Halvah Bon Bons (gluten & dairy free, non-processed)
These are sweet tahini truffles and oh my, they are amazing! Unfortunately my photos do nothing to convey that so you just need to trust me and make these yourself.
Whereas Nutella was something I discovered a little later in life, halvah is a treat of my early childhood. It was my grandmother’s favorite indulgent treat and every now and then she’d buy one and we’d share it. Some of my earliest memories are walking to the corner deli with her just to buy a Joyva Halvah bar and the slow walk home, enjoying that sweet, nutty, flavorful and unique candy bar. And whereas my healthier version of Nutella is reminiscent of the naughtier treat but not an exact replica, these halvah bon bons taste exactly as I remember the candy bar did!
So if you don’t know what halvah is, it’s a middle eastern sesame seed paste candy. The sesame seeds are ground up into a butter or tahini and then sweetened. The traditional method involves heating the mixture up and the kind of candy making precision that always eludes me. Not that I’m one to mess with a centuries old process (ha!), but that was a little too involved for me. I like to keep it as simple as possible so I played around with a no-cook version.
Sometimes halvah is coated in chocolate, though purists call this sacrilege. Frankly, it’s my favorite way to have it. A thin layer of rich dark chocolate against the sweet nutty sesame paste is an incredible combination! So with my childhood memory in tact, I set out to create a healthier, simpler version of the original Joyva candy bar. It’s still super high in calories because that’s all coming from the sesame seeds but as always, my version has no HFCS or any refined sugars, evil oils or any additive or processed food product of any kind. It’s sesame seeds, cacao, and honey. (& perhaps a splash of almond milk if you choose). That’s it. Also, sesame seeds are super high in calcium so eat a few of these bon bons and you will be good to go in that department! 🙂
A note on raw: I didn’t go so far as to call these raw because in this case, I used a jar of organic tahini and the label says the seeds were roasted before hulled. However, this recipe could totally be raw, grinding up raw sesame seeds into a butter. I will try that next time.
I’m sure if I went to the markets of Jerusalem or Palestine, I could find incredible, fresh, whole foods halvah as it was intended to be but if you look at the Joyva candy bar ingredients list, it’s pretty scary. So for reference, here’s the ingredient list of the original Joyva Chocolate covered Halvah bar:
Crushed Sesame, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Chocolate, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed, Soya), Dried Egg Albumen, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Chocolate Contains: Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Lecithin (an Emulsifier), Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor)
And here’s my recipe for Halvah Bon Bons:
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup raw local honey (or vegan sweetener)*
2 squares organic 100% cacao bar
Additional tbsp honey*
A splash of almond milk**
*Sweetness is one of those so very subjective things so this is a guideline but do what tastes right to you!
**Add only it you want to lighten up the intense dark chocolate a bit.
Mix until tahini and 1/4 cup honey until smooth and well blended. Put a little elbow grease in it; enough heat will be generated to get this thick mixture well incorporated. Stick in the fridge for a few minutes; just while getting the ganache ready.
Next melt the chocolate and take off the heat. Then add the honey and almond milk. Whisk vigorously until you’ve got a super shiny, silky ganache.
Take the tahini mixture out of the fridge and roll into balls. Using a fork dip the balls into the ganache and tap off the excess. Place on parchment paper.
So because I didn’t heat the mixture into a firmer candy texture, I decided freezing was an awesome cheat to firm up the sesame center. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you can wait that long!
If you like halvah, you will love this. And if you feel like doing your own taste test, buy the Joyva bar and compare! 🙂