Halva Walnut Cookies
This recipe comes to us from Butter & Brioche. Burnt butter, walnuts, and halva come together for a nuanced, nutty, and enticing take on a classic chocolate chunk cookie.
225 g unsalted butter cubed and at room temperature (plus a little more for the re-weigh)
250 g light brown sugar
110 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbs n vanilla bean extract
350 g all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
220 g dark chocolate roughly chopped
50 g toasted walnuts finely chopped
100 g plain halva broken into rough chunks
1. Begin by making the burnt butter. Place 150 g’s of the butter into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Set the remainder of the butter aside. Heat, stirring often, until the butter is golden and melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, swirling the pan often but not stirring, until the butter is beginning to turn amber in color and nutty in fragrance. The butter will begin to foam but will subside as it continues to cook. Some burnt solids should have formed at the base of the saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a bowl or pouring jug. Set it in the refrigerator to set until malleable and soft, similar in texture to room temperature butter, about half an hour. Make sure to give it a gentle stir every so often.
2. Once set, remove the burnt butter from the refrigerator and re-weigh it. Add the remainder of the plain butter set aside above. Re-weigh to reach a combined total of 225 g’s. You may need to add a little more plain butter depending on how much evaporated during the burning process.
3. Set the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and add the light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat, on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add in the egg and beat well until incorporated. Add in the vanilla bean extract and beat for a further minute. The dough should be considerably lighter in color and more aerated.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, soda, powder, and salt, in a medium-sized mixing bowl until combined.
5. Set the mixer speed to medium-low. Add in half of the dry ingredients. Beat until just combined, some floury pockets should remain, then add in the remainder of the dry ingredients. Again, beat until just combined. Add in the dark chocolate and walnuts and beat until evenly distributed throughout the dough, about 15 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a large wooden spoon to carefully fold in the halvah chunks. Take care with this step. You want the halvah to remain intact and not disintegrate within the dough – so be gentle with your folding. Cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator to chill until just firm, about 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 °F. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and line three large baking sheets with non-stick parchment paper.
7. When just firm, remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Using a small cookie scoop (1” or 2.5 cm in diameter) or a generous tablespoon as a measure, scoop out as many dough balls as possible from the dough. Divide them evenly between the sheets, making sure to allow room for spreading, and sprinkle over a little flaked salt over their tops. You should be able to fit 8 balls per sheet. If you have some dough balls left over, either set them in the refrigerator to chill whilst the other cookies bake, or seal and store them in the freezer, to bake off another time.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Three-quarters of the way into baking, about 8 minutes, open the oven door and raise the cookie sheet by a few inches. The cookies should just be beginning to puff in the middle. Use a little force to tap the sheet against the oven rack, so that the cookies deflate slightly. You should see the chocolate begin to spread. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake and inflate again for a further minute to a minute and a half. Repeat this raise and tap process for a total of 3 more times. The cookies when done should be golden, crisp around the edges, and the middles just set with chocolate puddles throughout. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on their sheet for 5 minutes, before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool further before serving warm or at room temperature.