Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baklava Shortbreads

Originally posted in My Soap Mom's Kitchen Blog
 Most requested recipe by friends and family!

This recipe came about one day when I was in Culinary School. My Master Chef instructor gave us 15 minutes to take a classic baking recipe and re-invent the original without losing the integrity of the recipe. Well I am Greek, needless to say, we eat a lot of baklava. I love short-breads and I love baklava, so for me this was a natural. Anyways, it was a big hit and everyone including all the chefs wanted the recipe. It was an honor. I have been making it ever since. If you are a baklava lover this is for you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
48 one each square bar cookies

Basic Shortbread Recipe: ( Professional Pastry recipe scaled down)

3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, lighter in color. Mix flour and salt. Add to butter mixture with mixer on slow, until it comes together. Take a half size sheet pan and press cookie dough with finger, until the pan is covered in dough. Bake 15 minutes. They will be underdone.  Cool shortbread:

Phyllo Dough

1 package of thin phyllo dough not country style. The one for Baklava:
1 and 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter.  Take a half size sheet pan, take one sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and put another sheet on top. Continue this until all the phyllo has been layered with butter and phyllo. Pop into a freezer for 1 to 2 hours until solid. If sheet pan does not fit into freezer, cut phyllo layers into half or thirds and put into pan and pop into freezer.

Nut Mixture
2 cups ground walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove

When phyllo is completely hard, slide an offset spatula to take out of pan. It is okay if it breaks you want it to break. Take into your hands and break into different, rough shapes the size of a quarter. Put into a big bowl add Nut Mixture and mix with clean hands. Break apart more with fingers. Add on top of shortbread cookies and bake for another 30- 35 minutes until golden brown. You can double your sheet pan to prevent the bottom of the shortbread from getting to dark.
When done let cool completely.

3 cups sugar
2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of clove
1 T. lemon juice (fresh)
1 lemon rind

In a heavy sauce pan, bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 35 minutes until thicker in consistency. Drizzle hot syrup on to cookie baklava. I usually do half the syrup let cookie cool completely. Then I reheat the rest of the syrup and add it on top. You do not have to add all the syrup if you like a less sweet cookie. When cool completely, cut into squares. The syrup helps the phyllo stick to each other and to the cookie shortbread. I always add the whole amount of syrup, but I usually let the first application dry and cool and than add the second. You must let the syrup simmer for at least thirty minutes. In needs to be thicker and some what sticky. 

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