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Almond Cinnamon Baklava & a Giveaway!

September 17, 2012

My girlfriend jokes that Santa Barbara has a festival every weekend.

I’m beginning to think that she is right.*

A few weeks back we went to the Greek Festival (to eat!) and we couldn’t pass up the chance to tack a little triangle of honeyed baklava heaven onto our savory Greek lunch feast.

I always get excited about baklava– after all it’s one of those fancy desserts that you can justify splurging on now and then, since it’s too complicated to make at home… or so I thought!– but this baklava was something else entirely: it was practically oozing with cinnamon! (My girlfriend nearly swooned.)

So that settled it. It was time to make baklava, and not just any old baklava; a giant flaky vessel for gooey cinnamon. And chunks of fresh raw almonds. Did you think I would forget to mention the almonds?

California has been very good to me.

My friends Nate and Bekki own an almond farm nearby in Wasco, California called Fat Uncle Farms.

Fat Uncle Farms is their family-owned almond-growing business, but they don’t just grow the almonds; they also have a kitchen where they make their own almond butter (roasted or raw), almond flour, marzipan, marzipan cookies, sprouted dehydrated almonds, roasted almonds, and my favorite– flavored blistered almonds, including Cajun Spiced, Garlic & Herbs, and Cinnalmonds.

Fat Uncle Farms sells at various farmer’s markets, from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica, but lucky for YOU, they also sell their almond products online!

I used their Whole Raw Almonds in this baklava recipe (along with a cup of walnuts, though baklava traditionally calls for only walnuts or pistachios), and it was spectacular. I chopped the almonds rather coarsely, which gave the baklava some extra height. All the better for slowly biting through the crisp layers of phyllo dough, to the pockets of sweet cinnamon syrup-coated almonds in between.

It’s hard to describe how good the Fat Uncle Farms almonds are, but something about knowing where your almonds are grown, who grew them, and that they are fresh makes all the difference. Their almonds are also some of the largest I’ve seen, and they’re enticing roasted or raw. (I say this firsthand from extensive farmer’s market sampling!)

Here’s where the exciting part comes in.

~~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY [Now CLOSED] ~~~~~~~

In honor of the first of many Fat Uncle Farms and Spontaneous Tomato collaborations, I am hosting my very first giveaway!

The winner will receive two 5 oz. bags of flavored blistered almonds from Fat Uncle Farms, in the flavors of your choice! (And this giveaway is open internationally, so anyone can enter!)

The (awesome) blistered almond flavors are: Naked (unsalted), Original with Sea Salt, Chinese Blistered, Cajun Blistered, Garlic & Herbs, Rosemary Blistered, “Ass Kick’n” Ginger, and Cinnalmonds.
(Or opt for one of the roasted flavors– Honey Roasted or Honey Roasted with Coconut– or one of the sprouted dehydrated flavors– Original or Lemon Pepper.)

TWO STEPS TO ENTER:
1. “Like” both Spontaneous Tomato and Fat Uncle Farms on Facebook.
2. Leave a comment on this post saying which flavor (or two) of the almonds you would like to try!

That’s it!

This giveaway is open through Midnight (U.S. PST) on Sunday, Sept. 23rd, and the winner will be chosen by random number generator– and notified via e-mail (the address you use to comment)– during the day on Monday, Sept. 24th.

Best of luck!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* I already knew of the Lemon Festival, Avocado Festival, Seafood Festival, Earth Day Festival, Summer Solstice Parade, Christmas Parade, “I Madonnari” Chalk Art Festival, International Film Festival, and Fiesta (“Old Spanish Days”) Festivals in town, but this summer I didn’t travel out of town as much and noticed the Greek Festival, French Festival, and Wine Festivals. You have to admit, that’s a lot of festivals for what is NOT a big city. (And I say this based on the facts that Santa Barbara only has a population of 89,000 and still doesn’t have a real Korean restaurant.)

Print this recipe.

