Eid Eats 2017: Baklava Biscotti

You guys, my favorite day of the blogging year is here- Eid Eats 2017 is officially live! Ramadan is rounding out, and I love that us food bloggers band together to celebrate the blessed month! I, along with my cohost, Asiya of Chocolate and Chillies, are excited to see the yummies that are being brought to the party 😉

The party is live from now until June 24, so you’ve got some time to get in on the fun (the guidelines can be found here).

By the Grace of God, Eid Eats is in its 4th installment (2014, 2015, and 2016), and this year we have some fun in store for you all, but more on that later 😉

Click on this graphic to submit your entry for #EidEats2017. You can also click on it to check out all of the delicious bites our participants are sharing.

This year I’ve decided to attend this party in my finest attire, bearing Baklava Biscotti! I was inspired by a recipe shared by the genius blogger behind Brewing Bliss. I used a mish-mash of recipes, including the topping from Brewing Bliss, and the base of the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The resulting biscotti is a treat for the senses! It’s nutty, chocolatey, not tooth-breaking-hard, and downright irresistible! The end product results in a decent-sized batch (and is a great make-ahead item!), perfect for your Eid entertaining needs 🙂

(Check out what my co-host Asiya has contributed here! Looks amazing!)

Baklava Biscotti

Yield: 15 – 20 Pieces

Ingredients:

For Biscotti:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk

For Topping:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Make Biscotti:

Preheat oven to 300°F and set aside two parchment paper lined baking sheets.

Spread almonds evenly over one baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice during that time. Remove from oven and pulse the almonds in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Fold in the almonds and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough gently until soft and slightly sticky.   If the dough is too sticky to handle, knead 1 or 2 more tablespoons all-purpose flour into the dough.

Divide the dough in two. Place each half on a baking sheet. Using floured hands, gently shape each piece into a 8 or 9-inch log, patting down to ½-inch thickness. Lightly brush the slabs of dough with prepared egg wash.

Bake until the top and sides are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Cut each slab into 1-inch slices. Set the slices cut-side upwards, ¼-inch apart, on the baking sheets. Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes. Flip each biscotti over and bake for an additional 9 minutes. The centers of each biscotti will be slightly soft, but will crisp up after cooling. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Topping:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a small bowl. Add honey and butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl in the microwave or double broiler until smooth.

Dip the top of each slice of biscotti in melted chocolate, and then top with nuts. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet or cooling rack to allow the topping to set.

***

This biscotti pairs very well with a cup of piping hot tea- which brings me to the question: How does tea play a roll in you and your family’s Eid festivities? For my family, tea is a must! No celebration, especially Eid, is complete without trays of piping hot chai being passed around and enjoyed. Chai is the icing on the cake, so to speak, after a day of celebrating.

Speaking of chai, Tea India teabags are an excellent choice to quench your tea needs. They use only top notch ingredients and recognize the importance of quality packaging. Also, did you know that Tea India teabags come in four unique flavors, so there’s something to suit everyones taste? They include: orange pekoe black tea, masala chai, cardamom chai, and ginger chai.

Now, the fun part that I mentioned a little bit earlier- Tea India has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway in honor of Eid! The winner of the giveaway will be sent a Tea India prize pack which includes a box of Cardamom Chai, Ginger Chai, and Masala Chai. Also included in the price pack is a set of coasters made from recycled Tea India teabags handcrafted by a group of South African women from a local township.

Here are the terms and conditions:

Giveaway runs from 12:00 a.m., June 20, 2017 through 12:00 a.m., June 25, 2017.

Open to Residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) aged 18+ only. Winner will be randomly picked and emailed and will have 48 hours to respond. If they fail to do so another winner will be picked. Entrants can enter on multiple blogs but can only win one prize. Blogger is not responsible for delivery of prize. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook or Twitter.

Be sure to enter through the link below (you can enter through Chocolate & Chillies too!)

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

*This post is sponsored by Tea India and I have been compensated for it.*

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Honey Pecan Granola

I was never a fan of granola growing up. Over time, however, my tastes have evolved, and now I’m a big fan (probably has something to do with my love for all things crunchy). I love snacking on it parfait-style, sandwiched between layers of creamy Greek yogurt and sweet and juicy strawberries. It makes a great snack and breakfast, and it is SO easy to prepare!

(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

HoneyPecanGranolaPic

 

Honey Pecan Granola

Yield: 4 ½ Cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, and salt and mix well. Set aside.

