With just a few ingredients, halva is relatively easy to make. All you need is flour, butter, sugar, some saffron and rose water. It does, however, requires some time, patience and your undivided attention but at the end it is worth all the effort you put in.
I've made halva twice since that day, mostly because there was some whole wheat flour left and I didn't want to have the bag sitting in my refrigerator indefinitely. My mother used to make halva with grape syrup but since I couldn't find grape syrup (shireh angoor), I used honey and substituted a cup of vegetable oil for a stick of butter. I was so pleased with the results that I'm planning to make halva more often, no occasion necessary! They keep well in the freezer too. I think halva makes a great 4:00 o'clock snack. It can easily replace any junk food snacks. Halva is a fulfilling "real" food and a melt-in-your mouth home-made sweet that is very rich so a small amount will satisfy your hunger and cravings. There are many varieties of halva, some like sweet and buttery halva while others may like it to be just moist enough to go down smoothly and with only a hint of sweet. It all depends on your taste and preferences. I had previously posted a Halva recipe.
2 cups flour, sifted (I use whole wheat flour), No bleached flour please.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup vegetable oil, (you can use another cup of butter, instead)
1 cup honey, (you can use a cup of sugar, instead)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron *optional
1/2 cup rosewater
- In a small pot bring water to a gentle boil over medium heat, add sugar, honey and saffron. Stir well until sugar and honey are melted and the liquid thickens a little bit. Turn the heat off, you can set it aside or keep it on the stove to keep warm.
- Place a heavy bottom pan or a non-stick pan on medium heat, add the sifted flour and toast it lightly. You don't want to change it's color but to take away the raw flour taste and smell, continue stirring for 8-10 ten minutes over medium heat until you notice a hint of golden brown on some of the edges of the flour.
- Add the butter and mix thoroughly. Add the vegetable oil gradually while stirring to prevent the flour from burning.
- Pour the rose water into the honey-sugar liquid and gently add it to the pot. Mix well, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Serve on a platter, make it into little balls, try them sandwiched between wafers or serve them with lavash.