I don’t exaggerate when I say this is the most amazing dessert I’ve ever had to date. Tahini swirl brownies combine rich dark, semisweet chocolate with the nuttiness of the halva-like tahini sections. Topped with tahini caramel sauce and it is an exceptionally decadent dessert. Pure joy!
Growing up in Egypt, we had tahini (or tahina as we pronounce it in Arabic) with practically everything. A traditional breakfast usually consists of slow-cooked fava beans (known as ful in Egypt) with tahini. In rural Egypt, you’d probably add in some pickled cheese (known as mish) which is also mashed up with olive oil, chopped tomatoes and you guessed it, tahini. Dessert would consist of raw sugarcane molasses mixed with plain tahini and you dip your baladi bread into it. If you buy a shawerma sandwich they’ll give you a little container of tahini sauce just like fast food joints hand out ketchup packets with your meal. At a seafood restaurant, the first things the show up are usually the small plates of dips, sauces and salads. Almost always they include hummus (contains tahini), babaghanoug (eggplant dip with tahini too!) and of course the ubiquitous tahini sauce.
Almost everybody who has spent a portion of their childhood in Egypt remembers the flavour of assaleyya: traditional candy made with tahini and sugar or molasses. In fact, the caramel sauce I made for this recipe tastes almost identical and the instant I tasted it, my mind flooded with images of my childhood! The swirl topping of these brownies also brought back memories since it tastes almost exactly like halva or halawa as we call it in Egypt.
Yet, before today I had never made or tried tahini swirl brownies! I can’t believe it took me this long to make something like this. It makes perfect sense. Tahini goes well with everything. Sweet or savoury, you can find a recipe to include it in. It really is a magical ingredient. I highly recommend you try this recipe. If you want a dessert that hits all the spots, this is it. It’s fudgy, creamy, intensely chocolatey and glorious! I truly believe this is the best recipe that I’ve come up with so far! I tried not to Google any similar recipes to avoid getting influenced by them and I didn’t want to find out that someone did this before me!
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Tahini swirl topping
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
Tahini Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Kosher salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Put the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water to melt them.
- Once they’ve melted, removed from heat and mix in the cocoa powder, sugar, salt, vanilla and add in the eggs one by one while whisking.
- Finally, mix in the flour and fold in the semisweet chocolate chips.
- For the tahini swirl topping: pour the 3/4 cup of tahini into a bowl, add in the 1/3 cup of sugar. If you’ve ever worked with tahini you will know that adding a small amount of water actually thickens the tahini, and that’s what you want here. Add in the two tablespoons of room-temperature water gradually while whisking the tahini mix. It should thicken to the consistency of thick peanut butter. Do not add any more water.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and ladle the tahini swirl mix into the corners and in the middle of the pan. To make the swirls, pass a knife through the mixture on the upper surface to mix the dark brownie mixture with the tahini mixture. Don’t over-mix, just pass the knife through once or twice each way.
- Bake the brownies for 30-35 minutes; however, this timing is only a guideline, make sure to monitor your brownies closely to avoid over or under-baking them. They should be firm but very slightly runny in the centre, but not too liquid.
- For the caramel sauce: melt the sugar in a saucepan on medium low heat. Once melted and starting to bubble, add the butter and the cream. Mix well. It’ll bubble up at first. Make sure to whisk the cream in thoroughly. Let it come to a gentle boil. Remove from heat, whisk in the tahini and salt. You can store this in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
- To serve: allow the brownies to cool completely, you can even freeze them for a bit or refrigerate them. Cut into squares, drizzle with caramel and enjoy!
Do you like tahini? What do you like adding it to or using it for? Let me know in the comments! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for recipes and updates!
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