recipes Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with a Nutella Cookie Bottom, and Salted Pepitas, for SRC

October 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Holiday, SRC | 51 Comments
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I have never made any kind of chocolate bark.  No idea’s one of simplest treats you can cobble together in no time, and the add-in possibilities are endless.  I’ve also never met or known a guy named Nigel who isn’t British, but that’s beside the point.  There have been a lot of  nevers in my life.  We all have a lot of nevers in our lives and some of them should stay nevers, but chocolate bark isn’t one of that should stay a never, for most.

Well..I just crossed the chocolate bark never off my list.  BUT, this did not come about until I made a no-bake cookie by my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment..Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic.  I love her blog..I loved all the goodies I could choose from..I loved her no-bake Nutella cookies, which I chose after mulling over many goodies.

There are these Caramel Coconut Bars and these luscious looking meatballs..not to mention her array of other no-bake treats, (I was feeling the no-bake this month) but the two former choices were guest posts, so even if she made their recipes, I figured I would stick with something that was 100% hers or something she adapted or decided on herself.

Continue Reading Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with a Nutella Cookie Bottom, and Salted Pepitas, for SRC…

Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza

September 30, 2012 at 7:04 am | Posted in Appetizers, Breads, Middle Eastern, Twelve Loaves, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting | 51 Comments
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So..I’m making cheese, goat cheese – chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.

So, it’s a ‘palooza’, but not a Lala – a cheese ‘palooza’, rather.

Can you dig?

So, no, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be performing, but they will be making an appearance inside of my cheese!

I’ve made cheese from scratch before..Ricotta and Macarpone.  I’ve also made Paneer, but I didn’t blog it, so I do have some cheese making’ experience under my too tight belt. However, all three were made with cow’s milk.

Continue Reading Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza…

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Pan Applesauce

February 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Gluten Free, Pork, Vegetables | 47 Comments
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Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone! I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night.  Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th.  Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.

For this month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, we were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns.  I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine.  It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.

Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top.  We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.

I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart ??).  For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter chunky applesauce to top it, which was absolutely wonderful.

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

With all that said, you have got to try my quick brown butter pan apple sauce, whether or not you make the rosti.  It came to me on a whim and I nailed it in one shot, which isn’t usually the case, so I’m a proud mama..sort of.

Potato Rosti Napoleon?  I sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes, then topped it with a quick pan brown butter apple sauce. A glorious tasting mess!

If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.  For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston.  The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.

Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 large potato rostis
  • 2½ lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
  • 1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
  • 7 oz wheel of Brie or any other good melting cheese you like. Great with cheddar!
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons oil, for frying
  1. Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it's a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.
  2. Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off). Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.
  3. Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal. Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.
  4. Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.
  5. Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best, 8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.
  6. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.
  7. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.

Quick and Easy Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick - 4 tablespoons - 2 oz)
  • 4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples - peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
  • ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 good pinch kosher salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice (taste to see if it needs it)
  1. In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the the milk solids rise to the top and the liquid beneath the solids is light golden brown.
  2. Add the chopped apples to the browned butter and saute until the apples start to soften. Sprinkle on the sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar, stirring until the apples are completely caramelized and soft Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla bean or extract, and kosher salt.
  3. Pour the apple mixture into a bowl, scraping out all the caramel goodness left in the pan. Mash with a fork for chunky apple sauce, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce. Squeeze in some lemon juice to taste, if needed. When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge - it should last about 2 weeks, or immediately serve warm over potato rosti.
Add other spices, like nutmeg, allspice or even a pinch of cayenne, if you like. It's your apple sauce - play with the flavor!

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I Found My Thrill……With Coconut and Lime Plus the Winner of the Custom T-shirt Giveaway and another Giveaway!

July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Puddings | 158 Comments
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First off..Happy 4th of July to all in the USA, and Happy July 4th to everyone outside the USA!  I’ve got the blue and the white (well..yellowish) but not the red.  No matter, this dessert is pretty awesome, red, white and blue. or not.

So what do you do when you ask someone to pick you up blackberries, and instead they bring you blueberries?  Nothing, because summer berries are so interchangeable..and all will taste great in whatever recipe that called for one berry in particular.  Just my luck, about 5 minutes after receiving these blueberries, a tweet from Mark Bittman scrolled past.  Blueberry Pudding Cake.  I clicked on the link, then ditched my plan for a coconut blueberry custard pie.  I could essentially have all the components of my pie in this easy, quick, one batter cake.

