Baklava!

Wow! I can go for weeks (months?) on end without a single blog post, and here I am writing a second one in as many days! I actually have several recipes that I can share. I  just haven’t gotten my priorities right to put “write blog post” near the top of my to-do list! And my recipe yesterday along with this one are definitely not THM approved! Yikes!

Hubby had been asking about making baklava in recent weeks since we now have our own honey. I kept putting him off because I knew the other ingredients would have a cost higher than I was willing to pay. However, a friend of mine shared her recipe (with a picture) of her baklava and I knew that I simply just had to make a batch.

It was not nearly as hard as I had envisioned. Time-consuming, yes, but hard, no. As per my usual, I did not follow the recipe exactly. I used more cinnamon than the recipe called for. I also did not make a sugar syrup to mix with the honey. I used honey only. And oh, the flavor! It is amazing!! I took some to our church fellowship dinner on Sunday evening and received quite a few complements on it! I think that the only thing I would do differently next time is cut the pieces smaller since it is so rich!

  • 1/2 pound chopped pecans
  • 1/2 pound chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound package of Phyllo dough
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 cups honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest

Mix nuts together in a large bowl and toss with the ground cinnamon. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of prepared dish. Brush generously with melted butter. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Repeat layers until all the nuts, butter, and phyllo are used. End with about 6 layers of phyllo on the top. If you still have some butter left, brush it over the top layer.

Using a very sharp knife, cut through all layers of the baklava. Cut 3-4 sliced length-wise. Then make diagonal cuts to make diamond shapes. Bake in heated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and crisp.

While baklava is baking, heat honey in a sauce pan until close to boiling. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest.

When baklava is done baking, immediately pour the honey mixture over the top. Let cool completely in the pan.

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Honey Bees, the Hubby’s New Hobby

I can’t believe that it has been a month since I last posted here on the blog! Where in the world has the time gone? I know that I’ve been busy, but seriously? A month? I do hope that I can do better in the coming days!!

During this last month, the hubby has been researching honey bees, purchasing needed equipment, and actually setting up hives. He planned to start with 2 hives, but last week, he decided that 2 were not enough. He now has 5 hives set up–complete with bees! This picture is of hives 1 and 2.

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While I am not a fan of bees of any kind, I am a firm believer of local honey helping with allergy issues. (I know that some people think that this is just crazy, and others are adamant that it does work.) About 3 years ago I began a regimen of 1 tbsp. of local honey a day (in my morning tea) so that I could wean myself off of OTC allergy medicines. I never had allergy issues while I was growing up; however, as an adult, I have had lots of issues with seasonal allergies. Several friends told me to take local honey to help with the allergies. One told me that I wouldn’t see it helping for about a year, but to take it anyway. I have done so, and no longer take the OTC allergy meds. So, I look forward to having our  very own local honey…hopefully by next year!

I promise to try some new recipes and share them with you here. Thanks for your patience with me!

Looking ahead–my girl should be having her baby near the end of July!! Can’t wait to meet my grandson!

English Muffins

It’s hard for me to believe that we are already near the end of April!  The Cookbook Experiment will be 3 years old next week! Over these 3 years we have had almost 8500 views to our 220 posts!  Thank you, readers, for your support!

We have had lots of rain over the last several months which has brought us out of drought conditions for the first time in over three years!  I am so glad! We’ve gotten most of our garden planted recently, so I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be cooking with fresh herbs and veggies again!  I am very excited to note that while I usually suffer from spring allergies with all the yucky pollen in the air, this year has been different! About a year ago, I began taking a tablespoon of local honey every morning with my tea. I’d heard that local honey helps with allergies.  I think that it certainly has helped me!  I have made it through the month of April with no allergy issues at all.

We loved English muffins when I was growing up.  They were part of my mom’s special Saturday Morning Breakfasts.  Until recently, I had not seen a recipe for English muffins. I do have a recipe for English muffin bread, but it is rather gooey and doesn’t hold its shape well enough to make it into muffins.   I found this recipe in a magazine I was reading a few weeks ago at the auto repair shop.  Since the magazine was several months old, I asked the owner if I could tear it out.  He just laughed and said yes!

I love the flavor of these muffins!  They are great toasted and served with plenty of butter and your favorite jam or some of that local honey!

2 c. buttermilk

3-3/4 c. bread flour, plus more as needed (I used all-purpose)

4-1/2 tsp. (2 pkgs) instant dry yeast

2 tbsp. sugar

1-1/2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. butter at room temperature

Cornmeal for dusting

In a saucepan warm the buttermilk over low heat until just starting to steam. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, yeast, sugar, and salt on low speed. Add buttermilk in a steady streeam, then add honey and butter and mix until dough is almost smooth, about 3 minutes. Add a little more flour if dough is very sticky. You shouldn’t need more than an extra 1/2 cup.  The dough should pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl and can be shaped into a loose ball…still slightly sticky.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in refrigerator from 2 to 24 hours.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough onto a work surface generously dusted with cornmeal. Pat or roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thick.  Using a 3-inch cutter (I used a glass) cut into 12 rounds. Knead scraps together and reroll to get all 12.  Transfer rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.

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Heat oven to 350. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until very hot. Brown both sides of each muffin round about 3-5 minutes each side. Return to baking sheet. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until puffed, golden brown and the sides feel set but still soft.

To serve, split with a fork and pop into your toaster. Spread with butter and your favorite jam!

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