Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Dessert Recipe for Halva – The Renegade Health Show Episode #307

Wednesday May 13 | BY |
| Comments (53)


Ani Phyo’s new raw food dessert book is out and Annmarie is preparing some halva (a sweet cookie from the Middle East).

We also put my mother’s Oster blender to the test in this episode… will there be smoke?

Take a look…

Your question of the day: What was your favorite childhood cookie?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comment now!

Here’s where you can get Ani’s new book!

Here’s the recipe…

Ani Phyo’s Halva Chia Thumbprint Cookie

Raspberry Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 cup pitted semi-soft Medjool dates
1/4 cup agave syrup (I kept this out)
1/4 cup water

Combine well in blender. Will keep for 3 days in refrigerator or a few weeks in freezer.

3/4 cup sprouted chia seed powder
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pitted semi-soft Medjool dates -chopped
2 tablespoons Raspberry Sauce

Combine dry ingredients with tahini and mix well. Add in agave, mix well. Add in dates and mix with your hands. I also added a little water to help them stay together. Roll dough into 9-12 balls place on sheet preferably lined with parchment paper. Use your thumb or end of wooden spoon to make an indentation into the center of each cookie. Fill each with generous amount of sauce.

To serve, chill in the refrigerator for 20 min. or more to firm up. Will keep for several days or many weeks stored separately from jam. Enjoy 🙂

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Nicole says:

    When I was younger my favorite was haystacks, the stovetop kind made of chocolate, oats and coconut. I want to make a raw version one of these days. When I got older I was in love with my mom’s spicy gingersnaps…mmmm.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Yummy! I am so ready to grab up that cookbook! I need some start over dessert recipes. Honestly, my fave kid dessert were Toll House chocolate chip cookies. My sister and I used to pretend we were on a cooking show while we made them. Lately, I have been thinking of you guys, the internet, and my childhood cooking show. If it were that easy back then we certainly be on Youtube now. I am off to get the book- thanks guys!

  3. Penny Powell says:

    No doubt, Tollhouse Chocolate Chip. Now you can buy Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies instead, but they are neither raw nor healthy. I am doing Kris Carr’s 28-day clean-up, so I better not even think about Tate’s CCC’s anymore.

    Wish I had a HALVA!

    By the way, I loved how the garnish turned out. It looked beautiful on my MacBook Pro 17″ laptop, but then again, what doesn’t?!

    Good luck on your tour,


  4. Connie says:

    Wow, what Nicole called “haystacks” was my fav also but we called them something else (the name escapes me).

    Ani’s recipe sounds and looks really good, but since I don’t have any chia seeds (sprouted or otherwise) I think I might substitute–hmm, drawing a blank here… what’s in my cupboard?…you know, it’s time I cleaned out the cupboard and used up odds and bods! We need an odds and bods recipe…

    ‘twould seem that my mind is not in a state where I should be posting this evening, lol.

  5. Katie says:

    Pumpkin Chip Cookies!!! Which reminds me; I must try and find a raw version 🙂 Loving all of your recipes.

  6. Jes says:

    My grandmother made the best snickerdoodles too! I loved them! I’m excited about this raw dessert book. I have three chillens who just loved this episode!

  7. Kim says:

    My favorite cookie was shortbread. I so wish I could find a raw version of this cookie. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I long for my shortbread cookies! (~_~)

  8. marlene says:

    My mom didn’t really like to bake too much so I’d have to say all 4 of us kids loved to make Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies!

    Annie’s recipe looks great. FYI – if you’re going to use Yucon Syrup instead of Agave just be aware it’s a lot sweeter and kind of tastes like apricot.

  9. Pat says:

    I think my fave cookie was…I didn’t have one! We weren’t cookie people…just regular monsters…:-P When I discovered that the original macaroon recipe did not have coconut in it (I so disliked the Safeway version: rancid and powdery sweet), I loved them, because they were almost pure marzipan, my fave taste…oh, and Laura Nyro’s, too.

    I really love Annemarie’s work in the kitchen. She’s really a natural and does it with passion and ease… 🙂

  10. Laura says:

    Hey Guys-
    Favorite childhood cookie was anything my mom made. She was the best baker in the land.
    But seriously, she used to make these sandwich cookies. Two huge chocolate cookies with a red or green (food coloring) mint creme in between them. Everything made from scratch.

    Are you going to get more of those shirts printed? I’d love to buy a couple of those puppies.

  11. Tara Burner says:

    I just got Ani’s book the other day, going to try out some yummy recipes when my fast is over…great video you two 🙂

  12. Tara Burner says:

    oppps forgot to answer the question…duh…
    my favorite childhood cookie…
    peanutbutter oatmeal cookies
    mmmmm mmmmm

  13. Amy says:

    Moms peanut butter cookie – and – oatmeal haystacks!!!! omg…………goosebumps 🙂 BUT —are we in love with the “memory” more than the actual taste?? hmmm…I would love one now,,,,but….NOT as much as then…I love the memory….and would now enjoy the cookie Annemarie made in the memories I am making now.


