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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Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Today I am sharing a recipe from my new niece.  The wedding of Hannah to my nephew Luke was one of the road trips that I made over the summer.   I saw this recipe that she posted on her blog this morning and thought it sounded yummy. I can’t wait to try it!  You can read about it here. I think that you will like it, too!

Here is a picture of my sister’s family at their wedding. Everyone made it into the picture except 2-year-old Asher who fell asleep on one of the pews while he was waiting for the family picture!

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Blueberry Walnut Upside-Down Cake

Since having an empty nest is becoming more the norm lately, the hubby and I decided to have friends over for Sunday dinner this past weekend.  The menu was not a problem because we still enjoy our traditional Sunday dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli with cheese sauce.  However, I don’t always serve dessert. I needed to find a good, but easy recipe using what I had on hand.

My thoughts turned to a cake, but I didn’t want something super sweet with icing.  I found a pineapple upside-down cake recipe in my favorite Fannie Farmer cookbook, made a few changes since I was without pineapple, and ended up with this amazing dessert!

This recipe would also make up well as individual servings using a cupcake pan.  After melting the butter and adding the brown sugar and juice, spoon a small amount into each cupcake space. Sprinkle with a few blueberries and spoon some batter over the berries to about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

12 tbsp. butter, divided

3/4 cup to 1 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. orange juice  (lemon juice might be great, too!)

about 1 c. blueberries

1/3 to 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. milk

1 egg

1-1/2 c. flour  (can use 3/4 c. almond flour with 3/4 c. all-purpose flour)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. granulated sugar

Melt 4 tbsp butter in a 9 or 10-inch cake pan. (I would use the larger size, since mine over-flowed a little bit during the baking.)   Stir in brown sugar and continue to stir over low heat until it dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice. Sprinkle blueberries and walnuts over the top and set aside.

Melt remaining 8 tbsp. butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in milk and egg, beating well. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar in bowl. Add milk-egg mixture and beat until smooth. Pour over blueberries and bake for about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cook in pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate, fruit side up. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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