RECIPE:

Almond Cinnamon Baklava
(Roughly adapted from the traditional Baqlawa recipe of my friend Nori’s mom, Kay)

Cinnamon Syrup Ingredients:
~ 1¾ cup sugar
~ 1 cup water
~ ¼ cup honey
~ 2 tsp. lemon juice
~ 2 tsp. rose water
~ ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
OPTIONAL:
~ several slices of fresh orange peel

Baklava Ingredients:
~ 1 16-oz. package of phyllo dough (if frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight)
~ 3 cups whole raw almonds (I got mine from Fat Uncle Farms!)
~ 1 cup walnuts
~ 1 tsp. cinnamon (plus more for sprinkling in between the layers)
~ 2 sticks butter



How to make it:

1. First make the syrup: Add sugar, water, and optionally orange peel to a saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Then raise the heat to bring to a boil, remove the orange peel (I used chopsticks), pour in the honey, and lower the heat again to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, rose water, and cinnamon. Mix well, then set aside to allow the syrup to cool completely. (You can later transfer it to a bowl or pitcher with a good pouring spout if you like.)

2. Use a food processor (or a ziploc bag and sturdy coffee mug– or hammer?!) to smash the 3 cups of almonds until they are pulverized but not ground. I used the “pulse” function on my cuisinart, and opened the lid to stir the almonds a few times to make sure they were getting evenly chopped– I also left them in larger chunks than you might want to. Pour the almonds into a bowl and repeat with the 1 cup of walnuts. Mix the 1 tsp. of cinnamon together with the pulverized almonds and walnuts and set aside.

3. Move an oven rack to the top third of the oven, and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the 2 sticks of butter. Use some of the melted butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 glass baking dish.

4. Prepare the phyllo dough: Remove the dough from the fridge, and spread it out on a large, clean, and dry cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half (so you end up with two stacks of rectangles, each the size of your 9×13 baking dish). Wrap half of the phyllo sheets back up in the plastic wrapper– or cover with plastic wrap– so they don’t dry out while you’re working with the first half.

5. Assemble the baklava: Lay a rectangular sheet of phyllo dough across the bottom of the baking dish and brush very lightly with melted butter. Repeat this until there are 6-8 sheets, each brushed with butter, at the bottom of the dish. Then evenly sprinkle on 3-4 heaping tablespoons of the chopped nuts, and add 2 more sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with butter. Continue this pattern (alternating 3-4 Tbsp. nuts and 2 butter-brushed phyllo sheets) until all the nuts have been incorporated, saving 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough for the very top. Optionally sprinkle over extra cinnamon in between some of the layers.

6. Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into large triangles or diamonds (cut diagonal stripes across the pan, then turn and do the same from the other side). Bake for 35-45 minutes– or until brown and crispy-looking– in the top third of the oven. When the dough on top looks nicely golden brown, remove from the oven, and while hot, immediately pour the cooled syrup evenly over the entire baklava. (The baklava will absorb the syrup.) Allow to cool completely before serving, or make ahead and store in the fridge once it’s cooled.

Print this recipe!

Related Recipe Posts:
> Apricot Almond Galette (with Strawberry and Mango variations)
> Avocado Hummus
> Pita Chips with Labne Olive Oil Dip

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62 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynnette Arnold permalink
    September 17, 2012 9:25 am

    Yay! So glad this give-away is happening! And I get to be the first person to enter?! I’d love to try the Rosemary Blistered and the “Ass Kick’n” Ginger flavors.

  2. September 17, 2012 9:25 am

    Asian and “ass kickin” I like em spicy Allison! Making baklava doesn’t see too difficult. Just really time consuming. I can just taste the syrup and cinnamon. Yummy!

  3. September 17, 2012 9:26 am

    Looks amazing!

  4. September 17, 2012 9:34 am

    I would never ever ever ever refuse a piece of baklava. I remember a few years ack my friends mom send a large box of them and they were gone the next day. My husband had his share(2pieces) and I had the rest. Gained a few good pounds that week but I’d do it again. Nothing like binging on baklava.
    These look so so good. Your girlfriend is so lucky.

  5. September 17, 2012 9:38 am

    Sorry I forgot to mention about the Fat Uncle Farms Almonds…I like them Naked and Ass Kickin. Naked ones would be great to cook/bake with and the other would be great used in a curry chicken.

