What is it about traveling that just seems to awaken your taste buds? Everything you come across tastes a million times better than it would at home. I just returned from India and the Middle East. Both places have an avid love for spices. The complexity of their dishes is so much greater than anything found in Western countries. To the American palate, the abundance of flavor can be a little overwhelming at first.
I must say, I fell in absolute love with the different cuisines. The flavors were so intense and vibrant and had a sense of warmth, that is hard to find anywhere else. One thing I frequently came across (especially in Dubai) was Baklava. I have always been fan of it, in all of its variations. I was lucky enough to have some authentic Baklava in Turkey, a few years back. It definitely topped the charts of the best things I have ever eaten.
Different types of Baklava for sale at a restaurant in Dubai, UAE.
That’s a lot of Baklava!
I was hit by the same Baklava cravings, upon returning home. Since I have been severely jet-lagged, I knew I needed the easiest recipe I could find. I remembered an old recipe that had been filed as one of my all time favorites. I found this recipe several years ago, and I have been enjoying it ever since. These baklava bars are a much easier take on the Greek dessert. They have a sugar cookie base. Chopped nuts, sugar, and cinnamon are layered on top. Phyllo dough is crumbled and scattered on the second layer. Finally, a honey glazed is poured over the bars, which are then allowed to soak for a couple of hours. These bars unbelievable! They are super easy to make and can be served at any occasion. You can use pretty much any type of nut, while I prefer pistachios for their floral quality. If you are looking for a great alternative to the time-consuming dessert, then you have found it!
cooking spray.Stir together sugar cookie mix, 1/2 cup softened butter, lemon zest (or juice), and egg
Press dough into the bottom the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine nuts, granulated sugar, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 softened butter.
Sprinkle nut mixture over the partially baked cookie layer.
crumble phyllo dough over the bars. (It may help to let your dough sit out for a few minutes to harden a little) Bake for 18-20 min, until golden.
Meanwhile combine 2 tbsp butter, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, brown sugar, 1/3 cup honey, and lemon juice. Microwave on high for 1 minute, add vanilla.
Drizzle glaze over freshly baked bars. Allow bars to soak, for at least two hours. When serving drizzle additional honey over each bar.