Energy bites and Quick Halva:
We all love the wonderful taste of halvah, that great Sephardi dessert classic confection starring Tehina paste and sold all over Israeli and Middle Eastern markets. But hardly ever get near it because of the prohibitive amount of sugar it contains. I tinkered with the flavors, using Tehina as my base, until I obtained this delicious and infinitely less sweet approximation, lightly sweetened with agave syrup.
The past part is, my Halva Recipe makes Halva go from a guilty indulgence to perfectly delicious and super healthy energy bites: Gluten-free friendly, take no time and don’t even cook or bake, and keep refrigerated for weeks.
Attack of the munchies? One of these energy bites will hit the spot!
You will never have to worry again that your teeth might walk away from one of those fabulous commercial halva bars we love but doesn’t love us back!
If you are making this treat on short notice and don’t have time to let the mixture firm up to shape halva bars, don’t worry about a thing: Pour the mixture into a serving bowl, and serve it with a spoon, which is the way I always serve it, never bothering to make halva bars. Great for sprinkling over yogurt too!
I love to tinker with tehina and halva flavors, in both savory and sweet preparations.
I make my Maple Halva Mousse with store-bought Halva, and stretch the flavors to the hilt to end up with another wonderful, not-too-sweet and healthy Halva dessert.
Explore with other nut butters:
Peanut, almond or cashew butter will be perfectly suitable for these energy balls as well: That won’t make you halva, but it will make the perfect energy bites or energy bars!
- 1½ cups tehina (sesame paste). Explore with other nut butters
- 1½ cups “toasted wheat germ and honey” (that’s the exact name of the product) in the cereal section of the supermarket (gluten-free: use 2 cups old fashioned oats, toasted in a skillet or in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes)
- 1½ cups unsweetened grated coconut, packed
- 1 cup toasted sesame seeds or chopped almonds or pistachios (10–12 minutes in a preheated 325°F oven)
- 1 cup agave syrup (please do not substitute honey or maple syrup, as they will add a delicious but unnecessary layer of flavor)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or orange flower water
- Optional: throw in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dried fruit
Mix all ingredients by hand. Press firmly and uniformly into a 10-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares or bars, or shape into balls.
Variation: chocolate-covered halva energy bars
Reduce the agave to 2∕3 cup. After the mixture firms up, melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon oil, and spread uniformly over the top of the mixture. Let the chocolate layer firm up before cutting into squares or bars.