Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava with Orange Bourbon Honey

chocolate hazelnut baklava

Happy New Year, friends! We’re starting off 2015 with something very rich, chocolate-y, buttery, sticky, sweet, and spiked with bourbon.

Let’s say that again: rich, chocolate-y, buttery, sticky, sweet, and spiked with bourbon.

Is there a better way to welcome in the new year?

If you answered, “how about by being healthy and eating healthy stuff?” then please check out the Featured Recipes on the right hand rail of this blog, and stay tuned for next week’s post.

If you answered, “YES! Let’s eat this and celebrate and be deliriously happy because life is short and O.M.G. chocolate baklava?!?!” then we have three scenarios: 1) we are real life friends, 2) we are internet friends, 3) we are soul mates. Please read on.

chocolate baklava

I made this Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava for my Supper Club girls last month. We had a Middle Eastern themed potluck for our holiday dinner, and (surprise) I volunteered to bring dessert. I had a few cookies in mind and several recipes pinned (we even have a group board for it) but I decided to go with something close to my heart: chocolate. And butter. And a teeny bit of alcohol.

As you guys know, I like desserts laced with alcohol (hello Double Chocolate Cookies with Boozy Cherries, Chocolate Rum and Dulce de Leche Pie, and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pies). This baklava doesn’t immediately taste like bourbon, because the bourbon is mixed in with the honey, and I use just a small amount for the entire batch. But the bourbon definitely adds a little more warmth and depth to each bite.

roasted hazelnuts trader joe's turkish honey
orange blossom water frozen phyllo dough

I loved toasting the hazelnuts and actually enjoyed rubbing off the skins – they blister after you toast the nuts in the oven. I used Turkish honey from Trader Joe’s but you can use any kind of honey. I also added some orange blossom water to the honey bourbon mixture for a little more exotic flavor and scent. I always think of Seville, Spain when I hear orange blossoms, but orange blossom water is also a common ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts. Last but not least, it was my first time using frozen phyllo dough and I have to say that it was as easy as using frozen puff pastry – sure, it was a little more delicate, but with this recipe, it didn’t matter if the sheets tore a little or weren’t aligned with precision.

Even though this chocolate baklava isn’t very traditional or common, it was a lovely ending to our Middle East feast. Check out some of the other dishes we ate that night:

middle east feast

We had Moroccan couscous, harissa roasted carrots with yogurt, dukkah chicken, and shakshuka (poached eggs in tomato sauce) with lamb meatballs (!). Plus shirazi (cucumber salad) and more bottles of wine than the dinner party attendees. We also had some killer appetizers: whipped feta, spicy labne, olives, dates, apricots, cheese, pita chips, sesame chips, ful medames (an Egyptian dish of cooked fava beans and hard boiled eggs) and a delicious gyro dip. That’s right, a dip that tastes just like a gyro – the recipe is from my friend Dan over at The Food in My Beard.

You can only imagine that by the time we were ready for dessert and tea (spiked or not), we were all very happy. This Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava was the perfect ending to a nice dinner with some of my favorite gals. It’s a little slice of heaven.

chocolate hazelnut baklava with orange blossom honey

I first had chocolate baklava at Sofra, a delightful little Middle Eastern cafe here in Boston, and the recipe I used is based on their version. The recipe below has a lot of steps, but don’t be intimidated! This was actually a very easy dessert to make. I just tried to write down all the details and be as specific as possible. The most important thing to remember is that you have to let the baklava rest and soak in the honey for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Yield: 16 large triangles

Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava with Orange Blossom Bourbon Honey


Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1 lb box frozen phyllo dough
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used a mix of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and bittersweet)

Orange Bourbon Honey

1 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup bourbon



  1. Defrost the phyllo dough according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Toast nuts first. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the skins are blistered. Let cool and rub off the skins using a kitchen towel or your fingers. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  4. Make the baklava. Generously butter a 9x13 baking pan (I used a glass pyrex dish, lined with aluminum foil). To make the crust or the base, take two sheets of phyllo and place on baking pan. Generously butter tops and place two more sheets of pyllo on top. Repeat. You'll end up with a total of 6 sheets for the base, with butter in between every 2 sheets.
  5. Combine chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips in a bowl. This is the filling. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the nuts and chocolate on top of the phyllo layers. Take two sheets of phyllo and place on top of hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Generously butter tops. Sprinkle another third of the filling. Repeat. You'll end up with three layers of filling.
  6. The top crust is similar to the base. Take two sheets of phyllo and place over the last layer of filling. Generously butter tops and place two more sheets of pyllo on top. Repeat. You'll end up with a total of 6 sheets for the top crust, with butter in between every 2 sheets. Butter the top of the last phyllo sheets as well.
  7. Using a sharp knife, make 8 squares, then slice each square diagonally and you'll end up with 16 large triangles. This is what I originally did but in hindsight I suggest further slicing each triangle into two, so you'll end up with 32 smaller triangles (closer in size to the traditional baklava pieces you'll see in Middle Easter/Mediterranean restaurants).
  8. Bake the baklava for 30 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 300 F and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Remove baklava from oven and go over your slice marks and re-slice.
  9. Make the orange blossom bourbon honey. In a small saucepan, bring the honey, water, and orange zest into a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add orange blossom water and bourbon and remove from heat. Stir well.
  10. Ladle honey mixture over the baklava and let stand and cool completely, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

