Chocolate Baklava

I’ve always thought of myself as a baklava connoisseur. That is until I went to Istanbul this spring and had my mind effectively blown away by all the incredible baklava I had during my trip. One of the most memorable delights of Istanbul was an incredibly delicious chocolate baklava I tasted at the spice souk.

This genius variation on traditional baklava had actually been circling around in my mind for a while, and after I got home from Istanbul it was the only thing I could think about. Now I can safely say that there is no turning back, this is my absolute favorite dessert.

Crispy filo dough stuffed with roasted pistachios, rich almond butter and deeply flavorful dark chocolate. How could it get any better? I’ll tell you: the whole thing is drowned in chocolate syrup and finished off with chopped pistachios and white chocolate. I’m literally drooling right now and I’m not even ashamed to say it.

Ingredients:

450g (1 pound) of filo dough

300g (3 sticks) of butter, melted

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup almond butter

75g (2.5 ounces) dark chocolate

1 cup roasted pistachios, crushed

chocolate syrup:

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon clove

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

How to:

Cut the filo dough to approximately the size of the pan you want to use for the baklava. Filo dough dries up very fast after the package has been opened, so you will want to cover it with a slightly moist cloth.

Mix the cocoa powder into the melted butter and smear some of the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Set one filo sheet on the bottom and slather graciously with the butter-cocoa mixture. Repeat until you have used approximately half of the filo dough.

Melt the dark chocolate carefully in the microwave, mixing it every now and then. Mix together with the almond butter. If you want to take a short cut, go ahead and use Nutella instead.

Spread half of the chocolate-almond butter mixture on top of the filo sheets. Cover with three individually butter-slathered filo sheets, spread the crused pistachios on top, cover with another three individually butter-slathered filo sheets and spread the rest of the chocolate-almond butter. Continue adding and slathering filo sheets until you’ve used up all the dough. Don’t worry if the dough crinkles or rips, that’ll only make the baklava crunchier and tastier!

Cut with a sharp knife into the shape and size you’ll want your baklava to be and bake in 180°C / 350°F for 35 minutes, until the baklava has browned a bit on the top and edges.

Prepare the cocoa syrup while the baklava is baking – mix all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 8 minutes, whisking the mixture constantly, until it turns thicker. Let cool slightly and pour onto the hot baklava straight out of the oven. Let the baklava cool for a few hours or overnight before tucking in to the best dessert you’ll ever have!

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