“Halawa” (sweetness in Arabic) usually refers to a tahini (sesame paste) -based Middle Eastern dessert sometimes flavored with pistachio, almond or chocolate. However, Halawa, Halwa or Halva can be prepared with flour, semolina, rice-flour or corn-starch instead of tahini thus giving it different textures and tastes. Halawa is known and prepared in various parts of the world such as Europe, Asia and the Americas.
The following recipe is typical to the Shouf region of Mount Lebanon and is prepared with whole-wheat flower as a base and sweetened with natural grape molasses instead of refined sugar.
Preparation time: 1 hour
2 ¾ cups of whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups of walnuts, chopped
1 ½ cups of grape molasses
½ Tbsp. of powdered anise
2 Tbsp. of blossom water
- On a low fire, heat the whole-wheat flour in a frying pan and stir frequently until lightly browned
- In a bowl, mix the browned whole-wheat flour with the anise and walnuts, and gradually add the grape molasses while mixing with a wooden spoon
- Mix thoroughly with hands and add the orange blossom water. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth and elastic
- On a cooking plastic film, spread the dough evenly then fold the plastic over it or cover it with another sheet
- Using a rolling pin, knead the dough to get a 5 mm thickness
- Remove the plastic film and cut the dough into small rectangles. Garnish the top of each cookie with half a walnut
- Leave the cookies to rest for 20 minutes until they cool down and harden, so it becomes easier to transfer them to a tray