If you don't have orange blossom water, just omit and add another teaspoon of orange zest.

If you don't like bourbon, you can replace with rum or brandy. If you would prefer to keep this alcohol free, just omit and increase water by a quarter cup.

Remember to let the baklava rest and soak in the honey mixture for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

chocolate hazelnut baklava with orange bourbon honey

Do you have any favorite Middle Eastern recipes? I’d like to try more this year!



25 Responses to “Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava with Orange Bourbon Honey”

  1. #
    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted January 5, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, what an amazing combination of flavors. Chocolate/orange is my absolute fave. Now that I’m back from maternity leave I finally should have some time to read blogs so I’m glad to catch up here. Happy New Year, Bianca!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Amy, happy new year to you, your hubs, and your baby! I do have a soft spot for chocolate and orange. Or chocolate and alcohol hehehe

  2. #
    Megan posted January 5, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I love, love, love chocolate-hazelnut baklava. Thanks to Oleana for introducing me to it. This version sounds wonderful!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 5, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      I haven’t been to Oleana in so long!

  3. #
    Molly Galler posted January 5, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I live two blocks from Sofra. You can’t go wrong with any of their treats – sweet or savory!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I agree. It must be so nice living so close to it!

  4. #
    Sues posted January 5, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    There is definitely no better way to start the year!! I love baklava as is, but with chocolate hazelnut and orange bourbon honey??? YES.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

      It definitely adds another layer of deliciousness to an already delicious dessert!

  5. #
    Alyssa @ My Sequined Life posted January 6, 2015 at 12:20 am

    These flavors!! I’m such a sucker for baklava, and I looove chocolate + orange. I could eat the whole pan!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

      Thanks, Alyssa! I kinda wanna make another batch right now…

  6. #
    All That I'm Eating posted January 6, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I’ve not tried making baklava but have always wanted to give it a try. Your filling sounds great.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Thank you! It was way easier than I expected, The waiting time was the hardest :)

  7. #
    Meghan posted January 6, 2015 at 9:11 am

    My mouth is watering. This looks SO delicious.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Thanks! I want a slice for breakfast right now… :)

  8. #
    Shannon @ Bake.Frost.Repeat posted January 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    You had me at bourbon….and chocolate…and baklava! Looks incredible.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 7, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Thanks Shannon, it was so good!

  9. #
    Sacha posted January 8, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Love the Sofra/Oleana baklava. You had quite the spread of my favorite foods!

  10. #
    Dana @ Simply Romanesco posted January 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Happy New Year, Bianca!!! This baklava looks absolutely stunning and crazy yummy! Sheer perfection :) There’s no better way to welcome in the new year!

  11. #
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef posted January 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Holy cow. I love baklava but I don’t make it very often because I eat it and then I wear it on my backside for far too long. I don’t think I can resist this chocolate one. :)

  12. #
    Choc Chip Uru posted January 10, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I feel like you have given baklava a makeover, this looks absolutely delicious! It’s is like classy jaffa :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. #
    grace posted January 12, 2015 at 10:33 am

    i never met a baklava i didn’t like (except for one criminally dry batch i had at a random restaurant last year, but we mustn’t speak of that), and i think this looks outstanding! bravo!

  14. #
    Ashley posted January 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Oh my word – this looks amazing! I have wanted to make baklava at home for the longest time … and with that orange bourbon honey???

  15. #
    Chris @ Shared Appetite posted January 16, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Ermagherd… you’re killing me with this! I’m bookmarking this so I remember to make it when I can have a cheat day. That orange bourbon honey… I want to drink it straight up!

  16. #
    Adri @ Life Nourished posted January 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I absolutely love baklava! And anything Middle Eastern… Falafel, shawarma, kibe (specially raw), grape leaves, baba ganoush… but don’t really cook much of it since I have a favorite little spot close by that spoils my cravings. This, I might have to try making tho.

  17. #
    Alicia (foodycat) posted February 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

    That looks superb!

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