Special equipment: Have ready: Small heavy-bottomed saucepan Candy thermometer Oiled heavy wooden spoon Oiled 6-inch round pan
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple extract, vanilla bean paste, kosher salt, and peanuts. Set aside.
In the small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the bourbon, 2 1/4 tablespoons water, and the sugar over medium heat, stirring until dissolved, about 3 minutes. Once dissolved, increase heat to high. Attach the candy thermometer and boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 255 to 260 degrees F, just below hard-crack stage.
Remove from heat, immediately pour in the bowl, and assertively mix in syrup with the oiled wooden spoon. Mix until the halvah begins to form threads. This gives the dessert its unique texture.
Working quickly, press the mixture into the oiled pan. (I like using a smaller pan that has 2-inch sides.) Press firmly, making the mixture dense and compact.
Wrap two times in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 36 hours. The halvah needs to cure, yielding an awesome dessert.
Unmold while cold. Let sit at room temperature, at least 4 hours, before eating. Serve with dates, frozen Greek yogurt, and pomegranates. The halvah is also awesome all by itself!
The halvah will keep well at room temp, stored in an airtight container.
Recipe courtesy of Hedy Goldsmith