Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I’ve always enjoyed baklava, but it never really crossed my mind to make any, until I found Cinnamon M&M’s. Cinnamon and chocolate make one heck of a combination, so I wanted to bake something different with them instead of a cookie or brownie. Ta da! M&M’s Baklava! It’s a little unusual and I’ve never had chocolate in baklava, but there’s a first time for everything right?
So, how’s it taste?
I can’t decide if I like it or not. The M&M’s aren’t the problem, the chocolate is pretty fantastic in the baklava, but the cardamom has me scratching my head. I like cardamom, or at least I think I do. It’s a bit perfume-y and floral, but I don’t dislike it. However, some times I taste it and it reminds me of how cleaning products smell. It’s definitely an exotic spice and it’s really prominent in this baklava. You can’t taste the cinnamon in the M&M’s at all. I didn’t bring any to work because I was afraid the masses wouldn’t like it. I’d eat one piece and love it and then eat another and find the cardamom too strong.
I’m kicking myself for not using cinnamon instead, especially since a jar of cardamom set me back over $9 bucks. I should’ve gone to Whole Foods and only bought what I needed. I think this recipe would be KILLER with less cardamom and adding cinnamon. Either doing 1/2 and 1/2, leaving out the cardamom and replacing with cinnamon, or just reducing the cardamom. I have more phyllo pastry sheets leftover, so I really want to make it again using the cinnamon.
Other than the cardamom, the baklava is really good. Easier to make than I thought and I love that crispy crunch with the gooey syrup. You could use all pistachios if you like, but I added almonds because pistachios are more expensive. Just use a total of 3 cups of nuts of whatever you prefer.
It keeps really well at room temperature, too. It’s been four days since I made these and the baklava is still crunchy.
Update: My mom took these to her work and they really enjoyed them. I think I was too hard on the cardamom or maybe I’m just not a fan of it. Going by their reaction, you need to make this baklava!
1 cup light corn syrup, divided
1 tbsp. ground cardamom and/or cinnamon, divided
1 cup ground pistachios
2 cups ground almonds
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 lb. phyllo pastry, defrosted
1 cup Cinnamon or Plain M&M’s Chocolate Candies, crushed*
*Place M&M's in a plastic bag and seal. Crush M&M's using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or a rubber mallet.
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1/2 tbsp. cardamom and/or cinnamon in a bowl. Mix the other 1/2 corn syrup and 1/2 tbsp. cardamom and/or cinnamon in a second bowl.
2. Combine pistachios, almonds, and confectioners' sugar with syrup mixture in one bowl. Set both bowls aside.
3. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer two sheets of phyllo pastry and brush with melted butter. Continue until you have six sheets. Make sure to leave unused phyllo pastry covered by damp towels so it doesn't dry out while you're working.
4. Spread half of nut mixture over layered phyllo pastry. Firmly press into an even layer.
5. Layer another two sheets of phyllo pastry and brush with melted butter. Continue until you have six sheets, covering nuts completely.
6. Sprinkle M&M’s and remaining nut mixture over pastry dough, pressing firmly into a layer. Top with two sheets of phyllo pastry and brush with melted butter. Continue until you have six sheets.
7. Cut baklava into small squares or diamond shapes.
8. Bake for 20 minutes at 325°F. Increase the heat to 400°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until pastry is slighty golden and puffed.
9. Remove from the oven and drizzle remaining syrup-spice mixture over the top. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and transfer to a plate. Store in a covered container at room temperature.