“Homemade Chocolate Baklava For Rosh Hashanah”

Learn how to make a delicious homemade Chocolate Baklava just in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year!

Hi Bold Bakers!

Today’s delicious Chocolate Baklava recipe was written by Dee, one of our Bold Baking Network experts, founder of One Sarcastic Baker, and author of a lovely recently-released Baking Science cookbook (buy it here). 

Fall is here, and that means it’s officially the time of year to celebrate the Jewish New Year — also known as Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year,” is traditionally celebrated with symbolism, like eating apples dipped in honey so that the upcoming year will be fruitful, like the apple tree in the fall, and as sweet as honey.

Typically, honey cake and apple desserts take the lead as the iconic Rosh Hashanah recipes, but I decided to twist the traditions a bit with this Chocolate Baklava. I figured that the nuts, like the apples, grow on trees, and the chocolate is also sweet, and this recipe would be an appropriate way to celebrate the holiday.

What Is Chocolate Baklava?

Baklava is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dessert made by layering filo dough with grounded nuts and spices, then soaking it with sweet syrup.

There are countless Baklava recipes, and you may already have your favorite. Some call for walnuts and cinnamon, while others for pistachios, cloves, or cardamom. The options are unlimited!

Chocolate Baklava is another version of this iconic dessert, and it calls for chopped chocolate in addition to nuts and spices.

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Chocolate Baklava

Here is a list of the key ingredients; the complete list of ingredients, including measurements, you can find below on the recipe card.

  • Fillo sheets, the recipe calls for 25 sheets. A box of store-bought filo contains about 40 sheets.
  • Hazelnuts and almonds were my choices of nuts mostly because I love the combination of hazelnuts, almonds, and chocolate. You can use your favorite nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, or pecans.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped. Any dark chocolate between 56-72% would be a good option. Milk chocolate or white chocolate might be too sweet for this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar. Most recipes do not add sugar to the filling, but I decided to add a ¼ cup. The sugar will dissolve and spread between the nuts and chocolate during baking. As it sets during cooling, it will also help with the setting of the filling.
  • Melted butter. Use unsalted, and if you wish this dessert to be Parve (non-dairy), use vegan butter. Do not substitute with oil — it will not taste good.
  • Cinnamon and cinnamon stick. The cinnamon stick is for the syrup; feel free to substitute it with your favorite spices.
  • Honey provides flavor, sweetness, and a smooth, sticky texture to the syrup.
  • Orange peel. I love the combination of cinnamon, orange, and chocolate with all the crunchy nuts.

 

Dee’s Pro Chef Notes For Making The Perfect Chocolate Baklava

  • Let the syrup chill before soaking the baklava. Start this recipe by making the syrup, so it will have time to cool off. Alternatively, you can make the syrup up to 7 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
  • When brushing the butter onto the filo, use very gentle strokes. The dough is fragile and can break easily, so pay attention when you brush!
  • Chop the chocolate as fine as you can for even distribution.
  • Slice the baklava before baking it. Unbaked, the dough is soft and easy to slice. You don’t have to cut all the way through, but, make sure to make the insertions marks with a knife.
  • Do not over-process the nuts in the food processor; otherwise, they will end up oily and sticky.
  • Keep in mind that it takes time for the baklava to cool, so it is best to bake it the night before you plan on serving it.

Tips For Working With Filo

  • Thaw the filo in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. If thawed improperly, the sheets stick together and are a sticky mess.
  • Place the filo between two kitchen towels and cover it if you are stepping away; the filo will dry or absorb moisture quickly when exposed to the air.
  • Have the filo next to your baking pan, and, holding the two corners closest to you, lift it gently. Once you hold the dough, gently place it in the pan. I like to layer it like putting a blanket over a bed by giving it a gentle wave to spread it evenly.
  • Roll the leftover sheets back into their original plastic and box, then store them in the fridge or freezer.

