Monday, January 4, 2016

Post-Holiday Baking...Amy's Backlava!

So our holidays got a little bit busier than I had anticipated, so there were a few holiday cookie posts that feel through the cracks. They were too good not to share though, so this week you'll be getting two new holiday (or anytime!) baking recipes to enjoy! Today's post is from Amy, one of my July 2010 Knotties. I am honored that she is sharing her Grammie's recipe for backlava today! Hello, yummmmmm.

Hi everyone! I’m Amy. I’m a Stay at Home Mom/Step-Mom to The Drew Crew, Clayton (12), Amelia (11), Brennan (9), Abbigaile (2), and Adam/A.J. (9 months).

Baking is something that I really enjoy, so when Val asked for volunteers for a holiday cookie post, I knew that I wanted to participate and exactly what I should share. I started baking at a very young age, being taught by my Mom and Grammie and I’m happy to say I’m continuing the trend by teaching my girls very early as well. When I was younger I spent a lot of time at my Grammie’s house which meant learning lots of her recipes (some that my mom doesn’t even know how to make). Every holiday meant certain special treats like cheesecake, chocolates and Grammie’s favorite Christmas Baklava, which is what I will be sharing with you today.

Baklava is a labor of love. The ingredients are very simple and it’s not a difficult process, it just takes a long to put together. The cinnamon and nuts smells like the perfect Christmas combonation and it takes me right back to being 9 years old in Grammie’s kitchen as she walked me through the process step by step.

Every year for the 15 years I had with my Grammie, we went to her house for Christmas Eve dinner. I always spent some time with her in the days leading up to Christmas Eve and helped her cook and bake in preparation to have all of us there for dinner. I can remember when it was time to make the Baklava, she made sure I was super careful not to rip the Phyllo dough and to not burn the butter on the stove. The thing I remember the most though, and that was the most clearly in my mind 13 years after she passed away while I was making the Baklava for this post, was her telling me “Make sure you butter every inch of that dough!” “Am, use MORE BUTTER!!!”.

Grammie’s Christmas Baklava


1 cup water

1 cup sugar

10 whole cloves

Boil the water, sugar & cloves for about 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Turn off heat and set aside to cool. LEAVE the cloves in while it cools.

2 cups chopped walnuts

¾ cup white sugar

¼ cup cinnamon

In a food processor, mix nuts, sugar and cinnamon until the nuts are finely chopped. This is your filling.

1-2 packages phyllo dough, thawed (I say 1-2 because there are different sizes and the boxes have between 17-21 sheets per box)

3 sticks butter, melted (you may find you want to melt a 4th stick to get through the final layers)

Large cookie sheet or Jelly roll pan

Start by laying down your first layer of phyllo dough on your cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. Using a pastry brush, brush dough with melted butter, making sure to get it all the way to the edges and covering every inch of the dough (Listen for my Grammiewhispering to you, “ YOU NEED MORE BUTTER!”).

Repeat this process several times (I did 5 sheets of phyllo dough per layer and think it could have used a few more in there. My suggestion is 6 or 7 sheets of phyllo dough per layer), then sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top and spread to the edges.

Layer several more sheets of phyllo dough on top of the nut mixture; making sure to brush every single layer with plenty of butter. Repeat this process 2 more times. After you get the last layer of dough on top, you’ll need to cut the Baklava into diamond shapes. (Grammie used to use a wooden yard stick she always had on hand for sewing projects, I used the sides of the Phyllo dough boxes and it worked out great).

** You can see that I trimmed the edges of the phyllo dough to the edges of the pan. Your need to do this will depend on the size of your pan and size of your phyllosheets**

Bake the Baklava at 350* for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cloves from the sugar syrup and immediately pour it evenly over the entire pan. Cool it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Enjoy the nutty, cinnamon, Christmasy treat!

I hope you enjoy sharing this Christmas Baklava with your family as much as my Grammie did.

I unfortunately don’t have any photos of me and my Grammiebaking together but I do have these Christmas photos. One is of her and her Christmas Tree, which wasn’t complete without a crazy amount of tinsel, and one of my parents and me in front of her tree (I’m wearing one of the many dresses she made for me).


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