I’ve made plenty of chocolate pudding, aka hot fudge, cakes in my day, and who hasn’t?  It’s one of the simplest cakes you could quick batter in a square pan, pour boiling water on top, and voilà, chocolate cake with a fudgy pudding/custard saucy deal underneath.  When rushed for a dessert, or a sudden bout of PMS chocolate craving, it was always a win-win situation, and it only took about 30 minutes from mixing bowl to table.  Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is simple, but it involves eggs and the separating of eggs.  I don’t know why, but when I see a recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites, which are then folded in, I cringe a little.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but when I’m in a ‘simple recipe’ mindset, it’s kind of like someone telling me the elevator is out-of-order and I need to take the stairs…the number of flights depending on the number of eggs.

Sometimes I’m a rebel – and just crack the amount of whole eggs in as is.

Sometimes the issue is forced when there’s a lopsided amount of yolks to whites. I’m going to have leftover yolks or whites.  I’ll have to scour the net to find something to do with them outside of meringues, macarons and crème brûlée.  I’m not an egg white omelet person.  I like my omelets yellow.

In any event, I obeyed the recipe, and the results were worth it.  Of course, I made a few revisions to said recipe. As my usual mantra goes, I can’t leave most recipes alone..I always feel some could be better, or more to my liking.  I’m a futzer, a fiddler (a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker..sorry, had to) and I just can’t stop.  It’s a common thing in cooking, but baking not as much because baking is a SCIENCE and any little sway from the formula can completely change or destroy it.

My changes didn’t destroy it.  All I did was add some extra flavor, coconut and lime.  Kelapo Coconut sent me a sample of their coconut oil, so I used that instead of the melted butter, and I used lime zest in lieu of the lemon zest listed in the recipe.  Small changes, no big whoop, right?  Well..I felt it needed more coconut flavor, so I toasted some coconut and ground it with the sugar in the recipe.  Then, instead of plain buttermilk, I made coconut buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of  lime juice to the coconut milk.  The end result was perfect – plump, juicy blueberries floating in a sea of custard with a light, fluffy, slightly crisp, cake topping..a subtle background of coconut and the perfect hint of lime to cut the richness.

This is all great and good, but for the most part, you can’t tell that there’s coconut and lime in this cake pudding via the photos because I only had one lime and a bit of shredded coconut for the recipe.  When it came time for photos, I had nothing to top it with that said..’There is lime and coconut in this pudding cake!’.

Another reason I’m a bad food blogger.

I don’t think of these things until the last-minute, when it’s already too late.  As far as all of you can see, it’s just a blueberry pudding cake.  I suppose I could type ..’with coconut and lime’ under every photo, but I’m not that obsessive a person..I think…I hope.

Magic Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 8 x8 square pudding cake
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, with my revisions. For the original recipe minus coconut and lime - click HERE. About 6 servings, but I prefer 4 big ones Total Time: About 1¼ hours, plus time to cool
  • 4 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, melted, plus more for greasing dish
  • 1 cup coconut milk minus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
  • 3 /4 cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted (sweetened or unsweetened, entirely up to you)
  • 3 eggs, separated, plus one extra white (extra white not necessary, but I like adding it for more fluff)
  • 1 /3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  1. Combine the coconut milk with the cider vinegar or lime juice..let it curdle. Grind ½ cup of the sugar and toasted coconut together in a food processor or blender. Set both aside. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- inch square ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with Kelapo coconut oil.
  2. Put the coconut oil, coconut buttermilk, the ½ cup of coconut sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the blueberries and lime zest and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the whites into the batter, gently but thoroughly.
  5. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Now, the GIVEAWAY.  Part one is a yummy one. Jen from Kelapo Coconut contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would like a sample jar of their virgin coconut oil to try.  Of course it was an affirmative, I love trying new things.  However, I thought it would be cool if she could also provide an extra jar to give away to my readers.  Affirmative again.  SO, when the winner is announced, Jen will personally ship a 15 oz jar of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil to that winner.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

I admit, at first I was iffy on coconut oil..I heard a buzz here and there that it was bad for us.  Apparently, new studies have reversed that charge and now they say it’s good for us.  UPDATE: a commenter named Jean said that only the virgin and unrefined coconut oils are good for you, so Kelapo organic VIRGIN coconut oil, IS good for you! Refined coconut oil is NOT good for you.

