Build a Better Blondie with Sesame: Salted Halvah Blondies

I've become a big fan of sesame desserts made with tahini or halvah (or both), so I included Claire Saffitz's Salted Halvah Blondies in my holiday cookie assortment. The fact that they have chunks of halvah in them was enough to convince me to try the recipe, but the batter also includes a fair amount of melted white chocolate, which seemed positively decadent. I had to make do with the halvah I could find at our neighborhood specialty grocer, and for some reason pistachio was the only flavor they had when I stopped by. But the recipe notes that you can use any flavor of halvah you like, including vanilla, marble, or pistachio. 

To make the batter, you melt white chocolate (I used Callebaut Gold caramel white chocolate), butter, and tahini in a double boiler; whisk in brown sugar, followed by an egg, egg yolks, and vanilla; incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, kosher salt, and baking powder); and fold in crumbled halvah. You spread the batter into a pan (the recipe says to line it with foil but I used parchment instead), sprinkle on sesame seeds and flaky salt, and bake.
I let the bars cool completely at room temperature and then chilled them before slicing to get cleaner cuts. These bars were rich and so good. My favorite part was the flaky bits of halvah, but the bar itself was dense and chewy and caramel-y, with delicious sesame flavor. I loved the nuttiness and crunch of the seeds on top, plus the overall balance of salty and sweet. These bars were so different from a run-of-the-mill blondie, and I would make them again any time.
Recipe: "Salted Halvah Blondies" from Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz.


Louise said…
I've never had halvah in baked goods. The taste sounds delicious, but what's the texture of these? The edge looks like brownies, but the interior looks more like fudge. That could just be the photo.
The texture was very much like a fudgy brownie. I think I took this picture right after I cut the bars, when they were still cold -- I think they would have looked more brownie-like if I had cut them at room temp.