This retro recipe is inspired by a few things for me. I wanted to pick a recipe that reminded me of my grandparents. I picked halva because it is one of my grandpa’s favorite treats and I always thought it was weird as a kid (and it’s also a totally ancient recipe…now that’s retro!). The only memory I have of it is seeing it in the Joyva package while thinking, “What is that?”. Only till I became vegan and discovered all the wonderful things you could do with tahini did I realize that sweetening it was genius.
Tahini is just the sesame seed version of peanut butter, right? 😉
So, deciding that I wanted to make a tahini confection, I decided on grain-free cookies. I took inspiration from a traditional pignoli cookie recipe which is just almond meal, egg and sugar. When she first started eating a gluten-free diet, my mom requested these cookies at Christmas time. She isn’t a big fan of sweets, so this came as a surprise to me. Pignoli cookies have a different character than a regular cookie, though. They are crispy, chewy, light but full of flavor. They’re moist too! Moisture without butter or oil…what a wonder!
I decided that in order for my cookie to taste like tahini first and foremost, it must be grain-free. I added some things to the cookie dough for texture and sweetness, but not overly so. I think this cookie is wonderful as a snack because it satisfies a sweet craving but also offers some nutrition without a ton of processed fats included. The only fats in this recipe are from seeds (flax and sesame), so it is suitable for those who are allergic to nuts!
I added in a pop of acidity and flavor with chopped dried apricots and apricot jam in the icing. There’s also a candied apricot on top because, why not? ;D
Apricot Halva Cookies
Yield: Approx 15 cookies
Free of: Nuts, Gluten, Refined Sugar (excluding icing)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup tahini
- 3 Tb aquafaba (chickpea brine)
- 5 Tb flax meal
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tb chickpea flour
- 1/3 cup diced dried apricots, opt.
- 2 Tb tahini
- 2 Tb apricot jam (or more tahini)
- 1 cup vegan powdered sugar (or sweetener of choice; this may change the consistency to be more liquidy, however)
- 1 Tb aquafaba
Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Measure out all liquid ingredients for the cookies in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together until incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients (except the apricots) and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Let the mixture sit for about 3-5 minutes to thicken.
- Fold in the dried apricots.
- Prepare a baking sheet with a parchment liner (this is a must; they could stick!).
- Using a mini ice cream scoop, portion out dollops of batter onto the cookie sheet about an inch apart. These cookies spread quite thin while cooking.
- Pop the cookies into the oven and bake them for about 12 minutes, or until they are golden around the edges.
- While your cookies are cooling, prepare your icing: measure out all ingredients except for sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Preferably using a stand or hand mixer, whip until it is incorporated.
- Add the powdered sugar and whip until all lumps are dissolved. If you would like, continue to whip for about 5 minutes and the icing will thicken up a bit.
- Ice the cooled cookies and garnish with anything you like! (I rolled dried apricots in sugar! Get funky!)