Chocolate Chunk Halvah Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Halvah Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Halvah Cookies, Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients by Christine Sahadi Whelan. Photography by Kristin Teig.

Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients

Sumac. Urfa pepper. Halvah. Pomegranate molasses. Preserved lemons. The seasonings, staples, and spice blends used throughout the Middle East offer deliciously simple ways to transform food—once you know how to use them.

In FLAVORS OF THE SUN, the people behind the iconic Brooklyn market Sahadi’s showcase the versatility of these ingredients in over 120 everyday dishes, including starters, salads, soups, family-friendly meals, and desserts.

With sections devoted to recipes boasting Bright, Savory, Spiced, Nutty, and Sweet accents, it offers inspiration, techniques, and intensely flavorful ways to use everything from Aleppo pepper to za’atar with confidence.

Throughout, “no-recipe recipes” help build up your flavor intuition so you can effortlessly incorporate any of the featured spices, condiments, and preserves into your daily repertoire.

120 RECIPES WITH A PUNCH: From an updated take on nachos and mac and cheese to a spectacular pistachio cheesecake and tahini-enriched brownies, FLAVORS OF THE SUN features dozens of the store’s most-requested dishes as well as Sahadi family favorites. Simple yet loaded with flavor, these recipes will inspire you to make these distinctive Middle Eastern ingredients essential components of your pantry.

OPTIMUM VERSATILITY: Each section addresses a specific flavor profile and offers a set of essential ingredients for achieving it along with helpful tips on how to use them separately or in combination. Look-and-cook mini recipes provide even more ideas for using distinctive ingredients like tahini, Aleppo pepper, and preserved lemons to give a fresh new spin to everything from salad dressings to cocktails.

EXPERT KNOWLEDGE: Family owned, Sahadi’s has been a beloved resource since its founding by Abrahim Sahadi, an immigrant from Lebanon, more than 100 years ago. Now welcoming a fifth generation into the business, the Sahadi family’s authentic imported goods and exhaustive knowledge continue to inspire local chefs and adventurous home cooks to taste and explore the diverse world of Middle Eastern spices and sundries.

FOR FANS OF PLENTY: Much like PLENTY, this cookbook dives deep into core ingredients and provides intimate insights into flavorful spice blends like dukkah, berbere, ras el hanout, shawarma spices, and more. Each ingredient profile includes an informative buying guide so you can build your pantry like a pro.

Perfect for: home cooks to seasoned chefs; fans of PLENTY; JERUSALEM; SHUK, and ZAHAV; Sahadi’s loyal customers; those interested learning about spices and new ways to use them in everyday dishes

Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients is available at and  

Chocolate Chunk Halvah Cookies

It’s hard to improve on a time-honored favorite like chocolate chip cookies, but I may have done exactly that. Just the right amount of chewy yet crisp around the edges, these complex cookies also boast nuggets of nutty halvah (see page 284) and a subtle richness that has everything to do with the brown butter base. If you want to double down on the pistachio flavor, you can substitute chopped pistachios for the chocolate bits. It makes for a cookie that is a little more sophisticated and no less delicious.


¾ cup [165 g] (1½ sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups [280 g] unbleached all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 cup [200 g] light brown sugar

½ cup [100 g] granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup [180 g] bittersweet chocolate chunks

2 cups [450 g] pistachio halvah, cut into ½ in [12 mm] cubes

Maldon sea salt (optional)

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan now and then, until the butter smells nutty and is a deep golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Pour into a bowl, leaving behind as much of the dark sediment as possible, and let cool to room temperature.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cooled butter with both sugars, the eggs, and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until completely combined, scraping down the sides once or twice.

Stir in the chocolate bits and all but ½ cup [115 g] of the halvah pieces by hand, mixing gently just to distribute through the dough. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a flat disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325°F [160°C]. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into roughly shaped balls, 2 Tbsp at a time, and arrange on the baking sheet. Press one of the reserved halvah chunks into the top of each cookie and sprinkle with a few flakes of Maldon salt. Bake the cookies until just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books. 

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