 

How To Store Chocolate Baklava

You can store homemade Chocolate Baklava at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer wrapped with plastic for up to 2 months. 

 

Chocolate Baklava Trouble Shooting And FAQ:

Can I make vegan chocolate baklava?

To make vegan chocolate baklava, substitute the butter with vegan butter and your favorite vegan chocolate.

Why is my baklava soggy?

Soaking it with syrup that is still warm will make your filo soggy. It is best to make the syrup in advance before pouring it over the baklava.

Why is my baklava filling so crumbly?

That is how baklava is! I would not worry about it; just be sure you give your baklava the proper time to chill and set.

 

Can I make this recipe without chocolate?

Yes, baklava has many variations. Replace the chocolate with any nuts you would like.

Can I freeze chocolate baklava?

Yes! Wrap your homemade baklava into individual portions using plastic wrap, and free for up to 2 months.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this baklava recipe?

Yes, but I would not recommend it; the sugar helps keep the baklava together. Also, baklava is famously known as a very sweet dessert!

 

Homemade Chocolate Baklava

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 5 mins
Learn how to make a delicious homemade Chocolate Baklava just in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year!
Author: Dee Frances
Servings: 24 slices

 

Ingredients

For the Syrup

  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/12 fl oz) water
  • ¾ cup (150 g/5 oz) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (180 ml/6 fl oz) honey
  • Orange peel from one orange
  • One cinnamon stick

For the Filling

  • 3 ½ cups (450 g/16 oz) roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 cups (140 g/5 oz) sliced toasted almonds
  • 2 cups (340 g/12 oz) chopped semi-sweet chocolate

  • ¼ cup (50 g/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (150 g/5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 25 sheets of filo dough

Instructions

Make the Syrup

  • In a large pan, pour the water, sugar, and honey, then add the orange peel and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then pour into a large measuring cup and refrigerate.

Make the Baklava

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Process the hazelnuts and almonds in a food processor until finely ground — place in a large mixing bowl and mix in the chopped chocolate.
  • Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and use a large spoon to mix. Set aside.
  • Brush the bottom of one 9×13-inch baking dish with the melted butter, then line a filo sheet over it. Brush the filo with butter, then layer another sheet over it. Repeat until you have five sheets layered.
  • Evenly sprinkle ¼ of the nuts mixture over the buttered filo and repeat the same process with the remaining filo and nut mixture.
  • Once you have layered the last filo, brush it with butter and use a sharp knife to cut the cake into three vertical and four horizontal positions—a total of 12 squares.
  • Cut each square into two triangles, then brush the cracks with butter.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the filo is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately soak it with the chilled syrup.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 30 days.

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“When does “Tomorrow”  ever come for ME?”

“An Extra Special Happy Birthday Mom… and forever more”

Mom & all 4 001

This is the…  SAME LOCATION…  as the PHOTO below.

But in this Photo… that is my MOTHER… and  now… she is holding our baby sister Karen… this twin, that was a survivor!

Identical twins were born, each weighing eight and a half pounds… but first to be born was Kathleen, and had some trouble with the lungs… and was buried at Calvary Cemetery.

                        “Life Changes in… SEPTEMBER…”

Baby Karen 001

In SEPTEMBER  of 1945… LIFE as I knew it …came to a big change.

Since my MOTHER would be having twins in FEBRUARY of 1946…

My two  brothers DENNY  and TOMMY and ME  – would need a place to be taken care of … for a short time… A time long enough for my Mother to have the “TWINS” that she was now  expecting and a few months after the delivery… so that she could get back on her feet… to be able to do… all that she was now doing… but then… with five children.

This is what  my MOTHER was told while …all of the paperwork that she was  now signing … for this temporary placement to get started …that all  of this  preparation was just a formality … but once we were actually placed in the Orphanage … there was another story and they were not letting us leave…  when something sounds too good … beware… that which you were told … was not the truth.

