there is really no such thing as too much halvah and i have proven it.

when i was in israel, i helped cook dinner for an entire israeli army base. i was on dessert duty, and my friend rochelle, a dessert goddess, directed us in making the most amazing halvah bread pudding. this resulted in me unwrapping and "quality controlling" hundreds of bars of halvah. i ate halvah ad infinitum that day, and while it should have made me sick to my tummy and not want to see another sesame seed again, it just made me want more and more and more.

so more i had and sick i nary got and here i am in north dakota with a brick of pistachio halvah that i got in fargo and it would all be in my belly right now had i not taken action to distribute it amongst some muffins.

yesterday i was asked what halvah was (!!). i thought and i thought and came up with a definition: sorta kinda like butterfinger innards but a bit more moist and instead of peanuts it is made with sesame seeds... and it is fantastically good. i should also mention though that the halvah i've had in the states is slightly flakier than the halvah i had in israel. the halvah that i had in israel was more like the innards of a firm three musketeers bar. both are good, both are addictive.

these muffins that i made yesterday are inspired by a recipe for peanut butter muffins, but instead of peanut butter, i used tahini (which we all know is just a more couth version of peanut butter). i got verklempt when i had to choose my muffin papers... so i just used a few of each and found that the different materials yielded drastically different textures. the muffins in the striped paper cups were suuuuper moist and gooey while the others were drier and more dense. i preferred the former but the latter were more muffiny, so to speak. 

whole wheat tahini muffins with pistachio halvah  

makes 6-8 muffins  


1 c whole wheat flour

1 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 c tahini*

2 tb vegetable shortening (or butter) 

1/4 c brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

2 large eggs

1 c coconut milk (or cow milk or almond milk) 

3/4 c pistachio halvah "chips" (halvah cut up the size of chocolate chips) 

1/2 c crumbled halvah

*avoid using the oil that separates to the top of the jar by pouring it out into a small bowl before you measure out the tahini. after you've measured your tahini, pour the oil back into the jar because runny tahini is good for other purposes.  


preheat oven to 375. prepare muffin tins and set aside. 

combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside.

in a bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the tahini, shortening, and brown sugar until fluffy. beat in eggs one at a time, and then the milk. add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. fold in the halvah chips. 

scoop into muffin tins, about 3/4 full. sprinkle each with a few pinches of brown sugar and crumbled halvah. bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly dry.