I think this recipe is a winner as far as being fast and easy to make. The instructions for the recipe could use a little tweaking if you ask me.
For step number 2 (stirring together the cookie base ingredients) I really don’t think stirring is going to work but maybe my butter just wasn’t quite soft enough. (The heat source in our house is a wood/coal furnace so “room temperature” this time of year tends to be on the cool side.) I used my electric mixer to combine the ingredients. Initially it wound up looking rather crumbly like a pie crust dough would but I kept mixing and it did eventually come together to form a nice soft dough.
Step number 3 (combining the filling ingredients) I feel would be best if you mixed together the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt first and once they are well combined stir in the walnuts. Just seems to me like a more sensible way of going about it.
I couldn’t find the size package of fillo shells called for in the recipe, I could only find a smaller box so I got that. There were 15 mini shells in the box. I used all of them. LOL I know… but they are a product I don’t use, I didn’t want an opened box sitting in my freezer. It seemed like a decent amount of fillo on top of the bars, too. *shrug*
As for how the bars turned out…. they certainly are good. But they’re a far cry from baklava. Oh I knew they would not taste just like it – they’re so different. But I did expect them to taste more like baklava than they do. They have a very strong lemon flavor. I don’t know how strong the lemon flavor is supposed to be in a traditional baklava but I know that the baklava I’ve had in the past (store bought and from a couple bakeries) have only had a hint of lemon flavor to them. The lemon is strong enough in these bars I think they might be better deemed “Lemony Baklava Bars” or something.
Again, it’s not that they aren’t good. They ARE. But they aren’t exactly what I expected. Will I make the recipe again? Honestly it’s hard to say right now. I might and I might not. If I do I will half the lemon zest in the cookie base… or perhaps even leave that out completely.
My sister and mom will be visiting tomorrow. I know my sister at least wants to try them, but my mom most likely will not. I’ll try to get her to take a bite and I will update to share what they think of these as well. =)
ETA: My sister agrees that these have a much too strong lemon flavor and that they do not really taste like baklava. She said she doesn’t like the cookie layer at all and that they are too sweet.
So. If you want baklava minus the hard work that goes into making it – just buy some from the bakery or the grocery store because these bars – while simple to make – just are not going to cut it.