To begin the search for this temporary housing…

There were three locations  – that children could be placed on a temporary basis.   The first one that we all went too… for a visit with a social worker  – doing the driving and giving us all the details  – as to what she thought would be a good place for each of us…

First, Saint Mary’s Home for Girls – in the South Saint Louis area.  This place – made a real impression on me – it was a very tired  and worn out place – and not at all friendly  and not really  a place… that I was wanting to go – and no amount of telling me – it would only be for a short time… was making me think differently!

The second place would be for boys only… Saint Joseph Home for Boys… and since I was not to go there – well nothing at all was very appealing  to me.

My two brothers – well they were just  too young to know what they wanted  and or even like, and I do not think that they had any idea … of what was really going on.

When each of my brothers were to be born… well I was the one that had to go somewhere for a short stay  – – and even the bag of candy  that I was given … did not set too well with me.

 That is one time – I’ll never forget!

I have this bag of candy to hold, all the while these adults are showing us this place … the different rooms … where I will be sleeping and  eating and playing… and then secretly my parents are no longer around… gone!

All the while I am taken to different places where all the children are… and I am still holding on to my bag of candy!

Now… it is that time of the day…  for us, children  to go to bed. I will not turn loose of my bag of candy. 

Finally I am placed in this bed… still holding tight that bag of candy… will not turn loose of it for no reason … at all!

Surprise it is MORNING… and I no longer have that bag of candy. Looked all over and started to cry… so that someone would help me, to find that bag of candy.

Nobody cared about my bag of candy… and was told “Tomorrow you will receive another bag of candy!”

To a young child… being told … “Tomorrow  YOU will receive a bag of CANDY”… means nothing at all.

“When does “Tomorrow”  ever come for ME?”

In the above photo… My FATHER is holding the one surviving twin KAREN –  then there is DENNY –  Mary Ellen – – TOMMY.

Did you ask…  are we HAPPY?

– – NO!


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“Remembering a very Happy and Young MARIE”

“Marie Brady at age 13”

This  is  another of those old  – (over 100 years old)  –  PHOTOS… that just does not seem to have much LIFE in… to last much longer, and  before it completely fades away…  just thought,  that I would give it one more shot, just to see…  if we can view the faces better, as “I  LOVE the fact…  that my “MOM”…  “to be”… is so cute!”

Lots of things will happen  between the date of this PHOTO and my BIRTH.     “America”  has not as yet  entered in the “First  World War” … and the “Roaring Twenties” has not as yet  “hit the scene” … and  young  “Marie”  has not completed  “GRADE SCHOOL” and of course my “FATHER  to be”…has not come  back from the  “WAR” situation…

And then…  on that “TRAIN to St.Louis…”  coming from ” CALIFORNIA”  destination to   “OHIO” in traveling,  met  a  “Mr. FLEMING, a cousin” …  who invites  “Mr. McClarren”  to celebrate their “home-coming” with all of  his   “BRADY clan”  in “MISSOURI” …  before continuing his trip to “OHIO” … and of course…  at that large gathering…  there  “DENNY”  meets   “MARIE”!

“WOW” and another  “WOW”!

In the above PHOTO is “Irene Brady Riley” sister to  “MARIE”   and the lady in the center a cousin, and  or she could be the wife of the eldest brother,  “JIM BRADY” …  and the little girl  seated on the left…  could be their  adopted  daughter, JIMMY BRADY ,  and so many years later…

I met her when she was married to  Mr. Shilling, and living in “FLORIDA.”   The boy seated on the right is unknown to me… at this time.

When looking at  “old photos” …  and we know … what has happened since…  good – bad…  indifferent…   there must be a reason…  that we do not know – – all the stuff in LIFE – – that  “will happen” …  if  we continue…  on the “PATHS” we took and or take… in those younger years? ********* 

 “We just could not move another step!”    D.V.

