A really easy halva and pistachio cookie recipe that is great for everyday baking or any special occasion. The cookies are thick with golden brown edges and a gooey centre of melted halva and a crunchy bite of the pistachio nuts.
The idea for this recipe comes from a cake I tasted on my last trip to Tel Aviv. It was a babka cake, but instead of chocolate, the filling was halva and pistachios. It was one of the best things I ate on my trip and I wanted to recreate the same flavour pairing in a new recipe. I thought about making a cake or a bread, but then I thought the halva and the pistachios might work well in cookies. I was right!
Halva is a dense, crumbly and sweet dessert made from tahini and sugar. It is popular in Israel and throughout the Middle East, but you will find it in many countries across north Africa, the Balkans, central and south Asia. Halva comes in a variety of flavours, like walnut or rose, chocolate or cinnamon.
These halva and pistachio cookies are large and thick with a gooey centre. For this recipe I used pistachio halva, but you can pick your favourite flavour and play with it. Add more nuts if you like a good crunch in every bite!
I knew I could trust Edd (Kimber, aka The boy who bakes) to have the perfect cookie recipe on his blog. I used his ultimate chocolate chip cookies as the base of my recipe, swapping some of the ingredients and amending measurements a bit. Specifically, I replaced the chocolate chips with raw pistachio nuts. Since I was going to add the halva, which is already very sweet, I halved the amount of white sugar.
I also used a recipe by The Little Epicurean as reference for baking cookies with halva. Halva is a fantastic ingredient in baking and you can add it to a wide range of recipes like brownies, donuts, or cinnamon buns. I think halve to be wonderful in this maple caramel pecan sticky babka too!
Or you can simply crumble halve over yoghurt pots or ice cream. Always buy high quality halva, or alternatively you can make it yourself with tahini, honey or sugar.
- 500g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt
- 225g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
- 220g light brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 220g halva, diced
- 100g pistachios, roughly chopped
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together with a whisk. Set aside.
Add the butter, brown and white sugars into a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or a large bowl, if you are using a hand-held electric mixer). Beat together until smooth and starting to lighten, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined, then mix in the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture, mixing the dough until just combined. Add in the halva and pistachios. Mix for a few seconds until evenly distributed.
Wrap the cookie dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge from 24-48 hours. Note: this is Edd’s recommendation to caramelise the dough during baking. This will improve the result, but is not essential. I refrigerated the dough for just 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan and line two baking trays with baking parchment. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to form balls of dough (about 60g per cookie). At this stage, you can freeze the dough balls.
Bake 6 cookie balls per tray for about 16-18 minutes or until golden around the edges, but still a tad pale in the middle. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to four days.
Are you gluten free or dairy free? Did you know you can make delicious pistachio cookies without using any flour or butter? All you need is almond flour, eggs, sugar and pistachios. Get the recipe here.