You say halva, I say halvardeh. The crumbly, sticky sesame-based confection that’s called halva in the Levant (and the West) is called halvardeh in Iran and that’s because what’s called halva in Persian refers to a related confection made from wheat flour, butter, and with rosewater. But for the purposes of this recipe, let’s just call the crumbly sesame-based version halva.
Semantics aside, I can’t get enough of this stuff. One of my favorite breakfasts is halva simply wrapped up in lavash with a side of strong black tea. I also, uh, love halva straight out of the box. And I am equally parts delighted and terrified to learn that I can make halva from scratch, at home, with relative ease. Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, this bittersweet chocolate-glazed version is much tastier than store-bought. Once cooled, cut this up into tiny squares for a decadent teatime treat.
Nonstick oil spray
1 1/2 cups tahini
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1.Lightly coat an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2″ overhang on both of the long sides. Mix tahini, salt, and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a large bowl to combine; set tahini mixture aside.
2. Cook sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook syrup, brushing down sides as needed to dissolve any crystals that form, about 7–10 minutes. Immediately remove syrup from heat and gradually stream into reserved tahini, mixing constantly with spatula. Continue to mix just until halva comes together in a smooth mass and starts to pull away from the sides of bowl (less than a minute). Be careful not to overmix or halva will crumble. Working quickly, scrape into prepared pan and let cool.
3. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water), stirring often. Remove from heat. Invert halva onto a wire rack set inside a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; peel away and discard parchment. Pour chocolate over halva and sprinkle top with sea salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. Let sit until chocolate is set before serving, about 1 hour.