Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Baklava

I've seen different flavors of baklava, but it's usually the choice of nuts or syrup that differentiates them. I got to thinking that the baklava I usually make (walnut/cinnamon with honey) is similar to rugelach (the flavors, that is). And rugelach is often made with chocolate, so how come I've never seen chocolate baklava? (A real head scratcher.) So I made some. And it was good as it sounds. Another mystery solved. I'm a regular Jessica Fletcher (although if I keep eating this stuff, I'll be more of a Frank Cannon).

Yield: 24 (or 48 minis)

12 oz. bitter- or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated (or mini choc. chips)
12 oz. (3 cups) pecans, finely chopped
8 oz. filo (phyllo) dough, defrosted
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (or more if needed)
16 oz. (2 cups) brown rice syrup (can substitute Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons amaretto (or other complimentary liqueur)

1.      Stir together the chocolate and pecans in a medium bowl and set aside.
2.      Preheat oven to 300° F.  Brush a 13” x 9” baking dish with melted butter.
3.      Cut the filo into 13” x 9” rectangles (if it didn’t already come that size). In baking dish, place 1 sheet of filo; brush with butter.  Repeat 5 more times to make 6 layers of filo altogether (brushing each layer with butter).  Spread half of the chocolate/pecans over the filo.
4.      Layer 6 more sheets of filo over chocolate/pecans (brushing each sheet with butter).  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate/pecans. Repeat with 6 final layers of filo (brush top layer with butter too).
5.      Using a sharp knife, cut just halfway through layers in a triangle pattern to make 24 servings (cut lengthwise into 3 strips; cut each strip crosswise into 4 rectangles; then cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles).  For minis: cut each triangle in half again to make smaller triangles.
6.      Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes (or until top is golden brown).
7.      About 5 minutes before the baklava is ready, heat the brown rice syrup and salt until the consistency is thin and pourable. Remove from heat, stir in the amaretto.
8.      Spoon the hot syrup evenly over hot baklava. Cool in pan on wire rack for at least 1 hour, then cover with foil and let stand at room temperature.
9.      Finish cutting through layers with a sharp knife before serving.

chocolate and pecans
(I used ghirardelli mini chocolate chips)

Notice the little hand up top, sneaking some chocolate (it's
not easy baking with a 7-year-old chocolate freak around).
paper thin filo dough
brushing filo with butter
sprinkling on the chocolate/pecans
first layer of chocolate/pecans
brushing the next group of filo layers with butter
remaining chocolate/pecans
last layer of filo (already brushed with butter)
cutting halfway through (I like to
use a small serrated knife for this job)
cut into "normal" size baklava
cut into mini size (I like the mini size better)
brown rice syrup
baked baklava
spooning the syrup mixture over the hot baklava
one tray of chocolate pecan baklava
one piece of chocolate pecan baklava

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