Armenian Halva

Don’t confuse Armenian Halva (made with cream of wheat) with Jewish Halva which is more like a candy. We eat halva for dessert or sometimes breakfast.

The ingredients you use for halva are very important. You must use clarified butter or the cream of wheat won’t puff up. Here is how you clarify butter. It is very important that ALL the water is gone from the butter. You also are going to use something we call bakmaz. It is concentrated grape syrup. You can get it at Armenian stores or sometimes at Jons. Here’s what the jar looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, you need to use the original 10 minute kind of cream of wheat:

 

 

 

 

 

1 large box of Original 10 minute Cream of Wheat

1 lb. melted, clarified butter

4 cups water

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup bakmaz

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Add bakmaz and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Keep at a simmer.

Add the melted clarified butter to the cream of wheat in a big heavy pot. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. It’s important to keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan so it does not burn.

Now add the almost boiling syrup you made to the cream of wheat mixture a little at a time. Stand back because it will sizzle and splatter when you add it. Mix it up and keep adding until it looks moist enough and tastes sweet enough. Keep tasting it until it’s as sweet as you like it. You may not use all of the syrup. The syrup may be kept in the refrigerator if you have some left over.

Serve hot for dessert or breakfast. Let me know if you try this one. I grew up on it, so it doesn’t seem strange to me but it may be a bit of an acquired taste for someone who didn’t grow up on it!

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4 Responses to “Armenian Halva”

  1. Liz Says:

    That’s so interesting! I had no idea there were other kinds of halva.

  2. Mark Bruso Says:

    The last time I had Armenian Halva was about 35 years ago. My grandmother from the old country would make it every time we visited. I was so happy to find this recipe. So I just it making it. The final product looks and tastes similar to what I remember. However, I would not serve this version. I think my first try had too much butter. I used 2 jars 7.5 oz each of clarified butter (Ghee)I found in a gourmet grocery store. As I was cooking the cream of wheat, excess butter kept puddling on top. Next time I think I will try only 1 1/2 jars. Next, it definitely needed less of the syrup. I only used about 80% of it. But it was too moist and sweet. Another note, I had really hard time finding the 10 minute version of cream of wheat here in Portland, Oregon. I had to purchase a case 4 boxes via Amazon. No big deal, but FYI. I also wasn’t sure if the cream of wheat was progressing until all of a sudden it did start puff up, which I have never seen before. Kind of cool. I wasn’t sure how much longer it should have cooked past that point. Question, does the brown color only come from the syrup or should the cream of wheat cook longer to add more color? Also, after you add the syrup, should it continue to cook?

    • lisapotato Says:

      Hi Mark! Thanks for your comment. As far as the amount of butter, it’s 1lb. BEFORE it’s clarified, so it would definitely be less of the ghee. Next time I make it, I’ll measure the butter AFTER it’s clarified to see how much I use.

      The amount of syrup is definitely a matter of taste. Just add it a little bit at a time until it’s how you like it.

      The brown color only comes from the syrup.

      You only need to cook it about a minute after you add the syrup.

      I hope that helps!

      -Lisa

  3. Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe Says:

    I haven’t had this one before, but do you also make Imrig Halva? That’s the one I grew up on – cream of wheat, sugar, butter, water, pine nuts and cinnamon. Yummm! Since they have chocolate cream of wheat now, I even played around with that to make a version with almonds.

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