  14. Jackie Ryan says:

    My grandmother kept an old coffee jar (the huge antique one with the green metal lid) on the top shelf in her kitchen cabinet.
    When I got to her house I could always count on it being stocked with her yummy oatmeal raisen cookies. They were the best!

  15. My favorite childhood cookie was a toss up between the black and white half moons and the linzer tortes – those with the thick raspberry filling between two soft white flour/powdered sugar sandwiches.
    Halvah ???? is widely found here in Israel. It’s sold in the shuk (marketplace) in Jerusalem and they give out free samples. Traditionally, it’s made of sesame seeds which are ground with honey and/some other nut(s) and /or seeds. They vary flavors ,etc. with chocolate and they add plenty of white sugar besides.

  16. Crisgina says:

    I may not be reading this right…but I don’t see the quantity of agave listed for the cookies.

  17. Geri says:

    my moms yummy peanut butter cookies!!!1

  18. marijana pontoni says:

    My favorite childhood cookies with chocolate like Zacher cake or cookies with lots of cream.

    Could someone suggest with what to replace chia. I tried it and I felt really weird so I guess that chia is not for me but I would like to know with what I can replace it in recipes. Thanks a lot!

  19. Linda says:

    I’d have to say it was a cinnamon swirl roll. My mom would roll out the dough and put cinnamon and sugar inside. Roll it up and cut them the size of a cookie and you could see the swirl on the inside. WQW!
    WHAT a memory!…

  20. Linda says:


    Are you going to be selling the T-shirts? They are GREAT!!!

  21. Muriel says:

    My favorite childhood cookie was “mollases” cookies. My mom made them regularly when i was growing up, they were soft cookies and just sooo yummy.

  22. Carol Kraft says:

    Loved the show. Now Kevin lets not get snobby over the blender. I happen to still own an Oster and nice to see a recipe with it.

    Favorite cookie. Porcupine balls(I am dating myself in Canadian audience!) made from chocolate chips,graham wafers, condensed milk and rolled in coconut. Very decadent refridgerator cookie!

    Will like to try that recipe but no chia seeds on hand yet.

  23. Angel says:

    My favorite was my grandfather’s wife’s cardamom muffins. Yummy!

  24. Linda B. says:

    Definately…chocolate chip cookies!! Thanks for the great show!

  25. sara says:

    Chris favorite was Snickerdoodle. (still is)
    Sara fav was Girl Scout Thin Mint Chocolate.. mmmmmm….

  26. stephanie says:

    My grandma’s chocolate chip mandel bread was my FAVORITE! She was personally insulted when I went vegan…

  27. John says:

    My mom’s chocolate chip cookies were awesome! They stayed soft somehow – maybe because they didn’t last long enough to get hard. I believe it was her mom’s recipe. 🙂

  28. Melody says:

    I liked Chocolate Chip Cookies and Oatmeal raisin. Yummy

  29. Sheralee says:

    Hey Kevin & Ann-Marie! Thanks you two so much for your heartfelt inspirations on this health journey of ‘ours’! I live in New Zealand so love to get your mail early in my day here!
    I had to leave this comment especially for AnnMarie re her OSCAR (Oster?) blender comment with Ani’s Halva recipe…We have a brand of food processor called the OSCAR! It is a pretty awesome processor so I resonated with the OK blender thing! Keep trekking you fab duo I really love tapping into your snippets!
    xoxo Sheralee

  30. jeanne says:

    Peanut butter, with the criss cross on the top… Ummmmm!

    But store cookies- Girl Scout Thin mints – in the freezer!

    Thanx for the show,

  31. Wow! Thats a hard one to choose from. When I was a kid my grandmother or my mom used to make a no bake chocolate oatmeal cookie. Back during the depression ingredients were hard to come by and everything seemed to be in short supply. But I am glad you asked because this would be an easy recipe to turn into a raw vegan cookie. I will have to find the recipe and post it. I know you guys don’t get into processed foods but here’s a recipe that we served at a kids summer camp. It’s both simple and delicious, and especially good to serve in the summertime.
    Slice several banonas about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Soak the bananas in pineapple juice which will not only add extra flavor but will keep them from turning brown. Take graham caracker squares and put one down as a bottom layer. Top it with several slices of banana then place place a second graham cracker on top of the banana slices so a to make it like an icecream sandwich. Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 4 hours. When you eat them you will find that the graham cracker will have begun to soften do to its absorbtion of the moisture from the pineapple juice. And so what you wind up with is an end product very much like an icecream sandwich. You could probably work out a recipe for a raw dehydrated graham cracker.

