Our Tricked-Out Candy Bar: Homemade Halva

homemade halva
Recipe Development and Food Styling by Ben Mims / Photography and Styling by Mason + Dixon

Food writer Ben Mims has your homemade Halloween cravings covered. This isn’t technically how halva is made, but it gets close enough, tasting like a tahini-flavored filling of a Butterfinger candy bar. The fat and the bitter notes in the tahini create a smooth, crumbly, and less-sweet candy. Coat the halva bars in chocolate to make your own candy bars, or crumble the plain bars over chocolate ice cream for a sophisticated take on chocolate and peanut butter. For more tahini-infused recipes from Ben, purchase our September/October issue! 

Homemade Halva
Makes 30
  • 1½ cups (384 grams) tahini
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (255 grams) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) toasted sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 200°F (93°C). Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, letting excess extend over sides of pan. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine tahini and salt. Place bowl in oven, and keep warm until ready to use.
  3. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons (30 grams) water until smooth. Add butter, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 285°F (141°C), about 10 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together vanilla and baking soda. Carefully stir vanilla mixture into sugar mixture (syrup will foam and bubble up). Immediately pour syrup into warm tahini mixture, and using a heatproof spatula, fold together as quickly as possible (mixture does not have to be completely homogenous).
  5. Immediately scrape tahini mixture into prepared pan. Using the spatula, press into a flat, even layer. Immediately sprinkle with sesame seeds while tahini is still hot so they stick to the top. Let cool completely.
  6. Using excess foil as handles, remove halva, and peel off foil. Cut into 2x1-inch rectangles. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


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