Tag Archives: Cinnamon



Who makes Baklava on a beautiful, Spring, Thursday afternoon?  I guess I do.  In today’s Cultural Aspects of Food class at the University of Utah we enjoyed a bounty of Fillo- filled Greek delicacies.  We made Spanakopita http://kolpona.com/2012/03/21/spanakopita-greek-spinach-triangles/ and Baklava and talked about hydrogenated fats, cholesterol and even “pink slime”.  We also talked about how we can indulge in a decadent dessert like Baklava every once in a while because it’s rich in Mono and poly unsaturated fats, a high source of protein from the nuts and has less fat and calories than the average chocolate cupcake with a mile high frosting tower.   While we talked about nutrition, food chemistry and science there was also the exclamations of “This is SOOOOO GOOOOD”, a lot of “mmmmm” and “ahhhhhs”.  That’s what learning should be don’t you think?  Amid all the scientific information there should also be the connections of culture, history and stories of  people and places.
This recipe is from my friend Kathy Paras who is a second generation Greek-American.  She’s been making this Baklava recipe for years, passed down to her from her mom and aunts.  I love recipes like this because it’s been around orally for more than one generation so you know it’s time-tested.  I also love knowing that in the middle of a busy university we talked about science and food while enjoying a dessert that someone’s mom made up in her kitchen in Greece years ago.

Baklava Ingredients

I use Almonds, Walnuts and some Pistachios for garnish

Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor

Add freshly grated nutmeg, orange zest and other spices to nut mixture

Brush the bottom and sides of a 17x2x2 pan

Layer Fillo dough one at a time and brush each one with melted butter

Layer nut mixture in thirds, with 4-5 layers of Fillo in between

Cut Baklava into diamond shapes

Place a clove bud in the center of each diamond shape

Pour cooled syrup over hot Baklava

Let Baklava rest for at least 7 hours

Serve at room temperature

Here’s the recipe:


1 pound box of Fillo Dough

1 pound of Walnuts

1 pound of Almonds

3/4 pound (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, melted

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Cloves

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Whole cloves

ground Pistachios for garnish (optional)


Take out Fillo dough and place it on a cookie sheet and cover with a damp towel, this is very important so the dough does not dry out. In a food processor coarsely chop the nuts.  Place the ground nuts in a large mixing bowl and add all the spices (except whole cloves), vanilla extract, sugar and orange zest.  Mix well.  Melt butter in a glass bowl and brush 17 x 2 x 2 (or an approximate sized) dish with melted butter.  Make sure to brush the sides as well.  Place a sheet of Fillo on the bottom of the pan and brush it with butter then layer another piece and repeat with 10 layers of Fillo.  Layer one-third of the nut mixture on the Fillo then layer with 3-4 pieces of dough, buttering each layer.  Layer the next third of the nut mixture and repeat with another 3-4 pieces of Fillo.  On the very last layer add about 7-9 sheets of Fillo dough (butter each one well).  Brush top of the last Fillo dough with butter and cut into diamond shapes.  Place a clove bud into the center of each piece.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour, until golden brown.  While the Baklava is baking prepare syrup so it has time to cool by the time the Baklava comes out of the oven.


2 3/4 cup water

2 cups Sugar

Boil slowly for 15 – 25 minutes then add 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice (this helps it NOT to form crystals) and 2 tablespoons of honey and let simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Pour over hot Baklava and cover for 30 minutes with wax paper.  Uncover and let the Baklava set for 7 hours at room temperature before serving.  This ensures that all the syrup has soaked in without making the pastry soggy.  Serve at room temperature.  Try not to refrigerate this dish because it affects the texture and taste.  Makes about 36 diamond-shaped Baklavas.

