Halva is a sweet sesame candy that is made across the Middle East. It has a crumbly, sandy texture, and really packs a punch as far as nutty, vanilla flavor and intense sweetness. I like the flavor of halva, but have always personally felt that it tends to be a little intense to eat on its own. But I was thinking it would be wonderful baked into something, and so I began experimenting. Here is the result of my experimentation: Buttery pound cake laced with halva and studded with white chocolate chips. The white chocolate caramelizes and just offers a pop of buttery sweetness. I love these as tiny cupcakes, with just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, and great with a cup of tea in the afternoon. If you can get to a Middle Eastern market, they have plenty of fresh halva options. This is one I particularly like.
Note: I have tried making this in a loaf pan and while it tastes just as good, the center tends to not set as quickly as the outside browns. I would recommend lowering the temperature a bit, and bear in mind the texture comes out slightly gooey instead of cakey.
Halva White Chocolate Pound Cake Bites
Makes about 1 dozen mini cakes
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 6 oz. plain or pistachio halva, crumbled
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup high quality white chocolate chips, like Guittard or Ghirardelli
- generous dash of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350. Combine softened butter and both sugars in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add eggs and halva, followed by baking powder, flour, and salt, and stir gently just until smooth. Finally, add the white chocolate chips and fold in. Fill mini cupcake molds with mixture, and bake until nicely browned.