Melissa Clark's Sesame Halvah Toffee
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus additional, optional, for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, optional
- 3 ounces halvah, crumbled, optional
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling, optional
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt just to combine. Add the butter, tahini, sesame seeds, and vanilla. Pulse together until a crumbly dough forms.
- Press the dough into an 8- by 8-inch baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Use a fork to pierce the top of the dough. (If not using the chocolate, sprinkle the dough generously with the demarara sugar and additional sesame seeds.) Bake until the top is light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- If not using chocolate, transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Otherwise, scatter the chocolate pieces on top of the shortbread. Turn off the heat and return the pan to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to soften the chocolate. Using an offset spatula, spread the softened chocolate into an even layer over the shortbread. Sprinkle with the crumbled halvah and allow to cool to room temperature in the pan before cutting.