Friday, February 3, 2012

Adventures in Cooking

Monday nights is dinner night with Bailey and Mike. One week, we will cook dinner (by we, I mean Dan) and Mike and Bailey bring dessert (Bailey) and the following week we switch. Its a fun way to get together and show off our culinary skills for the week. Nothing big. This week was our week to make dessert. I came across a Baklava recipe from my FAVORITE food blogger, "The Pioneer Woman". She is truly a food genius. She makes pure comfort food and its actually recipes that are do-able. I have made her enchilada's before and they were simply fantastic if I do say so myself. If you ever get a chance to go through her blog...its AMAZING and drool worthy.

You will need:
  • 1 package Phyllo Dough
  • 4 cups Chopped Walnuts Or Pecans
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 stick Butter, Melted
  • 2 cups Honey
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Directions (straight from the pioneer herself). The bold part is me talking
Remove phyllo dough package from freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw. Remove from fridge 1 hour before using.
When working with the phyllo dough, only remove the sheets you immediately need, keeping the other sheets covered in plastic wrap, then a damp cloth. All I did was rip a piece of saran wrap and cover the top of the sheets with it and then put a wet paper towel on top.
Toss together the chopped walnuts and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a rectangular baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo will generally fit the pan (if they're a little bigger, that's okay.) If they're much bigger, just trim them with a sharp knife.
Butter the top sheet of phyllo with melted butter, then grab it and the unbuttered sheet below it. Set the two sheets in the pan, buttered sheet face down. Press lightly into the pan. Repeat this twice more, so that you have six sheets of phyllo in the pan, three of the sheets buttered. Butter pan, lay phyllo sheet down, butter the top of that sheet and then lay another one down. Do this a total of x4.
Sprinkle on enough walnuts to make a single layer. Butter two sheets of phyllo and place them on top of the walnuts. Add more walnuts, then two more buttered phyllo sheets. Repeat this a couple more times, or until you're out of walnuts. Top with 4 more buttered phyllo sheets, ending with a buttered top. Cut a diagonal diamond pattern in the baklava using a very sharp knife.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the baklava is very golden brown.
While the baklava is baking, (I would not start this step until the Baklava is about half way done. Otherwise the liquid will just sit there longer than the 15min) combine 1 stick of the butter, honey, water, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
When you remove the baklava from the oven, drizzle half the saucepan evenly all over the top. Allow it to sit and absorb for a minute, then drizzle on a little more until you think it's thoroughly moistened. You'll likely have some of the honey mixture leftover, which you can drink with a straw. Just kidding.
Allow the baklava to cool, uncovered, for several hours (turns out the several hours isnt a suggestion. Its what needs to happen, otherwise the baklava will be very honey tasting because the liquid hasnt set yet). Once cool and sticky and divine, carefully remove them from the pan and serve with coffee (or give as gifts!)

**I am sorry that I do not have a picture for this post. I honestly did not know how much I would screw up the process. It did turn out delish though. Its super perfect for that little something sweet you crave when you get home. Its actually a very simple recipe. If I can do doubt that you can too!

Here is her website. Enjoy!


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