Nutty Baklava

Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

MeasuringSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

Homemade baklava  is so much better than store bought in my book.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put in the baklava.  You can use your favorite nut, I have used walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts.  The type of honey, type of cinnamon or other  spices.

You will need:

9×13 baking pan
1 package of frozen filo dough-defrost in refrigerator 2 days before making baklava
1 lb. of nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, or pretty much any other nut you would like to use.(chopped finely)
1 cup melted butter give or take- have extra butter on hand if needed
1 Tbsp of cinnamon, and any other spices you might want to add. (I will also use fresh nutmeg, powdered clove, you can also use pumpkin pie spice)
Honey syrup- recipe follows

Syrup ingredients:
1 cup honey
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp of cinnamon

Bring to boil ,lower temperature and simmer for 15 min. Stir during cooking process.  After the 15 minutes turn off heat and let cool.

To put together the baklava:
Brush bottom of 9 x 13 pan with some of the melted butter.  Add layer of filo, brush with butter, add layer of filo, brush with butter, do this 4 more times.  Add layer of chopped nuts and cinnamon.  Add 5-6 more layers of the filo brushed with the melted butter.
When you have used all the nuts and cinnamon- add 7-8 layers of the butter filo to finish off the top.

Put pan into freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pull pan from freezer, get a very sharp knife and cut long diagonal cuts through the dough.  When you have completed the cuts it will look like a pan of diamonds.
Bake for about 1 hour- it will look nice a golden color.
Take out of oven.  Pour syrup gently over the top of the baklava.  I normally pour about half and wait 5-10 minutes and then pour the remaining syrup over the top.

NuttyBaklava-MeasurningSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put into it.

Tips:

Make sure filo is completely thawed.
Keep filo covered with damp towel while working with it.
Either precut filo to fit the pan or just fold the filo to fit. ( this is what I do- just adds additional layers of buttery filo.)
Freezing pan after layering will help to firm up the layers before you cut them- this is not required.
Let sit for several hours for syrup to soak it completing and baklava is cooled.
Some people leave baklava out for several days, I however, will usually store covered in the refrigerator.

Caramel Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing better than these gooey caramel cinnamon rolls laden with fresh walnuts.  I have made some variety of these rolls since my kids were little. The kids were always very excited because I love them so much I wouldn’t bake them very often or I would end up eating most of them.

I have a friend who’s grandmother cracks walnuts and pulls the meat. I feel fortunate that I am able to buy a couple of bags each year.  The walnuts are so fresh, so beautiful, the first thing I think of making when I get my hands on the walnuts are these gooey cinnamony walnuty rolls.

MeasuringSunshine-CaramelWalnutCinnamonRolls

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter- cut into pieces
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla paste-optional
3 – 3 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
_________
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 – 2 cups chopped walnuts
__________
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
more chopped walnuts
cinnamon, nutmeg, more cinnamon, more cinnamon

Warm up the milk in the microwave to about 115 degrees,  add 1/4 cup sugar and the yeast- set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg, add the chopped butter.  After the 5 minutes and the yeast has activated add to the egg and butter.  Mix  3 cups flour with the salt.  Add to the yeast mixture 1/2 cup at a time.  The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl, if not add another 1/2 cup flour.
Prepare a separate bowl with drizzling 1 tbsp of canola oil.  Set aside.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour onto the kneading board and them pull the dough out of bowl.  Knead  for 2-4 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.  I keep wanting to take a picture of this but my hands are in the dough and not camera worthy.
Take the dough and toss into the prepared bowl that has the canola oil. Swish it around to coat and then flip so the oily part is on the top.  I normally cover with a towel, but you can also use plastic wrap.  Put bowl into a warm place to rise for about an hour.

While the dough is rising- get a saucepan and add the half cup butter and the brown sugar- turn the stove onto medium.  Add the corn syrup and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is all the way melted and then I will usually simmer until it thickens.  Set aside for it to cool down.

