Deliciously cakey and soft, these halva & dark chocolate blondies are subtly sweet, fragrant and guaranteed to make you crazy about halva.
Halva is one of my all time favourite sweet things; I love its tahini flavour, slight sweetness and irresistibly crumbly texture; that aside, it’s so dear to me mostly because of all the memories each bite brings. As a staple in the 40day Greek Orthodox lent diet, it has always been part of my family’s spring diet- and a much beloved one at that. My family is not religious, but has always reserved an intensely soft spot for traditions- not to mention sweet treats and tahini.
For a while, during my adolescent years, I became mildly obsessed with halva; I’d usually have it straight from the container it was kept in, cutting large chunks with a dull knife and eating them leaning against the kitchen island, staring out the window and hungrily, quickly savouring every crumbly, sweet and a little nutty morsel.
Perhaps understandably, I haven’t bought halva in a long, long time. Yet, a couple weeks ago, while shopping at a small Middle Easter store and seeing it on the shelf, I felt it really was about time. It was a sudden craving, not so much for the actual taste, but rather a longing for all these memories and sentiments to come back. I got home, opened the container while still wearing my coat and had a couple fat chunks leaning on my kitchen counter. And it was perfect. And I held on to that feeling (and the rest of the halva) for the next couple of days.
Then I decided it was possible I needed some new memories; and that’s how these halva & dark chocolate blondies came to be. Baking staples, deliciously fruity honey, and a drizzle of pure vanilla extract to compliment the halva’s flavour. I love a good blondie, I love how simple and satisfying it can be and I really hoped the halva would work in here. I wanted it to work, for old time’s sake and for the general love of desserts. You know how these teenage crushes: short-lived and sudden and flooring you like tornadoes; and when you do reminiscnet about them, the taste they leave on the mouth is just perfectly bittersweet and just right. Much like these blondies.
Halva & dark chocolate blondies
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
200 gr unsalted butter, melted
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
120 gr vanilla halva, crumbled
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC FAN), line a square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together the honey and butter and add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients and combine; lastly, add the crumbled halva and chocolate chips and fold gently with a spatula, trying not to break the halva chunks.
- Pour into the baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 20′, or until golden and an inserted bamboo skewer coming out clean.
- Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for 5′ and then cool for a further 10′ on a wire rack.
* Optional: to frost, mix together 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons tahini, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt flakes.