Monday, January 10, 2011
Around the holiday season, I like to trot out my family's traditional recipes -- food of either Greek or Polish origin. One of the recipes that makes an annual appearance every year is baklava, a traditional confection made with nuts, honey and phyllo dough. Although I make it every year, by and large, baklava is a pain for the occasional baker because the phyllo dough can be a challenge if you aren't used to working with it.
So when I saw this recipe for "Baklava Bars" on the Betty Crocker site, I was instantly intrigued. It called for a sugar cookie base, a layer of nuts, crumbled phyllo, and a sweet syrup drizzled on the top. Needless to say, I was anxious to see how this would measure up to traditional baklava. So I decided to modify it a bit according to my family's usual recipe, and check it out. And might I say, if you like baklava, but have always been intimidated by the phyllo, or even if you are Greek or Middle Eastern and looking for a quick way to get that baklava taste without spending a ton of time, then this recipe is for you. I modified the original recipe to use the filling and syrup that I like best, which I think will be tasty to most people, but if you are already a baklava maker, you could easily substitute the filling and syrup you normally use. The only adjustment I would make would be to omit water from your usual syrup, to keep it a little thicker and avoid drenching the bars. Use less of it than you would normally use, since your syrup-sans-water will now be thicker and sweeter than normal.