Last month when I was in Hawaii I tasted some extraordinary honey. It's from the ohia lehua flower and the honey has a tropical sweetness unlike any mainland honeys. Then last week I had a bit of inspiration on using some of my macadamia nuts. Why not make a Hawaiian baklava with macadamia nuts, coconut, and Hawaiian honey? Not only did it make perfect sense, but it made delicious baklava!
Roasting the macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Scatter about 1/2 pound of macadamia nuts on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are a golden brown. Remove and cool. Chop finely for the recipe
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
2 cups chopped roasted macadamia nuts
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hawaiian honey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and coconut flakes. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut stack to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.
3. 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 the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.