Marie & Family 001

Seated…”MOM’… “Neighbor and a good friend”… “Marie, and very young and living at home with MOM and POP” … and standing is “POP, Mr. Thomas F. Brady, himself”

Marie Brady – 1918

img125

Miss Marie Brady  – Today is her  121st –  Birthday!

This  PHOTO  on the back side…is stamped that if you want more copies of this “PHOTO”…   the charge is $1.00 or 6 copies for $5.00 –

 “Now you have an idea of how old the photo is.”

I always,  liked this photo of my  Mother  “Marie Brady McClarren” …  but she did not like it… why ??? 

She did not say   and I  could – never get a reason?

So, today in Heaven…  I know that they are singing and dancing …  dancing the “Charleston”,  that was MARIE’s  favorite dance during  the “Roaring Twenties” and those  days of the “FLAPPERS”… they must have really  been having fun for those… who  did like to kick up their heels?

“Happy Birthday” …  to the  “BEST of  MOTHERS … and wishing lots and many more happy Birthdays in Heaven!

 

 If only they made cameras that would be perfectly focused in,  on that…  extra special  subject, my MOM to be, way back  and then,  in the 1930’s?

If  –  “Marie” did mot have to be the one child in the “Brady Family” that had to be the “Care-taker” of the older “PARENTS” …   since they did not have  that “Social Security”  thing,  set up way back then…  maybe we would have had the chance to get to know our MOTHER when she was much younger?

But of course, we do not have that choice to make,  as we  have been “thought of ” – way before the ‘world’  was a reality – – and we are only the “creatures” …  and never  have been,  the “CREATOR” of this universe. 

Everything had been in  a special  plan of the Creator and only by the “CREATOR”  as we read in the BIBLE  “Psalm 139”.

So, I am very  well pleased,  with the way everything has been and is going according to a plan and we just need to learn to be content with what we have and have received.

And then…  to do our part to help to make everything better for our neighbor as our self … and without complaining.

“Who in the world likes to hear constantly,  from a big complainer – any way?”

There was an old saying so long ago …  forgot who started promoting it …  but it goes like this…

“The LORD helps those that help themselves” … and of course most people took that the wrong way  but,  if you give a thought or two about it … it means that if you  can help someone along the road to Eternity… instead of only doing for yourself , you will be receiving so much more help in your own needs.

Because …  when someone is only receiving and never giving… his empty hand will cause such “backache” …  that there is no healthy  LIFE for  such a stingy one.

“In giving,  we receive  more Blessings from our CREATOR, and that is what is most important  for us … on this trip to our Eternal Reward!”     


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“The 25th is here …Celebrate with MOMMA”

“MOM will be celebrating another BIRTHDAY”

      “Remembering “MAMA” reading to us”

When we … children in the 1940’s  sre were “LUCKY” – to have a “MAMA”  –  that would take some time to read   – as in those days – there was no “TV” to park your children… in front of… for hours.

WE had in our Living Room… a “Davenport” –  that is a sofa  that would open up –  into a very large bed  – but during the day and  with no company and or relatives from OHIO, that would spend a week or so with us –  we would  all sit in a row –  with  our MOM in the middle and she would start to read to us.

One  extra special thing about my MOM –  was that she would   change her voice…  to indicate a child speaking or whatever the story would require.

Another thing when reading to us… there was no word that she could not say  and every story would come to real, LIFE in our minds… as we could see exactly  what the “author” of that book wanted us to see  and  to really understand fully,  the  whole story.

The one story that…  I  really  remember more so than any other is  of  the little “Hiawatha” … especially  when MOM would be reading… 

 A much-anthologized excerpt begins:  

   “On the shores of Gitche Gumee, / Of the shining Big Sea Water, / Stood Nokomis, the old woman, / Pointing with her finger westward, / O’er the water pointing westward, / To the purple clouds of sunset.”

  and as this was coming to LIFE  –  those poems of “LONGFELLOW” …  just  found a permanent place in my brain …  so that when I had my children and they were very young…

I also bought the  same book… “HIAWATHA”  … and my MOTHER also read the same story…  just the way she read it to me  and my brothers, and to this day…  I still have the book,  as worn out as it is…  it is a real treasure to me!