  32. Hey marijana pontoni: I hope you get this. You wanted to know what to replace chia seed with. First off if I recall Annmarie stated that they had to be ground into a meal. That would deffinately change the texture. Secondly flax meal will give you a similar texture and it also begins to impart a gelatinos substance much like the chia seed as it soaks up some of the moisture. In fact we oftened used a flax and water mixture for an egg substitute in certain products for our bake shop. You don’t get quite the volume out of a finished product as you would with regular eggs, but they’re good for people who have allergies. Hope that helps.
    You can e-mail me if you have any further questions.

  33. Margaret says:

    Hi, Live Awesome kitchen duo! My favourite biscuits were Melting Moments from my Mum’s wartime Bero cookbook.They melted in your mouth in a moment but the fat stayed on my body a while longer! She also made the best Scotch pancakes ever. Keep uncooking up those recipes- they’re great!

  34. Rhonda D says:

    I would have to say Oatmeal Rasin are my favorite:)

  35. Joseph says:

    The only cookies that come to mind are shortbread. My stomach hurts thinking of them now.
    Was never really big on sweets growing up.

  36. deb says:

    chocolate chip! or snickerdoodle…but then again there’s otatmeal chocolate chip. Oh and what about mexian wedding cookies and marizipan! As you can see, I’m not the kind of person that can pick a favorite anything. Now, I the one I’m with.

    The great thing about Oster Blenders is the warrenty. Every time mine burns out, I take it to the store and they replace it. One day I may buy a heavy duty blender, but until then it’s the cheap one for me.

  37. Nicole says:

    Fun! Okay, now you’re making me think of my fave cookie, ahhh:) I LOVED White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!!! Those days are gone but that is the cookie I remember never passing up:)~

  38. Tina says:

    One of my favorite my mom made so many and was written up in Chicgo paper!
    Cheese cake diamond squares.My grandmother Sourmilk jumbo cookie (look like donut very plain dry cookie)Those Halva look Yummy!

  39. Thank you so much for sharing this blog. I ran through some of your post and I enjoyed reading them. Thanks for sharing again. 🙂

  40. jaclyn says:

    I absolutely loved my grandma’s cookies when growing up. She made the best chocolate chip cookies & ginger bread cookies!
    BTW, Kevin’s “garnish” really cracked me up! Really need a laugh today, thanks! 🙂
    Hope you two decide to stop by central FL someday!

  41. Cindy says:

    OH MAN
    i’m a cookie FAN…. I am sure it was and still IS a mood thing….nothing beats a fresh, out of the oven chocolate chip… AND my Mom’s sugar cookies (we got to do the frosting) was always a FAV too

    Great Blog! Thanks

  42. Lina says:

    Well, that is an easy one: I have no favorite cookie, simply because we never made any! I guess they’re not in our culture here in Greece. When I lived in England in my early twenties, however, I became quite partial to shortbread. I don’t particularly miss it though!

  43. Mary Goff says:

    Love your enthusiasm and my favorite cookie growing up was my Mom’s Peanut Butter cookies with the fork marks in them…Awesome!

    Vital Health,

  44. Barbara says:

    My favorite childhood cookie was Toll house chocolate chips. But I don’t eat them anymore.


  45. Mary says:

    Thanks for the Halva effort! But I gotta tell you, brother and sister, keep the recipes to the maximum and the chatter and giggling to a minimum if you really are interested in teaching us something.

  46. Melissa Rei says:

    The amount of agave for the cookie portion is not listed. Could you please post?


    I’m enjoying the High Raw ebook. Really inspirational!

  47. Melissa Rei says:

    Also, I disagree with Mary. I love both of your personalities. It feels like I am in the kitchen with you, as if I was at a friend’s house and she/he was sharing a recipe with me. I don’t expect a serious lecture.

  48. Melanie says:

    I NEED this book… NEED it! Love your demos – they’re so motivating to just jump in and try something new! ;o) Thank you, thank you!
    Favorite ‘biscuit’ growing up in the UK – chocolate digestives by McVities – Mom never baked them ;o)

  49. Yvonne says:

    My favorite cookie was anything I could get my hands on, but my Aunt’s Recipe was the best Chocolate Chip Cookies I have ever tasted. It was different from any other recipe I have run across.

  50. Rebecca says:

    My mom’s peanut butter cookies!

    I have both her books and LOVE them! They have helped me so much and my husband even loves the raw food desserts! Just Awesome!

    Where can I get a shirt like that! Love it!

  51. Amy says:

    I just found this awesome raw recipe from nutritionals Rose Cole for an eggnog substitute. I can’t believe how good it is, and it’s sugar-free, dairy-free, and RAW! Just thought I would pass it on.

  52. T says:

    Why aren’t you actually going to eat any of the cookies?

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