Good to know, because coconut oil is also a flavorful replacement for butter, which is a plus for those who are allergic to dairy or just dairy-free in general.  It’s great for vegan cooking and baking too, not to mention a good substitute for neutral oils in most recipes. Personally, I love the stuff because it tastes and smells amazing, and I wanna saute something savory in it soon.  Coconut seared chicken something or other keeps sprinting through my brain.  Also, my friend, Suzanne, just let me know that a health food store she shops at pops their popcorn in coconut oil.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  I’m definitely trying that!

The second part of this giveaway is the cookbook How to Cook Everything (10th anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman.  I always wanted this cookbook, so I bought one for myself, and one for one of you!  It’s become sort of a habit now when I buy things.  One for me and one to give away here.

To enter this giveaway for both the coconut oil and the cookbook,
leave a commentFor extra entries, you can leave separate comments for all or any of the below;

1.  Follow @parsleynsage on Twitter

2.  Follow @kelapo_coconut on Twitter

3.  Like Kelapo Coconut on Facebook

4. Tweet the following: A Kelapo Coconut Oil & Mark Bittman cookbook GIVEAWAY @parsleynsage #giveaway

I’ll be choosing the winner 10 days from today using random integer.

Speaking of winners..the winner of the $50.00 worth of custom designed t-shirts from is…

…number 19, which lands on Carolyn of Cookin’ for my Captain!  Congratulations, Carolyn.  I will pass your email to Colleen at so she can email you the code for your $50.00 worth of custom printed shirts!  I’m sure you’ll have fun making them!

Magic Blueberry Pudding Cake - One batter morphs into cake, pudding and blueberry filling.Bookmark and Share

Phyllo Fail..Baklava Success

June 27, 2011 at 1:39 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert, Giveaway, Pastry | 76 Comments
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Back in 2009, a friend and I were discussing my 1st Daring Bakers challenge hosting gig, trying to decide what I should challenge everyone with.  I was throwing out ideas, and like many first pitches in baseball, they were all over the place.  Baklava was one of them and then we both joked how hated I would be if I made it a requirement to make the phyllo dough from scratch.  I swear on every pair of jeans with broken zippers, I never thought I’d see the day.  Well, that day has come, and Erica, nobody hates you, and in fact, I think they’re loving it.

Homemade Baklava

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge.  Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Homemade Baklava

Okay, it’s official..I suck.  I really do.  I gave it a shot, but not a good one.  We had a blast of humidity here, on and off the past month, and I just wasn’t able to muster up the motivation and desire to continue rolling out paper-thin sheets of dough for three hours.  I started and by sheet number 3, I threw in the towel.  They ripped, they stuck together, they laughed in my face, tatters of papery smirks.

I sloppily buttered each crumpled mess of my three annihilated phyllo sheets, sprinkled them with some of the sugar nut mixture for the baklava, then rolled them into roses (scrunch and roll, it’s actually quite simple), baked them, and plopped them on top of some of my baked baklava, drizzled with a little extra honey syrup.

Homemade Baklava

I feel like a cop-out, but the truth is, I’m a horrible super, stretchy, thin dough roller. The proof is in the pudding – look at that strudel dough from back in ’09.  Everyone had gorgeous, stretchy, transparent sheets of dough that they rolled and stretched to kingdom come.  They could have been hung as sheer curtains, that’s how strong and perfect they were.  In the mean time, I was barely able to roll mine larger than a trash can cover, and it was completely unyielding.  It just sat, wouldn’t budge, no matter how long I covered it to let the gluten rest, then tore in half when I tried to lift it with the tops of my hands to stretch it.  I just used what I had, and ended up with maybe two flaky layers upon baking.  Master FAIL.

I think I just have to accept the fact that I’ll never be part of any tablecloth-dough stretching team for strudel or phyllo.

