Raw Almond Halva
By Amy Crawford
I have spent the last couple of days with my head buried in recipes and research (and in friend's ears) trying to find interesting ideas for healthy sweet treats. I'll be honest, as a self confessed nut addict I would happily send out a book full of nut-filled snack ideas but it appears not everyone has the same nut obsession as I, for health reasons or otherwise. I don't know about you guys but I've found it really difficult to source sugar free, gluten free, nut free snack ideas - the sort you'd combine with your afternoon cup of tea with your feet curled up underneath you, the dog at your feet (if you had one) and a magazine in your lap. That sort. Anyway. My weekend was all about the sesame seed and I'll admit it remains a work in progress.
Not wanting to take the lovely little seed for granted, here are a few facts:
- Did you know that the famous phrase "open sesame" (which came to prominence following the TV series Arabian Nights) stems from the seed's distinguishing feature - being that it bursts open at maturity? I bet you did not know that.
- It is widely believed that the sesame seed is the first seed known to man (read: it's old).
- They are rich in mono-saturated fatty acid oleic acid which helps lower bad cholesterol (LD) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
- They are full of calcium, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber and they are at their very best when the whole seed is used (un-hulled).
- A whole lot of sesame seeds makes a delicious jar of tahini to be used in dressings, dips or simply on a teaspoon and directed straight to your mouth (my selected intake method).
Who'd have thought there could be so much potential in such a little seed!
Without further ado I bring to you a VERY easy, straight forward recipe for raw halva. Typically halva is made from a combination of sesame seeds and honey or some sort of sugar syrup however given my almost negligent intake of sugar I have tried to consider alternatives. The result is a type of halva which doesn't have quite the same crumbly, melt in your mouth texture as traditional halva but if you're a tahini fan you'll love it anyway.
Firstly, this recipe makes the 'log' you see on the right of the photo (the balls are a work in progress for the recipe book, they were delish but I'm sorry I can't share them, yet!). A lot of sesame seeds doesn't go a long way so you may want to double the recipe. Oh and I recognise this recipe actually contains nuts but simply omit them if you'd rather - I was just playing around with options at the end.
8 tbsps sesame seeds
1 1/2 tbsps rice malt syrup
1/4 tspn cinnamon
2 tbsps chopped raw (preferably activated) almonds (optional)
To grind the sesame seeds you will need either a small coffee grinder (you can buy them cheaply for like $35) or a powerful machine like a Thermomix. I put mine in the Thermomix for about 8 seconds on speed nine. You don't want to create a butter here so stop when it is looking like flour. Then you simply combine with the rest of your ingredients. And you can play around the optional ingredients, I'm planning on trying all sorts of bits and pieces.