For some time now I had in my head that I wanted to make a brownie that involved halva, that delicious Middle Eastern sesame confection. I researched. I pondered.
And then when I got a jar of the brand-new Soomsoom Foods Tehina, I knew it was my sign to go for it. What I loved about using this particular sesame paste was the super smooth consistency, easy pour-ability and also the fantastic plastic container. Much less messy or tricky to open than the metal cans!
While I chose to sprinkle the halva pieces on top of the brownies, you could also mix them into the brownie batter itself, or make a double batch of the brownies and do a layer of brownie filled with the tahini-cream cheese filling. The possibilities are endless.
Want to make this “semi-homemade” or pareve? Use some tried-and-true store-bought brownie mix and mix as directed. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips to batter, and sprinkle 1/2 cup crumbled halva on top for another variation.
For the halva-cream cheese layer:
5 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
½ cup tahini
For the brownie layer:
¾ cups flour
1/3 cup Hersheys Special Dark Cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chocolate chips
For the top:
¼ cup – ½ cup crumbled halva pieces
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
For the brownie layer:
Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
In a small bowl cream the sugar and butter together until smooth, add eggs one at a time, beat well then add vanilla.
Fold egg, sugar, butter and vanilla mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
For the halvai-cream cheese layer:
Cream together butter, sugar and flour. Add cream cheese and mix/blend until smooth.
Scrape bowl and add the egg and beat until light and creamy.
Scrape down bowl again and add the tahini. Beat one minute or until the tahini is mixed into the cream cheese mixture completely.
Randomly dollop the tahini-cream cheese topping over the brownie batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top.
Sprinkle halva pieces on top. Swirl the topping together into batter using a butter knife.
Bake at 350 for around 40-45 minutes.
Allow to cool and cut brownies into squares.
It’s customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot. Though I used to pull all-nighters with relative frequency, those days are (thankfully) behind me, and a 2am study session can be a little tough. Enter the affogato, a recipe brought to us from Ariel Pollock, that combines a delicious brownie with ice cream (dairy is also customary on Shavuot) and a shot of espresso. The brownie will be something to look forward to, and the espresso will keep you going for the few more hours until sunrise.
I was in charge of loading this recipe onto MyJewishLearning yesterday, and it looked and sounded so delicious that I was distracted for the rest of the day, thinking about how I might be able to either go to a restaurant and get one, or make one myself. I didn’t get a chance to have one yesterday, but it’s the first item on my agenda tonight. No, it’s not quite Shavuot yet, but I’m just preparing myself… To see the recipe and make it yourself, click here.
For me, February is prime comfort food month, so this Shabbat I’m thinking about yummy comfort foods I can serve to my guests.
And then for dessert, these Dark Chocolate Brownies with Raspberry Goat Cheese Swirl have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll be able to recover until I make them and wallow in them for a nice long time. Amiright?