Halvah is a sweet and dense confections that originated in the Middle East. It is made by grinding oily seeds, such as sesame (tahini) or sunflower seeds, to a paste, and then mixing with hot sugar syrup cooked to hard-crack stage or honey. The most popular Halvah seems to be made with sesame. Halvah can be consumed as is with just it’s sweetener, but often it is mixed with other goodies such as chocolate, various nuts, seeds, etc. My first exposure to Halvah was at a Middle Eastern grocery one day while with my mother-in-law. There were these little candy bars at the checkout counter and the clerk explained to me they were basically sugar, sesame and chocolate. Well, never being able to say no to something that sounds delish, I bought it and ate it before we drove out of the stores parking lot. 

Many people are familiar with sesame in Middle Eastern cooking because Hummus is a main stream food now. It takes on a whole other level is deliciousness when use in baking.  Sesame in the form of Halvah and/or Tahini gives an excellent nutty flavor to baked goods and makes a great substitution for those that are allergic to nut butters and/or peanut butter.

Halvah is easily found on Amazon and all the other ingredients are easy to find in most grocery stores.

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First Batter:


  • 10 oz semi sweet or bitter sweet chocolate

  • 1 cup O’Live A Little’s Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 ½ cups raw granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder – sifted

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup oistachios unsalted – coarsely chopped (optional)

Second Batter:


  • 8 oz plain sesame halvah

  • ½ cup milk

  • ½ cup white granulated sugar

  • ½ cup tahini

  • ½ cup cornstarch

  • 2 large eggs

Method of Prep: Heat oven to 350 degrees

First Batter:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave and then mix in the olive oil until the two are blended well. Set aside

  2. Beat the 4 eggs with the raw sugar until very thick and light in color. Add the chocolate and olive oil, vanilla and instant espresso powder. Stir until well combined. 

  3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix until just incorporated. Add pistachios if desired. Set mixture aside while mixing the 2nd batter

Second Batter:

  1. Over a medium low heat, melt the halvah with the milk until halvah is dissolved and becomes creamy. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes

  2. Add the tahini and the cornstarch and mix well to combine.

To Assemble:

  1. Line a 9X13 baking dish with parchment paper and then spray entire inside with non-stick spray.

  2. Alternating, pour some of  the chocolate mixture and then some of the halvah mixture into the pan so you end up with blobs of both throughout the pan until there is no more of each mixture in the bowls. Using a knife, drag the blade thru the mixtures a few times to create some “swirls” in the batter of the two mixtures. Be careful not to over mix the two batters.

  3. Bake till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the brownies look puffed 40-50 mins.

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