I already know your first question: What is Sesame Butter? Haven’t you heard? It’s the latest and greatest! Better than almond or cashew butter. Nah! I’m just messing with you… it’s tahini!
I LOVE tahini in every form: sauces, dressings, homemade hummus, shmeared on bread or just out of the jar. This summer my local Costco offered organic tahini, and I went wild. There was a constant production of dried garbanzos soaking on the stove combined with the whir of the food processor making hummus. School has started, and our daily hummus consumption has declined.
What to do with all the jars of tahini? Halvah! It’s the perfect lunch box snack because it is fairly sturdy. The best part is that it is peanut-free, gluten free, and without the ganache, dairy free. I don’t have to worry if my kids share with their friends, and am a stickler for following the rules of our peanut-free schools.
So, what’s with the odd ball name? When I have pointed out Halvah at the store, my kids are not very interested. However, when they see sugar turning into syrup, and the stand mixer working away, they are intrigued.
You can double the recipe, and add cocoa powder to half. Layer the two flavors on top of each other, and cut into them to create a marble effect. Experiment with fruit glazes for peanut butter and jelly experience. Have fun!
Ingredients for the Halvah:
- 2 cups granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water OR 2 cups honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups tahini
- 1 tablepoon instant espresso
- Pinch kosher salt
Ingredients for the ganache topping:
- 8oz dark chocolate
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon Kerrygold butter, at room temperature
Instructions for the Halvah:
- Line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment paper.
- Combine sugar, vanilla with cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Allow mixture to simmer into a syrup, without stirring, until temperature registers 240 degrees on candy thermometer.
- If you are using honey, omit the water and heat in a saucepan until it reaches 240 degrees.
- While syrup is cooking, place tahini, salt, and espresso powder in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle and beat on medium speed.
- Carefully stream syrup into tahini with mixer running.
- Mix until syrup is incorporated and mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure you do not over mix it! It should be smooth like batter, not sandy.
- Working quickly with a heatproof spatula, transfer mixture to the prepared pan.
- Place another piece of parchment on top and use your hands on top of the parchment to smooth out halvah.
- Cool completely to room temperature.
Instructions for the ganache:
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
- Once it is melted and smooth, incorporate all the cream until no streaks remain.
- Stir in the softened butter.
- If butter is not incorporating, return to the heat for a moment.
- The butter will make the ganache shiny.
- Let the ganache cool slightly, then pour over the cooled, smoothed halvah.
- Cut into squares.