Halva is one of those sweets I didn’t discover until recently. In 2018, I went to the Fancy Food Show and got some halva from Seed and Mill, a New York based company that specializes in making halva. It was literally one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It’s sweet without being too sweet and slightly savory. I was like oh my gosh I need to get more of this stuff. Fast forward to last year when I was binging yet another Bon Appetit YouTube video, and I saw them make a very simple halva recipe. I was like yes I need to make that but my way. And that’s how this matcha halva came to be. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit’s Salted Chocolate Halva recipe. It is so easy, only 5 ingredients, and a delight for my tastebuds.
What is halva?
Halva is a sweet from the Middle East. There are 2 types of halva: flour based and nut butter based. Flour based halvas are made with flour, sugar, and butter (usually ghee) and have gelatinous texture. Nut butter based halvas are made with nut butters, like tahini or sunflower seed butter, and sugar. Nut butter halvas have a crumbly texture. This halva recipe is for a nut butter based halva using tahini.
There are so many different types of halva in the world with different uses. They can be served as a snack or part of a meal. In Greek Orthodox, halvas are served as fasting food because of food restrictions. In Iran, it is made with wheat flour, rose water, and butter, and normally served at funerals or other formal occasions. Here in the US, they are enjoyed as a sweet treat and can be found in various ethnic stores.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Tahini – This is a core part of the halva recipe. It provides a savory, nutty flavor to the dessert. You can use any kind of tahini for this recipe.
- Matcha powder – The best kind of matcha powder to use is high quality culinary grade matcha powder. That’s how I get that vibrant green color in all my matcha dishes. I personally use Aiya culinary grade matcha powder.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. Sea salt or kosher salt should work for this recipe.
- Sugar – I used granulated sugar for this recipe. There are no substitutions for sugar.
Making my matcha halva
First prepare a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan. Spray cooking spray on all sides and line with parchment paper. Set aside. Next combine tahini, matcha powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a heat proof spatula to mix until just combined. Set aside. Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until the sugar has melted completely. Stick in your candy thermometer. Increase your heat to high. Heat the sugar until it reaches 250 degrees F. Carefully, pour the sugar into the matcha tahini mixture. Stir the sugar and matcha tahini until it just starts to pull away from the bowl. Be careful not to over mix. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and quickly smooth it out. Let it cool for 1 hour before serving.
Tips on how to make the perfect matcha halva
- Sift the matcha powder – Matcha powder tends to clump easily, so sifting it into the tahini helps it not clump up.
- Do not overmix the halva – I have mentioned this a few times, but be careful not to over mix the halva. While I was testing this recipe, I over mixed the halva, and it resulted in a very crumbly halva. I couldn’t cut a piece without it crumbling.
- Be careful while heating the sugar – The sugar is heated to a very high temperature in this recipe. The reason for that is that it helps give the halva more structure, so it holds together better. However, you have to be super careful handling it. I burned myself with sugar while making this recipe.
- Let the halva fully cool before serving – Letting the halva cool fully allows the dessert to solidify. This reduces the amount of crumbling, and makes the halva easier to eat.
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- Prepare a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix matcha powder, tahini, and salt in a medium-sized bowl until just combined. Set aside.
- Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat until the sugar melts. You can tell when the sugar has melted if the liquid is clear.
- Once all the sugar melts, put in your candy thermometer. Increase heat to high. Heat the sugar until it reaches 250 degrees F.
- While stirring, pour the sugar into the matcha tahini mixture. Stir until the mixture starts to pull away from the bowl. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour mixture into your prepared loaf pan. Work quickly to smooth out the mixture.
- Let it cool for 1 hour before slicing.