If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know about my recent trip to Israel. I posted lots of droolworthy pics of all of the delicious foods I was eating! And there was no shortage of that. Israel is the land of milk and honey – overflowing with the most amazing bounty. A single trip to the Machane Yehudah market will prove just that. You’ll find the sweetest seasonal fruits and perfect large, robust vegetables that are all farm fresh and (mostly) locally grown. The stands piled high with fresh baked pastries, the artisan breads and fluffy pillows of pita, and the hidden gems of culture at every turn are awe-inspiring.
One thing the shuk is known for is it’s halva. “Mamlechet HaHalva”, or “The Halva Kingdom” is famous for it’s amazing array of halva flavors. It is so hard to pick a favorite but the espresso, candied pecan and cinnamon are all up there!
And any of you that have walked passed the halva stand have been nudged by the famous “Halva King” to try a piece. He’s become a fixture in the shuk, gold crown and all! See my pic with him below!
The Halva Kingdom recently started making a line of flavored tahini as well. I tasted the freshly ground paste (which tastes like peanut butter) and then sampled a selection of sweet and savory flavors like tomato, pesto, nougat, chocolate, and more. The nougat was so good, I brought home a bucket!
All of the amazing flavors and aromas of the shuk inspired me to create a twist on a classic Israel snack – the KREMBO. Krembo is hebrew for “There’s Cream In It”, referring to the fluffy cream hiding under it’s chocolate coating. Krembo’s have a round biscuit base and are available in vanilla and mocha flavors. They’re wrapped up in thin foil packaging, blue for vanilla and brown for mocha.
With tahini being just about the most popular food of Israel, I was surprised they never came out with a halva flavored krembo – so I decided to do just that! I started with a sesame-flavored cookie and topped it with some tahini-flavored whipped cream. I coated it all in chocolate and decorated it with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Creating a beautiful chocolate glaze came together easily with the amazing new brand of kosher vegan chocolate chips – California Gourmet. Their 45% cocoa chips are rich in chocolatey flavor with just the right balance of sweetness. I love how easily it melts, perfect for dipping, and it hardens quickly too. I stir in some coconut oil to create the perfect chocolate magic shell, and we use the leftovers to have a little after-school fondue dipping party!
California Gourmet chocolate chips help me keep my krembo’s pareve, without sacrificing on richness and flavor. And boy are these rich and flavorful! Halva flavored Krembo’s, here we come!
And while we are talking about homemade krembo’s, I must give a shoutout to the Balaboosta cookbook. In it, Israeli Chef Einat Admony recreates one of the favorite snacks of her childhood, you guessed it….krembo. Her homemade version of the classic (which looks incredible, by the way), gave me the push I needed to make these happen.
You see, I’m not much of a pastry girl. In fact, I don’t own a single pastry bag. When I say to fill your pastry bag with whip cream, I mean Ziploc. And I cut the corner with a scissor, the old fashioned way. That’s how I pipe people. So let me tell you – If i can make these, you most definitely can. They might look intimidating, but they are anything but. And that, my friends, is just the way I like to do things. Happy Halva-ing!
sesame cookies, recipe follows
tahini cream, recipe follows
chocolate magic shell, recipe follows
sesame seeds, for garnish
Place the tahini cream in a piping bag with a wide tip. Pipe the cream onto the cookies, creating a mound of cream. Place the cookies into the freezer for 20 minutes.
Pour the chocolate magic shell into a large mug. Dip the cookies into the chocolate and place on a rack set of a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and set aside to harden, or freeze until set.
If you have extra cookies, dip half of the cookie into your leftover magic shell and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on a rack to harden.
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sesame seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and coconut oil until creamy. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until incorporated. Stir in the sesame seeds.
Spread the dough out into a log on a sheet of parchment paper and roll the paper tightly, twisting the sides, to form a tight cylinder, about two inches wide. Refrigerate the dough until chilled, about 1 hour, or freeze for 20 minutes.
Slice the dough into half inch slices and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely.
YIELD: 18-20 cookies
16oz. nondairy whip topping
3/4 cup tahini
honey or silan, to taste
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the tahini until incorporated. I prefer my cream not to be too sweet, but if you’d like, you may fold in a bit of honey or silan, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
NOTE: for dairy, use heavy cream. Will require additional sweetener.
Chocolate Magic Shell
1 10 oz. bag California Gourmet chocolate chips
3 tbsp coconut oil
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (water should not touch the bowl). Pour the chocolate into the bowl with the coconut oil and stir until melted into a smooth sauce.
Here are some photos of the things that inspired this recipe! With the Halva King, eating freshly ground tahini and surrounded by the many flavors of tahini, halva, and of course, krembo!
Related Recipes: halva & ricotta stuffed figs