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    September 17, 2012 9:57 am

    Your baklava looks amazing Allison!! I know what you mean – it’s wonderful to know where the food comes from, especially nowadays when we hear all the scary news about food. Their product looks wonderful, and wow so many great flavor choices and their names are cute too. I like ginger, so let’s pick “Ass Kick’n” Ginger. I’m already following you, and new follower for the Fat Uncle Farms. :)

  7. September 17, 2012 10:08 am

    Yum. Yum. Yum! This is my kind of recipe and BONUS — a giveaway. I would love to try the Ginger and Honey Roasted Coconut!

  8. Stephanie M. permalink
    September 17, 2012 10:16 am

    Man, that looks good! I’ve always wanted to try making some with a non-dairy butter and see if it turns out. I’m feeling inspired now. :)

    Garlic and Herb and Naked for me.

    • September 18, 2012 9:35 am

      Definitely– I’d like to hear how a non-dairy version turns out!

  9. September 17, 2012 11:25 am

    aww – I am not on facebook

  10. September 17, 2012 12:17 pm

    Well, Cinnalmonds and “Ass Kick’n” Ginger should be great to taste!
    PS: the baklava is soooo nice!

  11. September 17, 2012 12:20 pm

    Allison, Now you gave me the courage to make baklava. Persians make it a little differently than the Greeks, which is a time consuming delicacy needing patience. If my Persian recipe turns out well (fingers crossed) I will share the recipe/method. :))))) Fae.

    • September 18, 2012 9:37 am

      Sounds good! I’m curious– do you mean the baklava is shaped differently? Like rolled in cylinders, open-face tart-shaped circles, or squares with tucked in corners? Or does it also have different ingredients?

      • March 20, 2013 3:59 am

        Hi Allison,
        -I am surprised that I did not respond to your above question. I may have missed your comment. I’m sorry.
        -I came to this post to let you know that I finally/just posted Iranian style Baklava recipe (and a Baklava Cake recipe). The photos should answer your questions.

      • March 21, 2013 10:32 am

        Thanks, Fae! (And no worries about missing the comment!) :)

        I’m excited to see your Iranian style Baklava recipe– I’ll go check it out now!

  12. September 17, 2012 12:36 pm

    Looks great….and nice recipe. We need to start making our own, such a tasty dish..

  13. September 17, 2012 12:37 pm

    Best of luck to all giveaway entrants :D
    This baklava looks incredible, perfect in flavour and look!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  14. September 17, 2012 2:45 pm

    This looks simply perfect. I love all the flaky layers and the gorgeous bubbly top.

  15. Nicole permalink
    September 17, 2012 4:45 pm

    So delicious! Naked and Cinnalmonds for me!

  16. September 18, 2012 12:02 am

    Hi! I’ve just started following your blog. I would like Naked and Rosemary Blistered. :)

  17. September 18, 2012 1:34 am

    Those seriously look amazing. I need one now!! I always think Baklava is like biting into pancakes with maple syrup. Absolutely irresistible!! And I have a total almond obsession. So cool you have family who grow almonds!

    • September 18, 2012 9:38 am

      I know, it’s very cool! (Though it’s friends, not family, who own the farm!)

  18. September 18, 2012 9:53 am

    I LOVE baklava. 2 years ago my son studied Greece in school. They have to do a presentation of some sort. Of course we did food (duh) an I MADE him choose baklava! LOL This recipe sounds delish, I can’t wait to try it!!

  19. September 18, 2012 10:02 am

    WHOOPS, got so excited over the baklava I forgot about the nuts! I would love the garlic and herb flavor and the rosemary flavor :D

  20. September 18, 2012 10:21 am

    I would totally go for Garlic-herb and Cinnalmond! I love almonds!

  21. September 18, 2012 10:22 am

    I would go for Garlic-herb and Cinnalmond!

  22. September 18, 2012 10:47 am

    Oh, my gosh that baklava looks amazing! Especially in that close up photo!! I’ve pinned it as a recipe to try:D

  23. Daisy permalink
    September 18, 2012 11:44 am

    Mmmmmm…another awesome recipe! Can’t wait to try this. Flavors: Garlic and herbs, honey roasted with coconut.