Homemade Baklava

However, I’d never made baklava before, so this was definitely a challenge for me.  Thankfully, I bought 2 lbs of phyllo as backup, almost expecting the above phyllo failure.  With that said,  I am no longer intimidated by the process of putting together a baklava. I always put off making it, thinking there was no way I wouldn’t end up with a mess of crumpled phyllo as I layered it in the pan.  Oh, and the cutting/scoring part..I swore it would be impossible and I would end up pulling and tearing each square or diamond into an inside out mess before baking.

Well..none of the above happened, so I’m pleased as punch.  But, there’s a problem. I can’t stop eating it..and it’s scaring me.  I’m scared because I can feel my organs ready to burst in protest as each morsel of drippy baklava permeates my system with sugar.  I don’t think I’ve ever had this much sugar in my body at once, and I don’t think I’ve had this little sleep either.  I’ve been on a constant sugar high every night for the past week, but it’s just so damn good, I can’t help it.

Homemade Baklava
I’d like to share a little of my history with baklava and sticky, dripping Greek (actually of Turkish origin, thanks to Emre!) pastries in general, with you all.  When I was in college, there were several pizzerias peppered throughout the streets of our city campus.  They each had a purpose, so they were all used, none left out.  One pizzeria was the after bar/clubbing pizza place.  You always went there after an alcohol-laden evening, even those who were hooking up.  It was fun seeing booze-induced couplings scarfing down gooey pizza before the inevitable boink .  Oh, and the pizza was good.

Another place made phenomenal subs.  In fact, every time I walked in, the owner knew ‘my sandwich’ and immediately got it started, and it was always absolute perfection.  It was a hoagie roll, split, spread with mayo, topped with provolone, toasted, then piled with crabmeat salad, the real stuff.  I know it sounds gross, but I loved it.

The next one was the ‘after game’ pizzeria, or after all classes pizzeria, for those who liked to supplement their food plan with pizza.  Sort of a college version of a first course, well, several first courses, prior to the main meal.

Homemade Baklava

Finally, there was the baklava pizzeria.  We called it that because there was always a fresh pan of homemade baklava on the counter next to the cash register. It was a small place, so when it would get really crowded, my roommate, and others would grab a piece or two from the pan and scurry back to our table with devious looks.

Thievery!  Criminals! It was bad, but the baklava was  This is where and when I fell in love with baklava.  I craved it immensely.  I couldn’t go in that damn place without buying a piece (Yes, I did pay).  This is also when I knew baklava was a very dangerous little pastry and it led me to other dangerous Greek pastries and many a Greek festival at Greek churches near every place I lived after college, where I indulged shamelessly.

Well..I managed to break the habit and stay away.  In fact, I hadn’t had baklava or any Greek or Turkish pastry for about 10 years prior to this challenge.  Now I know how to make it.  I’m SO screwed.  What’s even worse is, they make phyllo sheets to fit 13 x 9 pans perfectly, so it makes for quick and easy layering.  Once again, SO screwed.

Homemade Baklava

Since I copped out on the homemade phyllo, and had 2 lbs of store-bought phyllo, I didn’t make a small 9 x 9 inch pan of baklava, which was the recipe given to us so we wouldn’t have to roll out 30 to 40 sheets of phyllo.  With 2 lbs of phyllo, I made a version of THIS RECIPE for a 13 x 9 pan ( I used the syrup from the challenge, though, with a few changes).  I love and curse this man at the same time.  This recipe is pretty much a compilation of all the awesome baklava I’ve ever had, from the pizzeria in college to every Greek festival I’ve ever been to.

I did make some changes.  I used equal amounts of cashews, pistachios and walnuts, but then realized I was a cup short of 6 1/2 cups of nuts and the only nuts I had left were macadamias.  I guess you could call this a crazy combo nut baklava, but it’s good crazy, as in, I wish I could stop eating it and trash it ‘good crazy’.  I also added a little fresh squeezed orange juice to the syrup, along with cinnamon sticks, orange peel and split and scraped vanilla beans, to flavor it before straining.

