Halva in cookie form
Chances are if you love halva, then you’ll love these cookies. Sweetened sesame is the basis for the sweet treat halva found in Southern European countries and further east. I first discovered it on a trip to Malta many years ago.
I love the simplicity of this cookie recipe. No flours or egg to behave temperamentally, just some nuts and seeds glued together with liquid sweetener and a little oil, with some baking soda to help them rise a bit.
These cookies featured in my Good Mood Food class at Made In Hackney earlier this month. Nuts and seeds are full of minerals that support good brain health, so these cookies are pretty rich and pretty calorific. As always, moderation in all things (including moderation)!
The recipe is based on the sesame cookies from Elana’s pantry, adapted to my preference. I suggest you use an accurate weighing scale. The texture of the cookies may not be quite right if the ingredients are out of balance (do you hear the voice of experience?).
Please do not substitute ingredients here. As an experimental Natural Chef, I spend a lot of time and, yes, money developing recipes, and I have probably tried that ingredient and found that it didn’t work well.
As an example, I determined that a granulated sugar just does not work in this recipe. It may eventually work in a recipe with similar ingredients, but not as a straight swap for syrup used here. The cookies took much longer to cook and fell apart in the oven. Then to top it all off, I burnt my ENTIRE mouth sampling a cookie straight from the oven. The fizz I heard as I bit into the cookie was indeed the roof of my mouth singeing. It took days for my mouth to recover.
- 135g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 150g maple syrup or honey
- 120g tahini
- 1 ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 16 whole almonds for topping
- Preheat oven to 180 C
- In a large bowl, combine ground almonds and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, weigh and stir together maple syrup, tahini, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stir well, then use your hands to bring it together into a ball of cookie dough. The dough should be fairly stiff, not sloppy.
- Form the dough into 4-5cm inch balls using your fingers, or a small ice-cream scoop to portion it and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Flatten the dough balls with a fork and top with a whole almond. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. They will still be soft and harden as they cool. Cool on a wire rack.