What's better than a super rich and chewy brownie? These fudgy brownies swirled with melty vanilla halva and topped with flaky sea salt! The combination of chocolate and halva is absolutely to die for. If you've never used halva in baking, let me tell you why you should!
What is Halva?
Halva is a Middle Eastern candy made from a combination of seed or nut butter and sugar. It has a super unique texture that's somehow both creamy and crispy and melts in your mouth like cotton candy.
My favorite Halva brand Hebel & Co. describes it as "Sort of a flaky, cottony, crispy, airy, melt-on-your-tongue lusciousness." And I really couldn't have said it better myself!
For these brownies I used their classic vanilla halva which is essentially just tahini, sugar, and vanilla (drool), but they have a ton of different fun flavors to choose from!
How to Bake with Halva
Halva is delicious on its own but it's also incredibly versatile! You can cut it into little chunks and toss it into whatever you're baking. Or you can melt it down into a creamy, caramelly consistency and swirl it through any type of batter, which is exactly what I did for these halva brownies!
In a small pot over low heat, I added the halva and a little bit of water and let it melt into a smooth, slightly runny paste. This makes it super easy to swirl into your brownie batter!
The first time I tested this recipe I just put chunks of halva on top of the brownies. And while it was still delicious, it didn't look nearly as pretty.
- Cocoa powder - My absolute favorite cocoa powder to use in my baking is the King Arthur Flour Triple Cocoa Blend! It's a blend of natural, Dutch, and black cocoa and is perfect for any baking. But this recipe will work great with whatever cocoa you have on hand! You can use either natural cocoa or Dutch processed cocoa!
- Butter - I like using melted butter for flavor, but you can also sub a neutral vegetable oil if you prefer.
- Sugar - I use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar, but you can easily swap and use just one or the other.
- Halva - You can use whatever Halva you prefer but it can be difficult to find in stores. Your best bet is usually specialty international grocery stores or online!
- Flaky sea salt - This is optional but I just love the way the sea salt compliments the rich chocolate and nutty halva! I exclusively use Maldon Sea Salt for topping my baked goods!
Step by Step Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
Add in the eggs one at a time and whisk each one until fully incorporated and the batter starts to get lighter in color. Then add in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt and mix until the batter is smooth and there are no more lumps.
Cut a parchment paper sling slightly smaller than the width of the cake pan and make sure it fits flatly in the bottom. Then lightly spray the bottom and sides of the pan with a vegetable oil based spray (I love Bakers Joy or Everbake). Place you parchment paper sling in the bottom of the pan and smooth it out so that it sticks to the pan spray (you can use metal binder clips to secure it to the pan). After baking you’ll be able to just slide the brownies right out of the pan!
I love all of my USA Pan cake pans because they are extremely sturdy and truly nonstick. However, I still like to prepare my pans to ensure the halva brownies come out easily.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and set aside.
In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine the halva and water. Stir frequently until the halva is melted and a caramel like consistency. You want to be able to easily swirl the halva.
Drop small spoonful's of melted halva on top of the brownies and swirl into the brownie batter.
Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out mostly clean.
Remove from the oven and let fully cool in the pan. Then use the edges of the parchment paper to slide the brownies out of the pan. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Brownies!
(and blondies too!)
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. Same goes for cocoa powder!
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
It's better to undercook the brownies slightly, than overcook them! Brownies will dry out quick, so it's best to err on the side of caution when baking brownies! Bake just until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean but still a tad gooey. If you aren't sure, just go ahead and take them out because they'll continue to firm up as they cool. Note: the larger the pan, the less time the brownies will take to cook.
Be patient and let them cool. Warm brownies fresh out of the oven are delish, I know. But it's best to let them fully cool before digging in. The brownies will be less likely to crumble when you cut them and the center is more likely to be fully cooked while still being perfectly fudgy.
Brownies are best eaten within the first 2-3 days, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Yes! These halva brownies can be frozen for up to 3 months! I recommend cutting the brownies into squares before freezing. To thaw, you can either place in the fridge overnight or reheat in the microwave.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Chewy Halva Brownies
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ cup cake flour , substitute all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces vanilla halva
- 2 tablespoons water
- flaky sea salt, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
- Add in the eggs one at a time and whisk each one until fully incorporated and the batter starts to get lighter in color. Then add in the vanilla extract.
- Fold in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt and mix until the batter is smooth and there are no more lumps.
- Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and set aside.
- In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine the halva and water. Stir frequently until the halva is melted and a caramel like consistency. You want to be able to easily swirl the halva. Drop small spoonful's of melted halva on top of the brownies and swirl into the brownie batter.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and let fully cool in the pan. Then use the edges of the parchment paper to slide the brownies out of the pan.
- Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!
- Brownies are best eaten within the first 2-3 days, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Hi! I have a quick question...just about to try making these and wondering if you recommend dark brown sugar or light brown sugar? thanks so much!
Kyleigh Sage says
Hi! I usually use light brown sugar, but dark will work just as well!