A few quick notes and hints;

  • Pour hot syrup on cooled baklava instead of cool syrup on hot baklava.  This prevents a soggy bottom
  • Even though I didn’t tear the slices of baklava inside out, I’m a horrid baklava cutter.  My rows were not only incredibly uneven, but raggedy.  Three sizes of baklava in one pan.
  • A super duper sharp knife comes in handy, as does a super sharp ability to draw straight lines.
  • Yes, I did attempt to make each slice pretty with phyllo hearts.  FAIL However, the roses came out nice.
  • I didn’t want diamond shapes, I really wanted squares!
  • Baklava can last a month if the water in the syrup evaporates when cooked down, or obviously, if you don’t use water in your syrup.
  • Make this, then give it away after one piece.  You’ll thank me later.
  • I just ate another piece.

To see all the real Daring Bakers, the ones who actually made and rolled out tons of sheets of phyllo, and turned out some gorgeous baklava’s, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.  To get the recipe, plus step- by-step photos, for phyllo and the challenge recipe for baklava, click HERE.

Homemade Baklava
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 9x13 pan of baklava; about 20 pieces
adapted from John's Jotttings
  • 2 pounds phyllo dough (approx. 40 sheets)*
  • 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups finely chopped unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1½ cups finely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ pound unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1¼ cups honey
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large vanilla bean, split
  • 1 long strip of orange peel, pith scraped off
Build the Baklava:
  1. Grease a 13×9 pan (bottom & sides) and set aside. Mix well the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack.
  3. Set aside one full-size sheet of phyllo dough. Cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Cut remaining phyllo sheets into 13×9 sheets. Actually, measure your pan and cut the sheets to match the actual inside dimensions. On my pan it is actually 12″ x 8″, for example. With a big sharp knife you should be able to cut all of the phyllo at the same time. You will most likely have a lot of left over phyllo – consider finding another dish where you could use the smaller pieces of leftover phyllo dough.
  5. Carefully lay the full-size phyllo sheet into the greased pan, folding over the pan edges. With a pastry brush, liberally apply melted butter.
  6. Lay a cut sheet of phyllo into the bottom of the pan, and with a pastry brush liberally apply melted butter. Repeat 9 more times, so that you have the one full sheet and 10 smaller sheets as your bottom layer.
  7. Sprinkle 2 cups of the nut mixture into the pan. Lay 6 more sheets of phyllo on top, making sure to liberally apply the melted butter between each sheet. Repeat this 3 more times, so that you have 4 separate layers of the walnut mixture. For the top layer place as many phyllo sheets on top as you have remaining, again making sure to liberally butter between each sheet. Using a sharp plastic spatula, carefully fold over the large sheet of phyllo that should still be extended over the edge back onto the top, so that you can see down the inside edges of the pan. In effect you now have one big baklava package wrapped with your initial phyllo sheet. Using a very, very sharp serrated knife, carefully score the baklava into whatever shape you want. A diamond pattern is the traditional shape. Try to cut about half-way down into the baklava when you do this.
  8. Bake for 2½ to 3 hours at 300 degrees until brown.
  9. Let the baklava cool completely. Strain the syrup, then reheat until hot. Slowly pour over the cooled baklava. Cover with plastic wrap and let the baklava absorb the syrup for at least 4 hours. Can be kept refrigerated for up to a month.
Make the Syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot, scraping the vanilla bean into the mixture and throwing in the pods. Heat over medium high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Once boiled for 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Do not strain yet, let the flavors steep in the honey, water and sugar until the baklava has baked and cooled. When baklava is completely cooled.
*When working with phyllo be sure to work fast and keep the unused portion covered with plastic wrap at all times, as it tends to dry out pretty fast. Also, be sure to carefully follow the defrosting instructions on the phyllo – the sheets will stick together if you try to do a “speed defrost”
** Pour hot syrup on cooled baklava instead of cool syrup on hot baklava. This prevents a soggy bottom.


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Salted Pretzel Macarons, 3 Years Blogging, and 3 GIVEAWAYS!

