  5. Now kneed both parts (seperately) with your hands so that everything combines well without cracks.
  6. Press the carob free half onto a plate and mould into a large square, 5 millimetres/0.2 inch high. Make sure there are no cracks.
  7. Now repeat with the carob half and ensure the squares are equal in size and thickness.
  8. Next, place the dark half on top of the light half and press firmly without crushing.
  9. Chill for one hour in the fridge.
  10. Cut into small squares.
  11. Roll each one into small balls (optional). They might brake a little so make sure you roll them firmly.
  12. Place on a cake plate.

Tips

  • You can use agave nectar instead of the acacia honey, however the acacia honey is stickier and therefore easier to use in this recipe. If you are vegan however you can use the agave nectar.
  • You can use cocoa powder instead of the carob powder.
  • You can omit the carob if you prefer.
  • You can roll each halvah in cocoa powder, sesame seeds, desiccated coconut and more if you prefer.