Κουραμπιέδες / Sugar Free Shortbread Cookies

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Ingredients:
2 sticks + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
10 tablespoons Splenda no calorie sweetener
1 egg yolk
1/4teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add butter, sweetener, salt, egg yolk and extracts. Mix until fully combined.

Sift in half of the flour and mix until smooth. Sift in the rest of the flour and continue to mix until the flour is fully combined.

Fold in almonds and walnuts. Mix until the nuts are evenly dispersed within the Dough.

Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of batter and shape it into a round cookie with your hands (5 millimeters / 1/2 inches in thickness). Continue to work on the rest of the dough in the same manner. Place a whole clove in the center of each cookie.

Place cookies 1 inch apart on the parchment paper.

Place the cookies on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden. Transfer cookies to a wooden surface or rack to cool down.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

P.S. Remove the clove before eating. Eat in one bite. Cookies are very tender and crumbly. If you sift on powdered sugar while cookies are still warm, they will taste like authentic Kourambiethes, but, alas, they will no longer be sugar free!

Μπακλαβά / Baklava

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I’m told that my baklava recipe is the best ever. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed in this delectable pastry.

1-16 ounce package of frozen phyllo dough
1 1/2 pounds pecans
1/2 pound almonds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 pounds melted butter

Syrup Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

Finely chop nuts in a food processor with 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Let phyllo dough come to room temperature in its plastic bag. Carefully unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a slightly dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan. Brush thoroughly with melted butter. Repeat until you have 10 sheets layered. Sprinkle nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 8 – 10 sheets deep and brushed with butter.

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows and then make the diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Make honey syrup while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water with a stick of cinnamon, ten whole cloves, lemon juice and lemon zest until sugar is melted. Add honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately pour syrup over it, distributing evenly over the pan. Let cool.