One of our favorite events during the holiday season is the cookie exchange. We participate in as many of these delicious parties as we can, trying new recipes each time. We look forward to getting together with friends, eating sweet treats and collecting new recipes we haven’t tried before. With so many recipes at these parties, we try to bring something unique for everyone to sample.
One of our favorites is this authentic baklava. A welcome change of pace from traditional batter cookies, these pastries combine phyllo dough, nuts, honey and spices for a cookie that truly capture the holiday season. Although they require a little more time to prepare, the end result is definitely worth it! Try these out and tell us how they turn out in the comments!
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should also be about 6 – 8 sheets deep.
3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
4. While baklava is baking, begin the sauce. First, boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Then add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over pastries. Let cool. Garnish with crushed pistachios for an extra gourmet touch! Also, make sure to leave the pastries uncovered or they will become soggy.
Here in the Gourmet Orchards’ Kitchen we’re always looking for new ideas around amazing food. If you’ve got a recipe you’d like us to work on, contact us, fill us in and you may see your recipe on the gourmet blog.