This is self-indulgent.  This is succulent.  This is sinful.  This is Baklava.
The pure pleasure of placing a bite of baklava in your mouth cannot be surpassed by any other dessert.  The nuts, the honey, and the butter play on your tongue like kids at the waterpark.  I was in my 30’s before I ever tasted this scrumptiousness.  My friend’s husband had made it for our book club meeting, and it surpassed the wine and the book for the sensation of the night.  I didn’t get his recipe but I did research until I found this present recipe and it is just as good as I remember.  Some find making baklava tedious, but I enjoy it, and find it soothing painting all those thin layers of dough with butter.  But that is just me!  hahaha  However, I know you will not regret making this recipe. ;)
Ingredients (Pastry)
1 lb shelled walnuts
1 lb sliced almonds
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 lb butter, melted
1 lb phyllo pastry sheets
Finely chop the nuts in a food processor. 


Transfer nuts to a bowl and mix in brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and cloves.
Brush a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with melted butter and set aside. Unroll phyllo dough and cut it to fit the bottom of your pan.  Keep the pastry covered with a damp, not wet, towel as you work to prevent dying out.
To build the baklava, you will alternate 3 layers of dough with 2 layers of nuts. 
Start with a stable base of 10 sheets of dough on the bottom brushing each sheet with melted butter. 


Spread ½ the nut mixture evenly over the buttered sheets. 
Then add another layer of 10 sheets brushing each one with butter over the nuts. 

Spread the rest of the nut mixture over the buttered sheets and stack the final 10 sheets of phyllo dough brushing each sheet with butter.
If you have time, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the butter will set and make the baklava easier to cut. 
Using a sharp knife, make 5 cuts across lengthwise, then cut diagonally to form diamonds.

Bake for 40 minutes until golden and flaky.
Orange Scented Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
½ cup orange blossom honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ lemon, juiced
2 large strips orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
To make syrup: combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
Reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
Remove the orange peel, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves; set aside to cool.
When the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the syrup evenly over the hot baklava.  Allow to stand for several hours before serving.





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