Chop the walnuts, set aside.
When the dough had risen to double the size, take out half and roll out into a rectangle mine is never rectangle. Smear the soften butter over the whole thing.   Sprinkle the white sugar, then the brown sugar, then add the cinnamon, and or other spices.  I don’t think you can put too much cinnamon. Sprinkle part of the chopped walnuts(these I chop finer than the ones that go into the caramel.
Start at the wide side and start rolling.
I use a piece of thread to cut the rolls, but a very sharp knife will work as well.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls

Get your pan (make sure pan has handles or a lip that you will be able to hold as you flip the pan after baking) out and pour the caramel onto the bottom, sprinkle the rest of the walnuts over the caramel.
As you cut the rolls, place on top of the caramel.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls
Leave some space between the rolls- these are a little too close, I actually had to take some of them out and put into a different pan. Cover with a towel and set aside to rise again for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes.  To check to see if they are done, select one of the center rolls and pull gently away from the roll next to it.  Does it look flaky or still gooey?  If still gooey , put back into the oven for 5-10 more minutes.
After rolls are done, let cool in the pan until you can touch the pan without burning yourself.
Get a plate at least a big as the pan with the rolls.  Put the plate upside down on top of pan of rolls, grab both sides and flip.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls

 

Get a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy.

You can do these the night before and when you get to the bake stage- put into the refrigerator.
The next morning let the chill where off and throw into the oven. You may need to bake a little longer.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

I have adapted my favorite Oatmeal cookie to include all the things I love……
Dark Chocolate, Tart Dried Cherries, Oatmeal and Wheat flour.

If you are baking these for bake sales or gifts, you can drizzle chocolate over it make them ever better.
Some other options to add are:  any type of nut, raisins, coconut.  I have tried them all.
DarkChocolateCherryCookies-I have adapted my favorite Oatmeal cookies to include all the things I love...... Dark Chocolate, Tart Dried Cherries, Oatmeal and Wheat flour.

1 cup Butter, you can use  shortening or margarine-the texture might change a little though.
1 cup packed brown sugar and 1 half cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla paste- you can use extract if that is what you have.
3 cups oats
1 cup wheat flour, I have also used oat flour but you will need to add another egg
1 tsp salt
1/2  tsp soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 – 3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate.

DarkChocolateCherryCookies-I have adapted my favorite Oatmeal cookies to include all the things I love...... Dark Chocolate, Tart Dried Cherries, Oatmeal and Wheat flour.
Cream softened butter together with the sugars.  Add egg and beat together, add vanilla paste and mix.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda and powder.  Add to wet ingredients.
Add oatmeal, cherries and chocolate.
Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.
DarkChocolateCherryOatmealCookies-I have adapted my favorite Oatmeal cookies to include all the things I love...... Dark Chocolate, Tart Dried Cherries, Oatmeal and Wheat flour.
The reason I use wheat flour is the slightly nuttiness the flour gives to the cookies.
Use can use any type of flour in this recipe but if you use oat flour you will need a little extra moisture.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event.
Perfect for any holiday or celebration.
It’s chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
You can do so many variations with this cookie.
I have rolled them in a ball and then nuts, or powdered sugar before baking.
I have topped them with walnuts, pecan, almonds, kisses, m&m’s, and sprinkles.
This is a recipe adapted from a community cookbook from 1984 when my daughter was in the Daisy’s.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.

1 cup butter, and 1/4 cup shortening (you can use all butter, but I like the texture this way)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla paste (you can use a nut flavoring if you want- I have used almond and walnut extract)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup of special dark baking chocolate( I use Hershey’s)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
optional:  1 cup chopped nuts, dark chocolate pieces, or wherever your imagination takes you.

Cream softened butter, shortening and sugar.  Just until mixed.
Add eggs, and vanilla, beat
Combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl.
Then mix dry ingredient into wet ingredients.
If adding nuts or chocolates do it after everything is mixed together.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet, or roll into a ball.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes- they will look a little puffy and under cooked- but take them  out anyway.
Let them cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before taking off sheet to cool the rest of the way on a rack.