  24. September 18, 2012 12:54 pm

    Since I am Greek I was raised eating baklava! Actually my family has a special way to make it! This is a beautiful baklava you made and since it was your first time then I would say it was a huge success!

    • September 19, 2012 8:43 am

      Thanks, I just checked out your blog and your baklava recipe! :) It looks delicious… maybe I will try that rolled (instead of layered) version next time.

  25. Jessica permalink
    September 18, 2012 1:59 pm

    Yay for baklava and for giveaways! “Ass Kick’n” Ginger and Cinnalmonds sound delicious!

  26. munchhealthy permalink
    September 18, 2012 3:57 pm

    Your pics are great! My Lebanese grandmother used to make baklava all the time. This recipe sounds fantastic, I’m definitely going to try it. Thanks!

    • September 19, 2012 8:44 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you’re planning to give it a try!

  27. September 18, 2012 5:16 pm

    Honey Roasted and Garlic and Herbs both sound great to me.

  28. Kelly Hunt permalink
    September 18, 2012 8:42 pm

    Hello from New Zealand! Our choice of almonds is very limited so I am keeping fingers and toes crossed to win your give away.

    It was a tough choice, but I would pick Cinalmonds and Blistered Cajun

  29. Barbara Stewart permalink
    September 18, 2012 8:44 pm

    Liked! Cinnalmonds and Rosemary Blistered sound the best to me.

  30. Yessie permalink
    September 19, 2012 5:42 am

    Im a college student who loves to cook and bake. My weakness has always been baklava but it’s always seemed really intimidating despite my confidence and successes in the kitchen; however, I just bought a 5lb bag of raw almonds to make macarons and now have one more recipe to try when I get home!

    Thank you for sharing- cant wait to try it!

    As for the giveaway, I definitely have a soft spot for sweetened nuts. I’m going to have to go with cinnalmond and honey roasted with coconut :)

  31. September 19, 2012 4:06 pm

    Mmmm, glad this recipe is still giving back! I have many happy memories of my mom making it while I was growing up.

    I’d love the Rosemary Blistered almonds if I win, please. :)

  32. September 20, 2012 10:47 am

    Hi! Wow – what a lot of comments you are getting! I think the recipe sounds absolutely divine! I would love to try any of the almond flavors but if I have to choose – Rosemary and/or Naked would be my choices. Thanks

  33. September 22, 2012 4:28 am

    I adore good baklava and this recipe looks marvelous!

  34. Rachel permalink
    September 23, 2012 5:29 pm

    You have brought my love of baklava and almonds together! Yum-o!

    If I win I want Rosemary and honey roasted w/ coconut! Sounds so good:)

  35. September 27, 2012 9:25 am

    this looks unbelievable!

  36. October 9, 2012 7:59 am

    This recipe will be on my “indulge” list, for a special occasion. Love, love, almonds, the smell, the taste, so nutritious! All my body creams and oils are almond based. Kudos for your first giveaway!

  37. October 18, 2012 12:35 am

    Absolute perfection. Love the twist on using pistachios or cashews.

    • October 31, 2012 9:55 am

      Thanks! I love baklava made with pistachios especially, but the almonds worked wonderfully here, especially with some walnuts mixed in, and with the cinnamon.

  38. October 29, 2012 8:10 pm

    Wow Allison! This looks so delicious! I love baklava but never dared to try it at home. I hope ,will try it from here someday!

    • October 31, 2012 9:56 am

      You should try it! It’s actually pretty easy to make– it just takes a little time! (Especially when you’re stopping to take photos every two seconds like I was…)

      • October 31, 2012 7:46 pm

        Yes, I really hope to try it out soon as it is festival time here. And for taking photos, it happens to me too…(I guess it is side-effect of blogging LOL!)

  39. July 8, 2013 10:27 pm

    It looks so delicious! I LOVE baklava and yours looks so moist!Yummy!!!!

  40. August 28, 2013 8:24 pm

    Almonds are my favorite snack. I would love to try the Baklava! It looks sinful! If I win, I’d like to try the coconut almonds.

    • August 29, 2013 8:31 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! The giveaway was actually from Sept. last year (2012), so it’s no longer open, but I do hope you get to try my baklava recipe or my friends’ almonds sometime! :)

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