MARBLED HALVAH COOKIES
Halvah is a confectioner candy that is made of sesame paste and sugar, and any flavorings if desired. They are often found in Middle Eastern markets. Halvah is something that I can eat just like that. It is SO flavorful, nutty, and a perfect pick me up if you want something sweet.
Halvah can come in various flavors. I love the marbled halvah, chocolate halvah, and pistachio too. They are easily available on online grocery stores now, and on Amazon too. I get them from our local Middle Eastern market.
Seed Mill, a company in New York City carries them too and although a bit pricey, it is seriously one of best halvahs that I have ever tried!
Halvahs make amazing desserts. They bring that sweet aroma and nuttiness to any dessert because of the sesame in it. In Indian culture, we have sesame seed sweets or chikki, that is essentially made of sesame seeds and sugar, OR sesame seeds and jaggery. It is truly one of my favorite things to eat and popular in Gujarat too.
I have been making these Marbled Halvah Cookies for quite a few years now. I am only now posting this recipe on the blog. These cookies are my husband’s favorite cookies. I can never manage to give them to anyone because they simply do not last that long!
The ingredients in this cookie are:
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder – a smidge
- Granulated sugar
- Halvah ofcourse! (it is easily available on Amazon or Middle Eastern Markets. I have gotten this particular brand from Middle Eastern Markets, but you can find the one you like any online grocery store too)
- Vanilla extract
The cookie is really super easy to make. It is simply combining the wet ingredients with the dry and then chilling the dough for 2-3 hours. The next step is simply rolling it out, cutting it with a cookie cutter, and baking them. They turn out beautiful and are really good as is too, without the marbled icing. You can really taste the halvah taste in the cookies!
HOW TO DO THE MARBLED ICING EFFECT:
The marbled icing is truly a fun activity to do with kids. I do it with mine, and they love how unique each cookie is.
The icing is made of confectioner’s sugar, and water. Combine it until it is the consistency of glue, or slightly thinner than glue. Then add the colors. You want to add not more than 3 shades of one color. Add 2-3 drops of each color in different spots on the icing.
Then using a toothpick, swirl the mixture around to get pretty swirls in the icing. Hold the cookie horizontally facing down, dip it gently into the icing such that it covers the top of the cookie. Immediately remove it and gently nudge off the excess icing.
Place it on a wire rack for the icing to set. You want to place the wire rack on a baking tray because it is a messy affair, with the icing dripping to the bottom onto the tray. You want to put the silver sprinkles at this point while the icing is still wet. So what I do is, I ice a few cookies at a time, and then sprinkle the silver sprinkles on each cookie. SO FUN! You can find the silver sprinkle sanding sugar here.
Do this activity with your kids, it is so fun and these cookies are festive and beautiful to share with your friends and family. Each batch makes 120 cookies so you will have lots to share with everyone! I am making yet another batch this weekend :).
STORING AND SHIPPING THESE COOKIES:
These cookies store well in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks. They can be made ahead as well. The dough can be made ahead as well and it will stay in the fridge for upto 3 to 4 days.
These cookies ship well too, because they are quite sturdy. When shipping a cookie box, make sure that the cookies are nicely packed and if you shake the box the cookies do not move. That is the key!
Hope you enjoyed these cookies and you get a chance to make them! If you do, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on the blog!
- 120 star shaped cookies (~ 2 inch length star)
- 3 ½ cups (420 g) all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (227 g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (82 g) halvah
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- Additional flour to roll
- Star shaped cutter (~ 2 inches point to point)
- 3 cups (390 g) confectioner’s sugar
- About 7 tbsp warm water
- Americolor gel (3-4) different colors
- Silver sprinkles (optional)
- Halvah Cookies:
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, add the butter and granulated sugar. Start mixing on slow, gradually increasing the speed to high. Mix until it is light and fluffy for about 2 minutes. It should be a pale yellow in color.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, whisk to combine.
- Add the halvah and whisk until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, clean the sides of the bowl, and bring the butter mixture, into the middle of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, and whisk until combined. Add the tablespoon of milk if the mixture is slightly dry. Mix until just combined.
- Divide the dough into 2 parts, onto 2 plastic wraps. Wrap tightly and combine to form a disc. Put it into the fridge to set for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place 2 baking sheets with parchment paper on the side.
- Sprinkle flour on a clean work surface. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap. Put additional flour on top of the dough and start rolling it into about ¼ inch disc. Using the star shaped cutter or any cutter of your choice, dip it in the excess flour and start cutting out shapes. Collect the leftover dough, combine, use additional flour to aid with rolling out the dough and repeat the process of cutting out more cookies, until no dough is left.
- Place the shapes on the parchment paper, on the baking sheet. You may need an additional baking sheet.
- Put both the trays in the bottom and middle rack for about 12 to 13 minutes in total, or until slightly golden brown around the edges.
- At the halfway mark, switch the trays from bottom rack to middle, and middle to bottom rack.
- Remove the trays after 12 to 13 minutes and let cool for 15 minutes. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat the process for the second disc of the dough steps 9 - 13.
- Marble Icing:
- In a small to medium bowl, combine the sifted confectioner’s sugar and water. Using a mini rubber spatula, mix until well combined and there are no lumps in the mixture.
- The mixture consistency should be ever so slightly thinner than glue.
- Add 2-3 drops of each shade of a single color into the mixture in different spots on the icing.
- Using a toothpick, start swirling the colors into the icing mixture, with the toothpick almost touching the bottom of the bowl for the color to reach there too. Do not swirl it too much else you will not get the swirl effect on the cookie.
- You have to do the next steps quickly. Have an assembly station of the cookies on a baking tray, a wire rack set on another baking tray, and the icing bowl all in one place.
- Now take each cookie and dip it horizontally into the icing bowl. Drip off the excess icing gently.
- Place the iced cookie on the wire rack. Repeat the process for all the cookies. If you choose to use the silver sprinkles, put them on a few cookies at a time, else they will not set on the icing later on.
- Let it dry completely for about 2 hours.
- Store in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks.
- You can keep the second disc in the fridge for upto 3-4 days to roll out and make more cookies later. You will have to keep the disc outside for 20 minutes and then roll out, to ease out the rolling process.
- The cookies will store and stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.