baklava, Chocolate

Chocolate Baklava

Easy Chocolate Baklava

This week’s bake is inspired by my cousin Erin. We recently met through one of those DNA tests, 23 and me. Her mom and my mom grew up together and lost contact years ago, but through the magic of technology and science, she and I connected.We immediately hit it off and have quickly become great friends. Because I was so inspired by my new cousin who feels like an old friend, this week we’re adding a new take on an old favorite, Chocolate Baklava!

Baklava is one of my favorite bakes to make and since I was making this batch for Erin (who just had twin boys!) I knew I wanted it to be an amazing treat this new momma would love. This recipe is just as easy as my original Baklava recipe with a little added Nutella that gives it a new delicious flavor. Below is the recipe along with my tips and tricks and don’ts that I did. (side note, my baklava connoisseur loved this one too) Enjoy!

Ingredients for Honey Sauce

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

1 and 1/2 cups of honey

2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Directions for Honey Sauce

Add water and sugar to medium-sized pot and bring to a boil.

Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.

Turn heat down to medium and add honey slowly while stirring.

Add vanilla extract and cinnamon

Continue to simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Ingredients for Nut Mixture

6 ounces of finely chopped walnuts

6 ounces of finely chopped pistachios

6 ounces of finely chopped pecans

6 ounces of finely chopped hazelnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon sugar

Directions for Baklava

1 package (16 ounces) of filo dough

1/2 cup of Nutella (melted in the microwave for 25-30 seconds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add chopped nuts, cinnamon, and sugar to a bowl, mix, and set aside.

Melt butter in microwave.

Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on to a 9×13 in baking dish.

Add one sheet of filo and brush dough with a thin layer of butter. Repeat this step until you have layered 10 sheets of filo.

Brush Nutella on top of filo after the butter.

Add 3/4 cup of the nut mixture to the pan of filo.

Add five sheets of filo to the pan buttering in between each layer of dough.

Repeat the two steps above 3 more times.

Add 10 sheets of filo, buttering in between each layer and butter the top.

Here’s a breakdown of the order for the Baklava

  • 10 buttered sheets of filo, Nutella, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, Nutella, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, Nutella, 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, Nutella 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 5 buttered sheets of filo, Nutella 3/4 cup nut mixture
  • 10 buttered sheets of filo, butter top of pastry

Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry into squares and then the squares into triangles.

Bake baklava for 50 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on top.

Remove from the oven and immediately pour the sauce over the entire pan.

Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the top of the baklava.

Let sit and cool for a few hours before serving.

Chocolate Baklava

Tips and Tricks and a few Don’ts that I did

Make your honey sauce before you start building your baklava, giving it enough time to cool before adding it to the bake.

Don’t worry if your sauce is a little runny. It will thicken as it cools.

Filo dough is very very fragile. I recommend covering the dough with damp paper towels in between uses. Don’t worry if some of the filo tears during layering. You won’t be able to see it when the bake is complete.

Keep your butter hot. I melted mine in a microwavable safe bowl, boiled some water, and set the bowl in the hot water while I put together my baklava.

Be careful not to overheat your Nutella. You only need to heat enough to make it spreadable so can be brushed on the filo without tearing it. About 25-30 seconds is plenty.

When cutting the pastry, try not to cut the bottom few layers. This will help hold the sauce and allow it to soak more into the pastry.

Make sure you listen for the crackle when pouring the sauce over the Baklava. The crackle lets you know you’ve made a perfect baklava!

This bake is best after it sits for at least 3 hours and even better the next day. This gives the pastry enough time to absorb the sauce. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

Baklava can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and enjoyed later, but it’s best served at room temperature within a few days.

Delicious Chocolate Baklava
Mousse

Simple Mousse Recipe

For Christmas this year I gifted myself a new mixer and thought making a mousse would be a perfect way to test it out. So for my first bake and blog of the New Year I made one of my favorites, a Chocolate Mousse Pie.

This was the first time I did a blind bake with my crust too so I wanted to make sure I got the crust perfectly flaky and absolutely did not want a soggy bottom. This meant I needed to do my research and lots of it. I spent a few hours online reading various recipes and reviews about the perfect way to blind bake a pie crust. There is a ton of information out there about the best options, from pie weights to uncooked rice and beans and more in between. Ultimately I decided to go with sugar because I had sugar on hand and it had great reviews from fellow bakers.

Below is the recipe for the chocolate mousse, the crust, the blind bake and how to put it all together for a delicious light and fluffy New Year Treat. I’ve also included my tips and tricks and don’ts that I did at the end.

Ingredients for Single Pie Crust

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter

1 and 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

4 tablespoons 2% milk

Directions for Pie Crust

In a small bowl combine the flour and salt.

Cut in butter with fork until the mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle mixture with vinegar.

Gradually add milk tossing with a fork until a ball is formed.

Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes until easy to handle.

Blind Baking Your Crust

Once the dough is chilled, roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to fit 9 inch pie plate.

Crimp edges a little taller than the pie plate so there is less room to shrink.

Line crust with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Freeze crust for at least an hour.

Once the crust has had time to freeze, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fill pie to the top with granulated sugar.

Bake for 60-75 minutes.

Remove pie crust from oven.

Remove sugar and store sugar for later use.

Let crust cool and prepare mousse.

Ingredients for Mousse

4 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons of sugar

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for Mousse

With stand mixer beat 3 cups of heavy cream and sugar to stiff peaks (about 6-8 minutes) refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of heavy cream, chocolate chips and vanilla.

Place over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning the chocolate.

Once the chocolate has melted (about 2-3 minutes) remove from heat and let cool.

When chocolate has cooled, gently fold it into 2 thirds of the whipped cream until completely incorporated

Putting It All Together

Pour mousse into prepared crust.

Refrigerate for 8 hours or freeze for 4

Top with remaining whipped cream and serve.

Tips and Tricks and a Few Don’ts That I did

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty when making the crust. I found that in order to cut in the butter to the flour my hands worked better than the fork.

That being said be careful not to handle the dough too much. Overworking the dough will cause it to become tough and not tender and flaky. The key to a good pie crust is cold butter.

One mousse recipe I tried said to add salt to the semi sweet chocolate. Whatever you do, DO NOT add salt to semi sweet chocolate. That type of chocolate has a saltiness to it already and adding more salt made it inedible. It was AWFUL. I ended up throwing out the entire thing and starting over minus the salt. It turned much much better.

I’ve given this tip before, but it’s worth repeating. Do not stop stirring your chocolate. It melts and burns really fast. I use a rubber spatula to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. It works great and so far I haven’t burned a batch of chocolate. **knock on wood**

A stand mixer is awesome to achieve quick peaks, but it isn’t necessary. I’ve made whipped cream with a hand mixer and it turned out just as great.

Freeze or refrigerate your pie, but make sure it’s served cold. I froze mine to share later this week. If you freeze it just be sure to take it out of the freezer at least 30 minutes prior to serving so the crust has time to thaw a little.

Enjoy and Have a Very Happy New Year!!!