Very excited to share this simpler Easy Baklava. Baklava is a Greek dessert pastry. It consists of layered phyllo dough and chopped nuts that have been soaked in a sweet syrup to hold everything together and add amazing flavor. Traditionally, Baklava can be a tedious dessert to make. But I have a trick that solves that by reducing the amount of work. This trick helps to create a much more approachable baklava. My version of baklava is less sweet, plus it’s also made with chocolate. It’s delicious!
What I said above is true, I could not be more excited about this recipe. I guess first and foremost, this baklava is really so delicious. I know that should be a given since I’m sharing the recipe, but I just have to say, this really is so good.
Second, phyllo dough gets such a bad wrap for being tricky to work with. And while it can sometimes cause issues, you just have to simplify the process. Then it actually becomes pretty easy to work with.
When you make traditional Greek baklava, most recipes will have you layer each sheet of phyllo dough, one at a time, brushing each with butter as you layer the sheets. Phyllo dough is super, super thin, and delicate, so working with just one sheet can be tricky. It’s why a lot of people steer away from baking with phyllo dough.
But it doesn’t have to be scary! Over the years, and mainly out of laziness, I started working with doubled sheets of dough. I discovered that if you work with more than one sheet layered on top of each other, the dough is much easier to work with.
And that’s kind of what we’re doing here. Stacking the sheets without buttering each sheet in between. It’s a little shortcut that makes all the difference and doesn’t sacrifice on flavor…we’re still using plenty of butter.
The ingredient list is simple: walnuts, hazelnuts, chocolate, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla. Most baklava is not made with chocolate, but I wanted to add some into my mix.
I like to combine the nuts and chocolate in a food processor to give them a really good chop. I also add cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
Then, instead of just using regular butter, I brown my butter to add additional flavor to the baklava.
Once the nuts and chocolate are chopped and mixed, and the butter is browned you can go right into assembling. Note, I don’t like to add any sugar to the nuts mix.
Grab the phyllo dough and divide it into 3 stacks. The stacks do not need to be perfectly even, but if using Athens phyllo dough, it’s about 12 sheets per stack.
Layer 1 stack into a baking dish, pour over some of the butter, then add some of the nuts/chocolate. Layer with a second stack of phyllo and pour over more butter. Then add the rest of the nuts and the final stack of phyllo. Finish with the last of the butter.
We eliminated layering 36 pieces of dough with butter and skipped over brushing on the butter. This way takes so much less time and the result is just as yummy. Promise!!
While the baklava bakes, make the syrup. This is the key to really good baklava.
I like making mine out of honey and vanilla instead of honey and sugar. It’s not too sweet, but perfectly sticky, and I love the light honey flavors. Especially with the phyllo dough and chocolate.
Just simmer honey on the stove along with vanilla and water until the sauce thickens slightly. I also like to add a little sea salt.
When the baklava comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over the warm dish and let it soak in for a couple of hours.
You can serve this after a few hours, or let sit overnight. It’s also a great dish to enjoy leftover. The syrup continues to soak into the baklava, creating an even more delicious treat.
Looking for other desserts? Here are my favorites:
Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Easy Espresso Chocolate Mousse
Soft and Crinkly Brown Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies
Lastly, if you make this Easy Baklava, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Calories Per Serving: 300 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 cups raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
- 7 ounces semi sweet or dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (you can use more or less, to taste)
- 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
- 1 box frozen phyllo dough, thawed (I use Athens)
- 1 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
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- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 2. Combine the walnuts and hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the chocolate, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until well mixed. 3. Add the butter to a small pot set over medium heat. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. 4. Divide the phyllo sheets into 3 stacks (12 sheets per stack, but don't stress on it). Lay 1 stack flat in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Evenly pour over 1/3 of the butter. Sprinkle over 1/2 of the nut mix, then layer with a second stack of phyllo. Pour over another 1/3 of the butter. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts, then add the final stack. Pour over the remaining butter. 5. Cut into the baklava lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch strips. Then make diagonal slices, 1 1/2 inches apart, to create a diamond pattern (see photo). Bake 40-45 minutes, until golden. 6. Meanwhile, combine the honey, vanilla, and 1/3 cup water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Pour the syrup over the warm baklava. Let soak for 2 hours or overnight. Enjoy!
I’m having trouble finding hazelnuts, do you have a suggestion for another nut that would work? I’m considering almonds or cashews but don’t want to mess with the flavor too much. Thanks! Looking forward to trying it!
I think cashews might work well for you! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
Thank you so much! I ended up going with cashews and it turned out so good. Can’t wait to give it to my mother in law for her birthday tomorrow!
I appreciate you making this recipe and I’m thrilled to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend! xx
An instant favorite. All of our coworkers love this recipe!!!
Should this be refrigerated after? Not sure
Happy Monday!❄️🎄 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Yes, I would keep this in the fridge! xT
I loved this recipe, so easy to make!
Happy Friday!!❄️🧑🎄 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xx