These Baklava cookies capture the flavour of a traditional Baklava in a bite. They are made with a mix of almond meal and plain flour so are chewy and have the beautiful fragrance of rose water, cardamom and cinnamon with a crunchy topping of pistachios, almonds finished with a honey lemon glaze. They are the PERFECT last minute addition to any festive menu!
Baklava is a rich, wonderfully sweet middle eastern layered puff pastry sweet. It is layers of phyllo, coated in butter, filled with mixed nuts ( mostly walnuts and pistachios) and baked to a golden hue, then topped with a honey sugar syrup. It is really easy to put together if you have access to phyllo pastry where you live.
I heard about it first from my Paati! She used to live in the US and casually mentioned how easy it is to make. I had only seen it on shows then ( this was in late 90’s) and was smitten at the idea so much. I’ve always been interested in exotic food I can’t eat, pretty useless as you may say. Ask me to eat a piece of actual food and I’d show my face. So, when she mentioned it required ‘sheets’, I didn’t explore further.
Cut to 2012 – one of my fondest Diwali memories ever. I was living in Singapore and in some sudden stroke of luck, I won some money in a contest at work. So, I flew home buying tickets last minute the day before Diwali. In that mad rush, I went to Mustafa and picked up phyllo, nuts and took them home ( yes on a flight!). That Diwali, I made Baklava at home for Paati.
Over the years, I have started finding Baklava really sweet for my palate. My overall appetite for sugar has drastically reduced in the last few years. I resort to natural sweeteners in a lot of my choices. Just like that, this cookie happened in my head last week when I was looking at old diwali pictures. Surely, I must have seen Baklava cookies somewhere on the internet but the bulb struck only now for me!
This cookie is inspired from the flavours in a baklava. While a Baklava is crispy and sugary, this is chewy and flavourful with a mild sweetness. It smells of cardamom, rose and honey and has a very addictive taste!
- 1 cup plain flour 150 grams
- 1 cup almond meal 85 grams
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios
- 3 tbsp brown sugar/coconut sugar 45 grams
- 3 tbsp honey substitute with maple syrup for a vegan version
- 1/3 cup ghee/melted butter coconut oil or vegan butter for a vegan version
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp rose essence/vanilla essence
- 1-2 tbsp milk, if required.
- 2 tbsp melted butter i recommend using a butter here instead of an oil/ghee. for vegan version, try a vegan butter
- 2 tbsp sugar regular white sugar, i used brown in the pictures but think white wil work better.
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 tbsp honey use maple syrup for a vegan version
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice i used pistachios, but any nuts work
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure edible rose water add after removing from heat
- In a bowl, combine flour, almond meal, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, baking soda and mix well.
- Add melted butter/ghee, honey/maple syrup and essence.
- Mix well with your hands to a smooth dough. I did not need milk, but if you do add a little at a time.
- It is best to use your hands for this cookie dough. Make small balls measuring around 50 grams and place in a lined tray.
- Just before baking, make a small dent in the middle with your thumb! This is where the filling will go.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 12-15 minutes. Check after 12 minutes.
- When the cookie is baking, mix all the topping ingredients except the nuts in a saucepan on low heat. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat.
- Add the nuts to the topping and mix well.
- Once the cookies are done, slightly press on the indentation made and fill with the topping.
- Add some dried rose petals for it to look festive!
- If you are not vegan, I highly recommend adding honey in this recipe. It brings a lovely flavour to the cookie that will remind you of Baklava. Maple syrup is a close substitute for the cookie.
- Instead of almond meal, you can pulse pistachios or walnuts as well.
- Most of the rose water in the topping will evaporate, so 1 tsp measure is necessary.
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