For those that want an idea of this great story of little “HIAWATHA” – – have it added right here, for you … listen if you like?

 

Image result for story of hiawatha book

With out …  looking for my old copy of  “HIAWATHA”  the above cover… take a look and see if you also have this wonderful book for children, too. 

The pld above  cover … sure  does look just  like the cover of my   old 50 years  and  or more  … keep “safe”  and a  “keepsake”  book.


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“Just have to Celebrate Momma’s Birthday TODAY”

“Little Marie Brady… BIRTHDAY…TODAY”

Number… 13… is LUCKY – – for some people?

Would   “YOU” consider being LUCKY – – if you were the    – – “13th”   child to be born in an IRISH FAMILY?

Here sits “Little Marie” with a very surprised look  – – probably wondering – –

“What in the world is all of this   commotion  for?”

“I’m sitting here… all dressed up like (Lady/Mrs.) Astor’s pet horse” .

Just being the second girl in the BRADY FAMILY and fifteen years younger –  than  my older sister, Irene- –  what a LIFE – – has already been mapped out.

Two of “Little Marie’s” older brothers were already married – and when  a FAMILY with lots of cousins –  so many were thinking that surely … this  ‘new baby’  has to be one  of the older sons’ –  surely … Mrs. Thomas F. BRADY is ‘too old’  to still be having more children?

But in those days – lots of children –  meant wealth –  and you may have to be wealthy –  since…  that is a lot of mouths to be fed.

With all the history of the “SMART-BRADY” Family –  no one really knows  exactly why we all  are a part of a much bigger “plan” that was destined  for our LIFE here on  Earth –  but –  it is our duty –  to find…  seek and search out the “TRUTH” in this LIFE –  and  just exactly … what is the ultimate  “PLAN” for believers… to follow.

When one stops to think … about LIFE – – “Your very OWN LIFE” –  there are lots of roads  – leading to places that seem so right…

But– one must “STOP in their tracks”   –  and take some time to investigate –  where does all of this lead me  – to what end will I find  in TIME –  is that the “reward” that was promised by our CREATOR –  am I  on that narrow path that may be  hard  and also very  difficult at times – so very at hard times  – here and there  – but with the TRUTH  – we must  just continue on with the  GOOD WORD.

“Happy Birthday to the best  “MOM”  …

…I know YOU are in Heaven”


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“A Song with SILLY WORDS to HEAR”

Sometimes when I am on the telephone with someone … and we  somehow or the other get to talking about something  that I remember from a hundred years ago or so…

I just start to look up on the computer … those few words that are making me think about something so silly… but without their knowing… and before we are finished with the importance of the “CALL” to me…

I will say … 
Do not hang up just yet… I have something, that you may like… after you hear it!

 And just so fast… I press the button and then…  we get to hear the above old song…

… from way back when I was a kid … during those days of  WWII …. and I do believe back then… all the children of very young age knew more songs… 

…the whole song with all of the words … and could sing so well and so often… it was like magic!

 

So… after that phone call…

I was in the mood to hear other versions and see for myself … if just maybe for a few minutes…  I was that same olé  little girl, that I was back then,  during those WWII days when  everybody was singing this song and just having so much fun… with the words… especially  the little kids… as they like silly stuff to make them happy while singing!

 

Today…  there are so many that  have an instrument and can play if…  and when, they have the music sheet available and  the time … and the most important ingredient available… some  small children… to play and sing  some silly words of this song in such a way, that the small fry children…  just want to hear this song over and  sung over so many times … as they like the mellody, and at the  very same time  are trying to figure out those words!


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