I’m crazy excited to share this homemade paleo halva recipe with all of you!
After numerous recipe attempts to get this thing just right, I finally created the perfect version of this Middle Eastern tahini-based treat.
Halva (or halvah) has been high on my recipe ideas list for a while now. Why? We always had halva in our house while I was growing up.
My dad loves halva! I remember when I was very young he wouldn’t let us try it, certain that my sister and I would hate it.
Finally, one day, he allowed us to take a bite. Both my sister and I adored it!
From there, I’m not sure if my dad was glad or not that we enjoyed halva, because we would ask for some almost every night. He never got to halva on his own again!
Halva is a sesame-based dessert, made with just a couple ingredients in a process similar to fudge or other candies.
Anytime I find a way to use tahini, I get on board. Actually, one of the reasons I knew I’d like tahini before every trying it was because of my history with halva.
You might look at the instructions for this recipe and worry that it’s too hard. Please don’t let that turn you away!
If you’ve ever made homemade marshmallows, you know precisely what the process is here. And if you’ve never made homemade marshmallows, you need to change that. You haven’t had marshmallows until you’ve had homemade pillows of sweet soft goodness.
Basically, to make halva, you’ll heat a syrup to a particular temperature. Get a candy thermometer if you don’t have one — don’t try this without one!
Then, pour the syrup into the tahini while mixing on medium speed. Once it’s smooth and glossy, pour it into a prepared pan and let it cool.
Seriously, that’s it! Then you’ll have nutty, earthy halva that’s paleo and gluten free.
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Homemade Halva Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 24 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 20 large cubes 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: candy
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Use this simple homemade halva recipe to make this sesame candy at home! My version is gluten free and paleo, using coconut sugar instead of cane sugar.
- 2 cups coconut sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ vanilla bean, scraped
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 1 ¾ cups tahini
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Heat coconut sugar, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve. Simmer mixture, without stirring, until the temperature reads 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- While the syrup is cooking, combine tahini and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed. While beating, slowly stream syrup into tahini. Aim for the side of the bowl where the tahini meets the edge to prevent splatters.
- Mix until the syrup is fully incorporated and the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This happens very quickly (30 seconds to a minute), so watch carefully! If you overmix the mixture, the oils will separate.
- Working quickly, use a heatproof spatula to transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place an additional piece of parchment paper overtop the mixture and use your hands to flatten and smooth it out. Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow sugar crystals to form. Cut into cubes and serve. Store wrapped in plastic or in an airtight temperature for a week at room temperature or for months in the fridge.
Keywords: Halva Recipe
can liquid vanilla be substituted?
I would think so, though I haven't personally tried it! Use about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract as a substitute. However, I will say that it's hard to beat the flavor of vanilla bean. 😉
I'd really like to try your recipe, looks great!
I have one question though: do you think I could sub demerara/turbinado sugar for the syrup?
Coconut sugar is quite hard to find where I live.
Yes, I think you'd be able to sub turbinado sugar in this recipe...but I haven't tried it myself, so I have no idea if it will actually turn out! In theory, it should work, though.