Archives for the month of: March, 2011

As promised, here is another delicious version of Halva. Feel the freedom to toss in a multitude of different flavors, nuts, etc. It’s foolproof in the sense that you don’t need to heat it correctly to crystallize the sugar. Another feature is that, unlike traditional halva, it’s not super sweet. That’s a bonus in my paleo book altough some may argue the opposite. I personally would like to know that only 1 Tbsp. of honey went into the whole batch rather than 2 c. in a regular batch of halva. Not only is there less honey, but making this recipe raw also means you can use RAW honey.

Raw Honey

Like coconut, raw honey is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance. It’s a good energy source that will help replenish liver glycogen stores, post workout. It’s also traditionally been used as an immunity booster, cough suppresant and can be used to treat wounds due to it’s anti-bacterial and healing properties.

Keep in mind, although raw honey is a Paleo-friendly sweet, it should not be used in excess (think like a caveman… would they have daily access to bottles of honey? I think not). You should also consider your needs and goals. People who want to lean out (gain muscle, decrease fat, lose weight) and decrease insulin resistance should limit all sweeteners… fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, dates… you get the idea.

That being said, here’s the goods… another delicious culinary adventure in my brand new Kitchen Aid food processor!

Raw Chocolate Halva

1 c. tahini

1 c. coconut shreds (unsweetened)

1/2 c. raw sliced almonds or 1/4 c. almond meal

1/4 c.  cacao (more to taste)

2 Tbsp. maca powder

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1Tbsp. spirulina

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. coffee grounds

1. Throw it all in a food processor and press GO.

2. When it’s all mashed up into a moist meal, taste test and add additional ingredients as necessary.

3. If it’s too dry, add more tahini. Too wet, add some coconut or almond meal.

4. Press into a coconut oiled pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.

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Sesame… such a humble seed. Tiny in stature. Used by many cultures in a multitude of dishes. Sesame oil for stir fry, plain seed for seared ahi, blended in hummus, and my new found favorite, Halva. A middle-eastern “candy” like treat traditionally made  from tahini (sesame seed butter), honey, and any sort of mix in you can imagine.

I was recently introduced to this confection at the Saturday morning farmer’s market at Pasadena High School. There was a booth, there was a sample, and finally there was a purchase. My halva had swirls of chocolate in it. Um, yes. I took, I ate, and just like the infamous couple of Eden… I gave it to the boyfriend. Let’s just say he took one bite and was in such bliss he probably wouldn’t have noticed if he were naked or not (Biblical joke, no worries if you don’t get it).

So, like a good chef, I sat down to my computer and researched my brains out for the best way to make some homemade Halva.

Here’s round number one.

Ingredients... minus the vanilla. I ended up not using it.

Halva

2 c. honey

1 1/2 c. tahini

1 Tbsp. cocoa

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1.  Heat honey over the stove and stir constantly while it simmers. Take off heat once it reaches 240 degrees

2. Warm tahini over stove, not too hot, just to make it workable

3. Once honey cools a bit, add any flavorings or nuts. I added almonds at this point.

4. Pour honey into tahini pot and fold them together.

5. Pour into a flexible pan or greased pan. I added some cocoa swirls at this point.

6. Refrigerate for 36 hours for sugar to crystallize.

Almond Halva with Cocoa Swirl

 

It would behoove one to use a candy thermometer to get the honey up to the correct heat. My second batch of halva did not get hot enough to crystallize into flakes. First batch crystalized but it was like a toffee more than a wafer. I’ll definitely have to keep messing around with the recipe and methods

The raw version is delicious and I love that I can add all kinds of booster foods like maca powder and spirulina.

Look for the raw recipe tomorrow!