Halvah/chocolate brownies

August 5, 2013  •  Category:


I picked up a brochure for a restaurant chain running Ramadan specials and quickly ran through it until I stumbled on a familiar image. Golly, that was MY photograph! Taken three or four years ago (of kafta sandwiches); spent the following hour debating whether I should go after the unethical bunch. 

This brownie recipe is my third try; I wanted to make a halvah batter and swirl it into the chocolate batter. Halvah is sold everywhere here, is cheap and some brands are excellent; it comes in three or four options: Chewy, with pistachios, with chocolate swirls and plain. I was told Lebanese Army soldiers eat it for breakfast (with bread, great idea). These brownies though would be for a 4 PM snack attack.

INGREDIENTS: Line a 9″ (or 8″) brownie pan with parchment paper

            •          For the brownie layer: 3 oz of semi-sweet  chocolate

            •          1 heaping tbsp  cocoa

            •          3 eggs

            •          1  cup  sugar

            •          3/4 cup  all-purpose flour

            •          1 tsp  baking powder

            •          dash sea salt

            •          4 oz  unsalted butter

            •          2 tsp  coffee liqueur or vanilla

            •          5 oz  halvah

  •                  1/4 cup cornstarch

            •          1/2 cup milk or whipping cream (add a few more tablespoons if the mixture is too thick)

            1.        Place the halvah in a saucepan. Add the milk (or cream) and set it over low heat, stirring from time to time. When the halvah is dissolved, add the cornstarch and stir to blend; turn off the heat and set aside to cool a bit.

            2.        Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat or in the microwave. Let the mixture cool a bit and add the liqueur and stir to combine. Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is fluffy and thick, about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the power of your mixer. Add the chocolate mixture and combine.

            3.        Add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter and combine.

            4.        Add the egg to the halvah batter and mix to combine well. Pour the chocolate batter onto a cake pan lined with parchment paper. Add the halvah batter and with the handle of a wooden spoon form swirls if you want. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and serve.



These are always starving and love stale bits of bread. 


20 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A delicious treat! Halva is so addictive…



  2. Mira says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve been looking for ways to introduce halvah to my kids. I want them to grow up eating the same things I enjoyed as a kid. Thank you for the wonderful idea! On another note, I’m sorry that you have to deal with people stealing your pictures on a regular basis 🙁

  3. kouky says:

    superbe idée!! j’adore tes association pleines d’imagination!!

    • Joumana says:

      @Nuts about food: No, not worth it. I have been watermarking after I saw several in this market, even after talking to a lady who manages a hospitality magazine and was telling me they have their in-house art dept. saw my image in their magazine for one recipe!
      @Belinda: No, I am too busy these days to bother with this stuff.
      @Mira: I did not have my kids in minds when I fiddled with this, my daughter does not care for halvah, although she ate them.
      @Mark: Thanks for the pointers! you’re right, I saw some of the other images they used for their brochure did have watermarks! 🙂
      @kat9090; thanks for sharing this story! 🙂

  4. Joy @MyTravelingJoys says:

    Well, I’d eat these brownies for breakfast! What a great idea! Also, sorry to hear about people stealing your photograph. Unfortunately, it does happen to all of us.

  5. Belinda @zomppa says:

    What a great treat!! I can’t believe they just used your photo. Did you tell them??

  6. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Excellent post. Two things…Have you tried adding a bit of espresso powder? It’s easy to make, just dry the grounds in the oven then run them through a blade type grinder.
    Next, I’ve been a photographer since the mid 80’s, use it with my baking a lot, food photography is one of the most difficult. Want you to know that water marking will not stop these nuts. Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop can be used to remove it. There are free image copyright services on-line you can use with each image and some of them work great with the Google image search. I’ve found many of mine in Russia! 🙂

  7. kat9090 says:

    My father in law is from Poland. He is 80 this year. He lived through the displacement during WWII and at the middle of his story, wound up in Libya, encamped. I think it was his time there that gave him a taste for halvah. There is nothing like the look on his face when you visit with a piece of halvah just for him. He stashes it in the refrigerator and we watch him shuffle over and sneak a bite, every 15 minutes.

  8. Oui, Chef says:

    Dang…it’s after 4PM already here, I’ll need to make this for tomorrow’s snack!

  9. Gabi says:

    I can understand that you think it’s not worthwhile going legally after those thieves but actually stealing from the internet is getting worse and worse. At least you can make it public so as many people as possible know the bunch. May be they yet have decency enough to get embarrassed.

    • Joumana says:

      @Gaby: I have seen my pictures stolen in at least three publications; this last one is a fast food joint and to illustrate their mentality, some of the images on their brochure actually have a watermark (burgers and the like), so even that did not phase them. Lebanese people have learned to circumvent rules for so long, it is natural to them. It would be a tiny drop in a very large bucket, believe me.

  10. Susan says:

    What delicious-looking halvah brownies, Jourmana, and great idea to combine them. Normally, I’ve been pretty lucky to be asked if it’s okay if a photo is used but I have found mine used on other blogs too. Even after asking them to at least link to my recipe they brazenly keep deleting my comments and pretending the photo is theirs.

    • Joumana says:

      @Susan: I am not surprised, your photos are always so beautiful and professional some people get tempted to steal them shamelessly.

  11. domi says:

    Ôtez ces gourmandises de ma vue sinon je ne saurai leur résister….

  12. Farida says:

    Hi jumana, which halwa is this. Is it like the Turkish halva made with sesame I think

  13. Peter Block says:

    I need a sweet treat to round off my Middle Eastern feast I am planning for this weekend. These brownies look wonderful. I featured them on my Friday Five – Middle Eastern addition over @Feed Your Soul Too – http://www.feedyoursoul2.com/2013/12/friday-five-middle-eastern-addition.html

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