Amanda Saab’s Chocolate Halawa Cookies

updated Jan 21, 2021
Chocolate Halawa Cookies

Here, rich, chewy, chocolate cardamom cookies are perfect base for the earthy, slightly savory, sesame halawa.

Makesabout 26 cookies

Prep30 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

This recipe is part of our Quarantine Cookies package, featuring 16 of our favorite bakers and their best cookie for 2020. Check out all the amazing cookies here, and sign up here to receive one cookie recipe per day, for 20 days, straight to your inbox.

If you’re like me, you enjoy procrastibaking; that is baking when you should be doing something else. During quarantine, I’ve been baking a lot more than usual; it’s comforting and I enjoy the process of creating. It’s also wonderful to have an end product to share. This is the cookie of 2020 because it’s everything I need during this historic year. It is rich and decadent and nostalgic. The flavors pair perfectly and the cookies are quick to whip together!

These chocolate cookies have been a favorite in my kitchen over the past three years. As I was developing recipes for my baking business, Butter Bear Shop, I came across a package of halawa, a sesame candy that my mom had gifted me. I have to admit, I did not always enjoy and appreciate the deliciousness of halawa. But we ate the first batch of these cookies within the hour. The rich, chewy, chocolate cardamom cookie is the perfect base for the earthy, slightly savory halawa. You can purchase halawa at your local Arabi grocery store, or online.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Tester’s Note

I love the combination of nutty halawa and sweet chocolate in these cookies. To get the nice dramatic swirl of chocolate on top, place the final chocolate chips right in the center of the dough balls before baking them. Then, as soon as they come out of the oven, spread them around to coat the top of the cookie. Absolutely delicious! — Jesse Szewczyk, food stylist

Chocolate Halawa Cookies

Here, rich, chewy, chocolate cardamom cookies are perfect base for the earthy, slightly savory, sesame halawa.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes about 26 cookies

Nutritional Info


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces

    milk chocolate

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup

    unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    ground cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1 1/2 cups

    chocolate chips, divided

  • 1 cup

    coarsely chopped halawa or halva (sesame candy)


  1. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Coarsely chop and melt 4 ounces milk chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place 2 large eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using an electric hand mixer. Let the butter, milk chocolate, and eggs sit until room temperature.

  2. Add the butter, milk chocolate, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the bowl of eggs. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.

  3. Sift 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder together into a medium bowl.

  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined. Add 1 cup of the chocolate chips and stir by hand to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  5. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 325ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  6. Scoop the dough out into 2-tablespoon portions and form into balls. Place 9 dough balls on each baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, count how many chocolate chips are in the remaining 1/2 cup. Divide by the number of cookie dough balls you have to determine how many of the chips will go on each cookie, as chocolate chip sizes can vary.

  8. Top each partially-baked cookie with the calculated amount of chocolate chips. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and the chocolate on top is melted but still holds its shape, 2 to 5 minutes more.

  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Using the back of a spoon, spread the melted chocolate chips on each cookie over the cookie to cover. Top each cookie with 1 tablespoon halawa. Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Repeat baking the remaining cookie dough balls, reusing the parchment.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.