Combine butter and honey in a saucepan and warm over medium-high heat, until the mixture attains a runny consistency. Pour the butter and honey mixture over the oat mixture and mix well, making sure that it is evenly coated. Transfer oats to the baking sheet, spread in an even layer, and bake until lightly golden, about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Allow granola to cool completely on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate and Almond Granola

Several weeks ago Asiya, a fellow blogger-turned-friend, posted a recipe for homemade granola.  Granola was something I always bought at the grocery store, and it just seemed to be so intimidating to make at home.  Just a quick look at the ingredients in her recipe, and I was ready to give it a shot at home.  Although I made a few changes based on what I had on hand, the granola was phenomenal!  My parents tried it when they were visiting and were impressed by my skills (LOL!), so I made them a stash to take back.

The recipe is very versatile and ingredients can be easily substituted per desired preferences.  It keeps well in an airtight container, and is amazing at breakfast with milk 🙂

 

ChocolateAndAlmondGranolaPic

 

Chocolate and Almond Granola 

Yield:  4 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300˚F and set aside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Combine oats, almonds, quinoa, and sugar and mix well.  Set aside.

Combine oil and honey in a saucepan over medium high heat and warm until the mixture has a runny consistency.  Pour oil/honey over oat mixture and mix well, making sure everything has been coated.

Transfer oats to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring mixture

halfway through.  Cool completely before adding chocolate chips.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Zuni’s 2nd Birthday / Baklava

Last week my blog-baby turned one, and this week my real baby turned 2!

To celebrate the occasion, my parents flew in from California and we hosted a birthday bash that included both sets of grandparents, close friends, and plenty of food.  Our menu included:

Appetizers- Chips and Salsa, Chicken Spring Rolls, and Channa Chaat

Main Meal- Chicken Biryani, Karhai Chicken, Aloo Palak (Potato and Spinach Curry), and Vegetable Pasta

Desserts- Gulab Jamun, Cake, and Baklava

With such an intensive menu, I wanted to start preparing in advance.  I didn’t want to stand around in my kitchen all day when my parents were visiting from so far, so preparing as much as I could before they arrived was the smartest thing to do.  I prepped the vegetables that were to be cooked a day before I cooked them, and I was even able to make the Baklava almost 5 days before the party!  I had found a recipe at Maureen’s website (love her site!) for Baklava that can keep well at room temperature for 2 whole weeks! 2 weeks people!  That’s perfect party-prep language!

Baklava has been on my to-do list for quite some time, and adding the fact that it stays so well at room temperature only fueled my desire to make it for Zuni’s birthday party.  Although it may seem intimidating, Baklava is actually pretty simply to make.  Maureen’s recipe provides a way to skip the usual buttering of each phyllo sheet, and instead pour the butter over the entire sheet of Baklava.  The end result tastes the same as if each sheet had been buttered separately.  Hey, it keeps well for long amounts of time, and it has shortcuts?  I’m in, and you will be too 🙂

BaklavaPic

Baklava

Yield: One 9”x13” Pan

Ingredients:

For Syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water

For Clarified Butter:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

For Baklava Layers:

  • 1 pound phyllo dough, at room temperature
  • 3 cups nuts, toasted (walnuts, almonds, cashews, and/or pistachios)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions:

Make Syrup:

Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan and boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add orange blossom water, and refrigerate.

Make Clarified Butter:

Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat until completely melted.  Allow the melted butter to simmer and foam.  When the foaming subsides, remove from heat and skim the foam off with a spoon.  Line a jar or bowl with a paper towel and pour the butter into the vessel.  The paper towel will separate the excess solids.  Set aside.

Assemble Baklava:

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Grind nuts in a food processor into a coarse crumb.  Add sugar, mix, and set aside.

Brush the bottom and sides of pan with clarified butter.

Trim the phyllo dough to fit a 9”x13” pan.  Divide the dough in half (about 20 sheets) and place at the bottom of the pan.  Spread ground nuts over the dough evenly.  Place the remaining phyllo dough on top of the nuts, making sure that the top sheet is not torn.  A sheet from the center of the layer can be used if the top is torn.  Brush the top layer with clarified butter.

Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamonds by cutting six rows horizontally, and nine rows diagonally.

Pour the remaining melted clarified butter over the baklava and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.  Bake, on the shelf second from the top, for 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and immediately pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava.  Allow it to soak overnight.

Note:  Baklava can be kept at room temperature for two weeks.