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Easy Recipe for Yummy Homemade Walnut Baklava Rolls

Necessity is the mother of all inventions…I had an immediate hankering for some atayef bil joz (walnut stuffed pancake-like sweet made especially in Ramadan) or some baklava (aka baklawa), but I wasn’t familiar with any Arabic sweet shops in Dallas, so I made my own baklava. I like my baklava to be sweet but not uber-sweet and doused in ater (simple sugar syrup). Making my own meant that I could control the level of sugar in the walnut mixture and also the quantity of ater poured on it. Win, win. They were so good and because I rolled them up instead of layering them, it was easy to hide any tears and holes from the finicky phyllo dough. The mini rolls turned out to be perfect bite-sized morsels AND, in total, I only used 6 sheets of phyllo. If you’re not fond of the taste of ghee, just use half a cup of melted butter instead. Also, test out how sweet you like your baklava by drizzling a teaspoon of ater on one roll, if you like it sweeter, obviously pour some more ater. Use any leftover ater to make a refreshing mint and lemonade drink or use it as an excuse to make another batch of the Good Taste Lama’s walnut stuffed baklava!

Walnut Baklava

Makes 20-26 rolls

Prep level: Easy-Medium


For the Baklawa:

  • 1 heaping cup shelled walnuts

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 4 teaspoons orange blossom water

  • 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)

  • ¼ cup ghee

  • ¼ cup melted butter (about 2 heaping tablespoons of butter)

  • 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough

For the Ater:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • ¾ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

  • 1 slice or squeeze of a lemon

How To:

Prepare the ater. In a small pot over medium heat, add the water and sugar and leave to boil for around 20 minutes, or until thickened, stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and add the orange blossom water and a slight squeeze of lemon juice. Set the ater aside till the baklava is baked. In a food processor, put the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, orange blossom and rose water. Pulse for a minute or until the walnut filling is crumbly and begins to come together. Empty the walnut mixture in a bowl. On a marble/granite surface, gently take out 6-8 (1-2 sheets extra in case of tears or gaping holes) phyllo sheets and cover them with a slightly dampened cloth to keep them from drying out. Spread open one phyllo sheet, and using a pastry brush, brush and cover the whole sheet with some butter/ghee mixture. Fold the phyllo sheet in half and brush again with the butter/ghee. Sprinkle (about 1 ½ tablespoons) a light layer of the walnut mixture on the folded phyllo sheet (see my Instagram video @thegoodtastelama). Take a second sheet and brush it with butter/ghee, fold in half (does not matter where the opening is) and place it on top of the sheet with walnuts. Sprinkle the same amount of walnut mixture on top. Starting from the bottom, begin to roll the dough in a tight log. Butter a 9 or 10 inch oven safe dish. Using a serrated knife, cut the baklava ‘log’ into 1 ½ inch rolls and place flat side down on the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the dough looks nicely browned. Pour half the ater over the hot-from-the-oven baklawa walnut rolls and let them soak the ater. Let the baklava cool at room temperature and eat. Reserve the remaining ater and use it to add to the baklava if you like it to be sweeter. The baklava can be stored outside or in the fridge in a closed container.

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