Apple Cinnamon Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes

Did I mention that I currently have eight college students chilling out for Spring break? I love having a houseful.  It’s fun and  anytime any of my kids and their friends choose to hang out at our house, I count it a blessing! I know that time is fleeting.  But having house guests who can eat a lot means preparing mass quantities of food.  This morning after I got some work done on the computer and had a cup of coffee I braced myself to make a hearty breakfast with things I had around the house.  I decided to make pancakes with lots of delicious, healthy, high fiber options packed in.  Pancakes are very forgiving.  You can add all kinds of ingredients and still have it turn out great!

Measure out dry ingredients in a batter bowl

Add Cottage cheese, buttermilk, eggs to the dry ingredients

Pancake batter should be slightly foamy and well incorporated

Sprinkle apples and cinnamon over batter and wait for it to bubble up

Flip to cook the other side

Serve with a little sprinkled powdered sugar or some chocolate hazelnut spread for a little added decadence!

Here’s the recipe:

Apple Cinnamon  Cottage Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup wheat bran

3 cups low-fat buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 tsp kosher salt

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 Granny Smith or Gala apples peeled and chopped

2 tsp Cinnamon

oil for the griddle

Mix chopped apples and Cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Measure out all the dry ingredients in a batter bowl.  Add buttermilk, eggs and cottage cheese and mix to get all lumps out.  Heat a cast iron griddle or a non-stick griddle (or a frying pan) over medium heat.  Brush a little oil on the pan.  Pour 1/3 cup batter on the heated pan and spread Cinnamon coated apples evenly over the batter.  When the batter bubbles, flip over pancake and cook 50 seconds and serve warm.  You can top with powdered sugar, maple syrup or chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) – the current favorite at this house.  Makes about 12-13  four inch pancakes.

Double Chocolate Chili Cookies

Double Chocolate Chili Cookies

I actually made these by accident.  I am short.  Just 5′ 2″ tall and most shelves are above my head. I was going for cinnamon that I’d recently ground and right next to it was a chili powder mixture that I’d also just ground up and the whole little jar  fell into the bowl of flour that was on the counter beneath.  I tried scooping out as much of the Chili powder as possible and finally gave up and decided to make my cookies.  I added nutmeg and brown sugar to try to counter act the Chili.  It turned out amazing and since then I’ve played with the proportions a little to come up with this amazing cookie.  It’s got a little hint of the Chili so everyone eating will ask you “What did you put in these cookies?”.   You’ll love how it tastes, I promise.  It’s got chocolate in the batter and in chunks, how can it go wrong??

I used Chocolate chips and Chocolate baking squares.  I used the chips for melting and the baking squares for making chocolate chunks to put into the cookie for a better texture.

Melt the chocolate chips on a double boiler.  It’s just a heat safe bowl over a pan with some simmering water.  This way the chocolate melts smoothly without getting burnt or dried out.

Cream the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract together and add the melted chocolate mixture to the batter.

Add the dry ingredients (all mixed together) a little at a time until well blended.

Add the chocolate chunks by hand.

Drop by rounded tablespoons (or a scoop if you have it) on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Cool cookies on a cooling rack before devouring them with some nice cold milk!  This is where the milk mustache comes in handy!

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Chili Cookies

¾ cup All purpose flour

¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp Chili Powder

1 ½ tsp Cinnamon powder

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup butter at room temperature

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tsp pure vanilla

4 oz semi sweet chocolate cut into chunks

8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

In a heat safe bowl, place 8 oz of chocolate chips and put the bowl over a pan with simmering water on the stove.  Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.  Slowly stir the chocolate until it is melted.  Turn off the heat.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Chili,  salt, baking soda and powder, set aside.

Using an electric hand mixer, cream together butter, both kinds of sugar and vanilla extract, slowly add in the eggs until the whole mixture is smooth.  Mix in melted chocolate until well blended.  Gradually mix in flour mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula gently mix in chunked semi sweet chocolate pieces.

Using a small scoop or two tablespoons drop cookie dough about 1 ½ inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Transfer cookies onto cooling rack and enjoy with a glass of cold milk!!

Makes approximately 36 to 38 cookies.