May 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Baseball, Cookies, Dessert, Giveaway, Macarons | 227 Comments
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So I had an idea, and it’s been blistering my brain for months now.  I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to try it.  Things just kept getting in the way, and soon this idea was in limbo, wanting to move on, but unable to move out.  Well, I finally got to it, and I’m finally taking part in a MacTweet – regardless of that bendy joint in between my thigh and calf that tries to ‘trip’ me up.  If I had a nickel for every time the word ‘knee’ has been used on this blog, I’d have about …1 dollar.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

This month’s MacTweets theme is ‘Ballpark Snacks – Take me out to the Ballgame’, aka, food you usually find at a ballgame – as or in a macaron. It sort of went like this…

“Hey, Jamie (MacTweet co-founder, along with Deeba), I came up with this amazing salted pretzel macaron, and the shell really tastes like a pretzel, well, a sweet pretzel, like chocolate dipped pretzels..but I did add powdered mustard to a white chocolate ganache..and it’s actually good and…blah blah..zzzzz”

I lucked out, Jamie made this month’s theme a baseball one.  Big, soft, hot, chewy pretzels with gobs of mustard, at a Yankee game.  Yeah, that’s the life, well, when I’m there, and I haven’t been to a game in a while.  I’m pretty sure, if I recall, you can get chocolate dipped, crunchy pretzels at the new Yankee Stadium, too.  SO, I began to whip up my second go round of this macaron I created about 2 months or so ago.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

On your left, the salted pretzel powder.  This one needed to be sifted just once or twice more, as you can see there’s still tiny shell bits in it.  On the right, The color your finished/baked macarons should be – similar to graham cracker crumbs, to emulate a golden, baked pretzel.  I placed two small pretzel sticks on top to show youHowever, and very important, you want your tant pour tant about two shades  lighter than  above, as the color deepens when folded with the egg whites.  The wrinkled macarons below were made from this tant pour tant.  See how much darker they are than the original tant pour tant above , which looks to be the perfect baked pretzel color match?

Salted Pretzel Macarons

The above are filled with Nutella.  The rest of the photos, just plain, dark chocolate ganache.  AS promised, I supplied a recipe for the white chocolate – mustard ganache, below, even though I couldn’t show it to you in a macaron.

Well, guess what?  Two NEW ‘typical Lisa’ disasters!  I think it’s getting to the point where a disaster is to be expected with every new post here.  Sorry.

1.  Batch #1 – The tops deflated and wrinkled.  No idea why.  They looked like old ladies after years and years of sun worshiping.  Tan 1.5-inch raisin rounds.  If anyone has a clue, please fill me in.  I’ve dealt with no feet, flat shells, too poofy shells, and big feet, but never wrinkly faces.  They’re being bitches again.

2. Batter #2 spilled onto my lap.  I don’t want to say how.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

     This is the ‘too dark  and wrinkled’ batch.  In all of my years (well. three) of wrestling with these divas. I’ve never seen this before.

So, I had a choice, try again or use these photos from my first try creating the salted pretzel macaron.  They sat in my photo program as a sort of a back-up in case of sudden bitchiness.  I hated this attempt because the color was off, the feet were weird, and I piped them so quickly I ended up with too many baby shells. I also accidentally sprinkled pretzel salt on all the drying shells, instead of every other one, so I had to use two salted shells per macaron. Oh, and and the word – BAD.  BUT, they had to do, since I wasn’t sure I had the time or patience to make them again within the next two weeks.  So here they are and they taste SO good, so eff the aesthetics for now.

Are you happy, Ms. Meanie Macaron Goddess?

I basically took one shot of them from different distances.  I have no idea why I used a light blue mug and red ribbon, especially since light blue is the death of food photos.  Oh, and that white lace background?  Out to pasture for good.

Had I not encountered any problems the second and third time around, I had some great background ideas, like broken pretzels, chocolate and mustard as props, and maybe a beer or two.  And, I was going to fill them with this perfect white chocolate -mustard ganache I came up with (sounds gross but it isn’t, I promise), but I never got around to it, so I think  these will be making another appearance on this blog, the way I originally planned them. (Yeah, I was going to perfect my Twoffle for another entry, and the third Levain Copycat attempt I keep promising everyone. I’m a bad blogger.)

Salted Pretzel Macarons


Even though you didn’t get to see my perfectly ‘pretzel colored’ macs, you can see the color in the tant pour tant photo above. Notice the pretzel stick I placed to show you how close the color was? mentioned above..under the photo of it, you have to go about two shades lighter than that because when folded with the egg whites, the color deepens considerably.  I said it twice because it sucked for me when that tant pour tant turned a deep, reddish brown after being combined with the whites – far from the golden, baked pretzel looking shells I so coveted.

