By Aly Miller
(The Nosher via JTA) — Gluten-free brownies — when made without those unpredictably tricky gluten-free flours — is the kind of dessert that speaks to me: fudgey, rich and, above all, very easy to make.
With halvah turning up everywhere from cinnamon buns, to donuts, to ice cream, I couldn’t wait to try it out in my favorite baked good. After much deliberation at Russ and Daughters — marbled dark chocolate or seven layer halvah? — I ordered a block of pistachio halvah, which was weighed and wrapped by an older gentleman in a crisp, white jacket. It became mine with the fanfare of a loud and gravely, “hal-vahhhh!”
Inspired by Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Sunbutter Brownies (my favorite gluten-free brownie recipe), I set out to make tahini and halvah gluten-free brownies.
Creamy, slightly savory tahini combined with cocoa powder, honey and chocolate chips will make a brownie that is dense — but not too rich you can’t have more than one. All you need is 30 minutes and a brownie, or three, can be yours.
1/2 cup tahini, plus 1/4 cup to drizzle on top
1/2 cup agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup (or a mixture, like I used)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup crumbled halvah
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Combine tahini, eggs and your choice of liquid sweetener in a food processor.
Add cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, spices, and vanilla.
Transfer this mixture to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, or a circular cake pan if you don’t have a square dish on hand. Stir in the chocolate chips (if using). Then crumble halvah on top of the mixture, letting it sit at the top of the batter or just below the surface.
Spoon the tahini evenly over the top of the batter. If you want, you can swirl the top layer with a spoon. (I find that if you don’t stir it, the tahini and halvah sit better on top of the brownies, and if you stir it, some of the halvah sinks below the surface.)
Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer it sets, the easier it will be to cut. Serve and nosh!
(Aly Miller is a 2011 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied human geography and lived in a lively vegan Jewish co-op. She’s been living in Brooklyn, New York, for the past three years. When she’s not writing about food, she’s probably cooking or illustrating it. Follow her at https://twitter.com/alymillr.)
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.