Chocolate Baklava

By Chef Vincent Tropepe

  • 1 pound hazelnuts 
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon 
  • 1 pound phyllo dough 
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1 1/2 cups honey 
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, until the skins are blistered; let cool. Leave the oven on. Transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub off the skins, then transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Step 2 Add the chocolate, 2/3 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon to the food processor and pulse until the chocolate and nuts are finely chopped and the same size.
  • Step 3 Unwrap the phyllo and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Butter and stack 8 sheets of phyllo. Trim the edges. Ease the stack into the pan. Sprinkle about 2 cups of the filling over the phyllo. Butter and stack 2 more phyllo sheets; fold them in half crosswise and place over the filling. Sprinkle on another 2 cups of the filling. Top with 2 more buttered, folded sheets and 2 cups of filling. Butter and stack 3 more phyllo sheets, fold them in half and place over the filling. Fold in the overhanging phyllo on top and brush generously with butter. Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut the baklava (through the top and bottom) into 3-inch squares (there will be a bit left on one long side). Cut each square in half to make triangles.
  • Step 4 Bake the baklava for 25 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 300° and bake for 50 minutes longer, until golden.
  • Step 5 In a saucepan, bring the water, honey and the remaining 2 cups of sugar to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Immediately ladle the hot syrup over the hot baklava and let stand until completely cool, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

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