Monday, September 8, 2008

Oh my stars, Baklava Bars!

I've discovered that the only time I'm really able to bake now that I have Andrew is after he's gone to bed in the evenings. He goes to sleep at 7:30, so I still have plenty of time, but baking at night has been an adjustment. I guess the plus side is that now I get to go to sleep with the smell of delicious baked goods permeating my senses!

Baklava is my favorite dessert EVER. When I was younger, my mom dated a man whose mother made baklava all the time, and she always sent some over with him. When he and my mom broke up, I was more upset about losing my baklava hookup than anything else!

When this recipe was sent to me in my weekly Betty Crocker e-mail, I knew I had to make these bars right away. And they did not disappoint. They have all the flavor of a piece of baklava, but they're not nearly as tedious to put together as the traditional dessert. They are very, very rich and super-sticky, just like good baklava should be. Joe and I both really enjoyed these; Joe's only complaint was that the fillo shells cut the roof of his mouth. I didn't have that problem, but that could be because I was too busy enjoying the flavor and stuffing my face!

Baklava Bars
Source: Betty Crocker

Cookie base:
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 frozen mini fillo shells

1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350°. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir walnuts, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt with fork until mixture is well mixed and crumbly.

4. Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over partially baked base. With hands, crumble frozen fillo shells evenly over nut mixture. Bake 18 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown.

5. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon uncovered on High 1 minute or until bubbly. Stir in vanilla.

6. Drizzle honey mixture evenly over fillo. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

7. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Before serving, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each bar. Store covered at room temperature.

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