Tahini candy and hot weather refreshment

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A recent heat wave inspired me to take some ingredients used year-round — lemon, coffee and tahini — and turn them into cooling drinks and a no-cook treat.

The Lemon-Mint Refresher is a bright green, slushy lemonade with a strong bite of fresh mint. It is based on the popular Israeli lemon-mint drink known as limonana. Recipes take different approaches on how to add the mint, from steeping the herb in sugar syrup to my own approach — blending it into the drink.

The second recipe, Mocha Egg Cream, is a mash-up of two of my favorite summer drinks, iced coffee and the New York chocolate egg cream. The egg cream was made famous by Jewish candy store and soda fountain owners of the Lower East Side. Just like with the original, this drink has no eggs and no cream.

Tehina Sweet is a nice accompaniment for both drinks. This no-cook treat is adapted from Lévana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Kirschenbaum calls these Quick Halvah Bars, and they do recreate that traditional Middle Eastern and Israeli flavor. A little bit of this rich-tasting confection is very satisfying. It lasts for weeks in the refrigerator.

Lemon-Mint Refresher

Makes 31⁄2 cups

1 cup fresh lemon juice

1⁄4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1⁄2 cup cold water (chilled)

4 Tbs. sugar or to taste

1⁄2 cup ice cubes

mint leaves and or lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Pour lemon juice into ice cube tray. Freeze until solid. Place 1⁄4 cup mint leaves in bottom of a blender jar. Add water and sugar. Blend until puréed. Add frozen lemon juice cubes and ice cubes. Pulsing on and off, blend until slushy. Serve immediately with optional garnish.

Mocha Egg Cream

Serves 1

2 Tbs. cold strong coffee or espresso brewed double strength

1 Tbs. chocolate syrup (such as Hershey’s or U-Bet)

1⁄4 cup cold milk

6-8 oz. cold, plain seltzer water

Place coffee and chocolate syrup at the bottom of a large glass. Do not stir. Add milk. Do not stir. Slowly pour seltzer into the class until the creamy head fills the glass. Gently stir. The drink should separate into layers, leaving the foam on top a pure white. Serve immediately.

Tehina Sweet

(Adapted from “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen”)

Makes about 25

11⁄2 cups tehina (Middle Eastern sesame paste)

11⁄2 cups toasted wheat germ (see below)

11⁄2 cups (packed) unsweetened, grated coconut

1 cup toasted or roasted sesame seeds (see below)

1 cup agave syrup

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

additional coconut and/or sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Using a wooden spoon or greased hands, combine the tehina, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seeds, syrup, salt and vanilla until well mixed. Press into an ungreased

10×10-inch baking dish. Chill until firm. Cut into squares or bars. Alternatively, roll tablespoons of mixture in greased hands to form balls. If desired, roll balls into additional grated coconut or sesame seeds.

Chill, separating layers with waxed paper. Serve when firm. Store airtight in the refrigerator.

Notes: Kirschenbaum uses toasted wheat germ and honey flavor instead of the plain toasted wheat germ. If toasted or roasted sesame seeds are not available, spread raw sesame seeds in a single layer on baking sheet and roast in a 325-degree oven, stirring occasionally until lightly toasted.


Faith Kramer
is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].