I assume the wrinkled ones wrinkled in protest of the ugly color they were made to wear. Once again..little bitches.   Oh, and that perfectly baked pretzel colored tant pour tant? That ended up being the batter that became my lap puppy.  Go figure.

So, here is the perfect pretzel color for these macarons..not what you see in the photos. Americolor gels – equal parts warm brown and egg yolk, plus 1 part gold.

I color the tant pour tant and let it dry overnight.  You don’t have to do that.  You can color the egg whites while beating, or drop in the color during your ’50 strokes’.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

             Some of those ‘baby’ macarons from inconsistent pressure on the piping bag.

All in all, if you love sweet, dipped pretzels, these shells hit that flavor perfectly.  Fill them with whatever you like, from sweet to savory, you won’t be disappointed!

Now onto the good part, minus the whining and bitching.  Myy three year blogiversary is upon me. (ME ME ME..again).  It’s actually May 26th, but I probably won’t have a post up on the 26th, so I want to celebrate it now….with 3  Giveaways!  I love you guys, and love that you like my blog.  I even love those of you who are just coming for the giveaway, because, well..Oh, I don’t know, just feeling the love today.  These prizes will definitely help in your macaron making, or cookie and cake decorating…or whatever floats your boat (I won’t go there).  This is not a promotion, I bought all of the prizes myself to give away to YOU.

I’m giving away 1 big prize (well..bigger in relation to the two others).  An Ateco 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set ((Set includes coupler, flower nails and Ateco’s most popular stainless steel decorating tubes in a plastic hinged storage box)  plus 12 Ateco gel paste colors (black, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, teal, orange, fuchsia, violet, sky blue, and brown – remember, a little bitty drop goes a long way!)

For two runners up. I’m giving away two Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Sets (12 inch flexible bag with hem and hanging loop and 12 stainless steel decorating tubes. Also includes a plastic coupler (pre-attached to bag), instructions, recipes, and a clear plastic storage box)

How to Enter:  You have three chances to win any three of the prizes.  Three separate comments for each entry. You can just leave one comment if you want, but why not increase your chances? :)

1.  Leave a comment telling me what you like to eat at sporting events, and/or just a comment on this macaron entry if you don’t go to sporting events.

2.  Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage, or you can click on the little blue tweety bird at the top right of this page to go right to my profile and follow.

3 Tweet about this giveaway – 3 #GIVEAWAYS, 3 #WINNERS  @parsleynsage – 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set plus 12 gel colors, & 2 Cake Decorating Sets

All three winners will be chosen via random integer on Jun 2nd, so that’s 12 days you have to enter!  Good luck, everyone!

Salted Pretzel Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

Salted Pretzel Macarons
1 cup(110 grams) icing sugar
3/4 cup (84 grams) almond meal
2 tablespoons (10 grams) pretzel powder (method follows)
2 large(70 grams) egg whites
3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
Pretzel salt or coarse salt
Warm Brown, Egg Yolk Yellow and Gold Americolor gel pastes

DIRECTIONS: (adapted from Tartelette)
1. Place the powdered sugar, pretzel powder, and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add in the gel food colors and pulse until you reach a golden pretzel color you’re satisfied with.  I used about 3-4 drops of each of brown and yellow, plus 1 big drop of gold, for 2 egg white macarons. Let the tant pour tant dry overnight, or spread on a cookie sheet and let dry in a turned off oven for a few hours.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

3. Add the tant pour tant (nut, sugar, pretzel powder amalgamation) to the beaten egg whites and sugar.  Give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10.

4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle every other round with pretzel or coarse salt.

5. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Salted Pretzel Powder
About 2 handfuls of lightly salted pretzel bites, or thin sticks, or twists, shape doesn’t matter.

1.  In a food processor, grind the pretzels as fine as you can.  Now this is the important part, you need to sift the powder because small bits of the golden shell do not break down to a fine powder.

White Chocolate – Mustard Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3/4 cup white chooclate
Yellow gel paste..optional

1. Boil the cream and the mustard powder in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate in a bowl. Let it sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Add 1 or two drops yellow gel paste color and stor until uniform and a yellow mustard color.  Add more if needed. Let ganache sit in the refrigerator overnight and whip the next day until a thick cream is formed.  You don’t have to whip it, you can just stir and pipe it on as is, a more truffle like consistency.

2. Pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one plain shell and top with a salted shell.

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