Strawberry Pistachio Almond Halva

You know what you can do for yourself when you had a tough day and just want to wind down and enjoy something sweet?  Whip up a batch of halva!  Seriously, it is so delicious and easy to make!  I began to love it a few years back when Eric and I bought some slices from a local company, but I didn't realize I could make it at home until this year when I decided to give it a go.  How hard could it be after all?  Turns out, not hard at all once you get it down if you own a candy thermometer (which is one crucial part of the process).  I admit I tried to make it without one the first time and it didn't turn out as nice (it gets a bit crumbly and won't set nicely), but once I bought one, it was perfect!  I started out making the classic kind with  tahini, and that is super delicious and you can flavor it with so many things!  But I recently started experimenting with other nut butters.  So far I have made a peanut butter and chocolate, and then this Strawberry Pistachio Almond Halva with almond butter! It turned out so good I had to share!

I always have lots of different nut butters on hand for different recipes and for just eating, so I thought why not try out different ones in halva!  I make my own nut butters at home with my high speed blender.  I think they taste much better than most store bought brands, and that way I control what goes into them. As in, they are only made from whatever nut I am blending and not a bunch of weird oils added in.  If you own a high speed blender and want to make your own, blend 4 cups nuts with sea salt to taste on high, using the tamper to press the nuts down into the blades, and blend until it becomes smooth nut butter.  Trust me it is sooo much better than just buying a jar!  But of course store bought would work for this recipe if you don't have a blender, just make sure it is smooth, and only contains almonds and salt.

I associate strawberries with Valentine's Day, so that is why I chose strawberries for pairing with the almond butter this time, I also added in a bit of vanilla extract to make it fragrant and crunchy salty pistachios for color and texture!  It didn't take long to make at all!  The thing that takes the longest is simply waiting for the sugar syrup to cook to 250F degrees, after that all you do is stir it into your almond butter mixture, press it into the pan and volia!  Delicious halva after it chills for a while.

This halva is heavenly!  Sweet and salty, melt in your mouth texture, fragrant with almond, vanilla and strawberries!  I think this would be perfect for Valentine's Day, I know it certainly is in my home, since my husband Eric loves it and can eat half a batch in one sitting. My favorite type of valentine's gift or any gift for that matter is one that has thought and love put into it and I am all for edible gifts!  So why not give this Strawberry Pistachio Almond Halva a try!

Strawberry Pistachio Almond Halva

Makes 1 lb

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth natural (unsweetened) almond butter, stirred well, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, broken up, plus more for topping

 

Instructions:
  1. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment (letting it go up the sides as well).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almond butter, sea salt, vanilla pistachios, and strawberries and mix until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan with a candy thermometer in it, combine the sugar and water over medium high heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Bring to a boil, and allow to cook while stirring occasionally so it does not burn, until it turns golden brown and reaches 250F degrees.
  4. When it reaches the proper temperature, pour into the halva mixture in a thin stream while stirring constantly until it is just blended (you don't want to over-mix or it will become crumbly).
  5. Dump the halva into the prepared pan, and press it out evenly.  Sprinkle with the remaining about 2 Tbsp pistachios and freeze dried strawberries and press them into it to adhere them.
  6. Place the halva in the refrigerator and allow to chill and set for a couple hours until it is firm.
  7. Cut into pieces, and enjoy!

Keeps for 1 month in the refrigerator.

 

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