I love making sweet miniatures and these are sweetious!
There is nothing that makes me feel better on a gloomy day than to get in the kitchen and start baking. We have had a couple of days like that lately that made me want to do just that. I’m off the 21 day diet challenge that I did with my daughter so I actually tasted one of these before taking them to Garden Club last week.
Several years ago I was looking for a cookbook on miniature desserts and came across Flo Braker’s “Sweet Miniatures” and I ordered it from my local library. I always do that with new cookbooks and then I usually just copy out the recipes I want and then return the book. Your library can get any book you request, it may just take a few weeks to receive it from another branch or even state, but you will eventually get it. After flipping through Sweet Miniatures, I knew I needed that book. So I ordered it off the Internet and when it arrived it did not have all the pictures that the library’s hardback version had. So, I got the book back from the library, copied the pictures from each page and taped them into my new book. NOW, I had a book filled with wonderful pictures of baked sweets.
Bakalava, Chocolava, anything made with phyllo dough is fantastic!
I have been making bakalava since the early 70’s and I can’t believe I have never been intimidated by working with phyllo dough. I love making anything with the stuff. I have made little baskets to use as vessels for different appetizers. I have roll it up into roses to use for platter garnishes. It is great to make asparagus cigars (asparagus, wrapped with prosciutto and rolled in phyllo). Spanakopitas, of course, are wonder. I have a delicious recipe for Chicken in Phyllo with a Lemon Veloute Sauce that is outstanding (will post this soon).
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and a sweetened honey/lemon syrup that is poured over the freshly baked baklava. This recipe has chocolate chips mixed in with the nuts and has melted chocolate drizzled over the top.
When we lived in Iowa back in the 70’s, I knew a girl who was Greek and she gave me a recipe for Baklava which I no longer have. But I remember her recipe had a mixture of walnuts, pecans and almonds and also used nutmeg and cloves with the cinnamon. My twin sister shared this chocolava recipe with me years ago. Her recipe uses orange and lemon juice for the drizzle. I made a few changes to her recipe using the extra spices and nuts I mentioned above. Hope you will try this version and it will be come a favorite.
Delicious! If I do say so myself.
Layered sheets of phyllo, nuts, phyllo, it’s just that easy.
This comes together very quickly.
Finished Chocolava after it has been drizzled with honey mixture and chocolate.
- 1 lb. phyllo dough
- 1 lb. nuts mixture of walnuts, almonds, pecans finely chopped
- 1- 6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips finely chopped (or use mini)
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 1/4 c. butter melted
- 3/4 c. orange juice
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1/2 c. water
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 squares 2 oz. semi sweet chocolate
Thaw the phyllo dough according to package directions. Combine the finely chopped nuts and chocolate chips, the 3/4 c. sugar and spices; set aside.
Brush the bottom of a 1/2 sheet pan (15x11x1") with some of the melted butter. Layer 8 sheets of the phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet with a little of the butter. (If your pieces are too wide, just fold over that extra inch -- one time to one side and the next to the opposite side) Sprinkle about 2 cups of the nut mixture over the phyllo in pan. Top with another 4 sheets of the phyllo, brushing each with more of the melted margarine. Sprinkle with 2 more cups of the nut mixture and top with 4 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with butter. Top with the remaining nut mixture and the remaining phyllo sheets. Drizzle remaining butter over top layer. Cut into diamond or triangle shape pieces, cutting to but not through the bottom layer. (About half way through will be good enough). Bake in 325° oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Watch carefully.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice, the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 c. water, honey and lemon juice. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Immediately finish cutting diamonds or triangles. Pour over warm pan of phyllo. Cool completely.
In a small saucepan combine the chocolate squares and 2 tablespoons water, stir over low heat until smooth. Drizzle this over the Chocolava. Makes about 50-60 small pieces.
**Note-- Until you get fast working with phyllo dough you may want to keep it covered with a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.
Ruby Tea Biscuits and our 40th (Ruby) Anniversary
What do Ruby tea biscuits have to do with our anniversary? Well, Ruby is the symbol of the 40th wedding anniversary and that is what we celebrated over the weekend (actual anniversary on 16th).
We met when we were around 15 and I don’t remember where. I do remember going to a baseball game and him throwing a ball over the fence to me. I remember sitting in the bleachers at a football game that he was quarterbacking, waiting for the game to be over so we could go “ride the loop” around town for a few hours.
Life is like a bowl of cherries.
That was the title of a song sung by Ethel Merman in the movie Scandals in 1931. That is way, way before my time (a few years anyway). You have heard the expression give me lemons and I’ll make lemonade. Well, you give me Nutella and fresh cherries and I’m going to make these little Dumplings.
This is the perfect time of the year to buy fresh cherries. And if you don’t have a cherry pitter, you really need one. It makes pitting so much quicker. I love pitting cherries. Can’t tell you why I get pleasure out of that but, as the song says “live and laugh at it all”.
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. I love cherry pie, cherry cobbler, cherry Kool Aid and even Luden’s Cherry Cough Drops. I use to love cherry Tootsie Roll Pops when I was a kid. Couldn’t wait to get to that chocolatety center. (Hum, maybe that is why I like these little dumplings so much.)
These are so simple to make and only take a few minutes of frying and a dust of powdered sugar. I tried making one just by folding it over in a half circle but it wasn’t as pretty. I’m going to freezing these before they are fried to see how they do once they are thawed and fried. — Sherry
Nutella Cherry Dumplings
- 1 jar of Nutella
- Fresh Cherries pitted
- Gyoza Wrappers or wonton wrappers
- Powdered Sugar for dusting
- Oil for deep frying
Take the Gyoza wrapper or won ton wrapper and lay several out on your cutting board. Put about 1- 1 1/2 tsp. of the Nutella in the center and add about 1 1/2 chopped cherries to the center of the Nutella. If you are using the Gyoza wrapper they are round. Moisten the outer edge with a little water. Pull two sides up to meet and seal, now pull the other two sides up and press to make the little rectangular pouches. After you have several made, heat your oil to 350°. Fry the dumplings until golden brown and then drain on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. These would be great with a bowl of cherry or chocolate ice cream.