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updated 12/17/2010 3:59:45 PM ET 2010-12-17T20:59:45

Recipe: Baklava cups

  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 boxes mini filo shells, 15 shells each
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange pistachios, walnuts and almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, which takes about eight minutes. Let nuts cool slightly and add to a food processor along with the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt and vanilla and pulse to combine.

Place mini fillo shells in wells of two mini cupcake pans. Add 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into each shell. Bake until filling is hot, which takes about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the water, 1/4 cup sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, which takes between eight and 10 minutes. Pour 1 teaspoon syrup into each cup and allow it to soak in, then repeat with another teaspoon. Refrigerate at least five hours, or overnight.

Serving Size

Yields 30 pieces

Recipe: Grandma's red velvet cake

  • For the cake batter:
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 ounces red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • Butter, for pan
  • For the frosting:
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, make a paste out of the red food coloring, cocoa and salt. Remove bowl from stand mixer and mix in paste by hand to the creamed butter. In a measuring cup, stir eggs with buttermilk and add to batter. Mix in vinegar and vanilla, and then add flour and baking soda. Mix until combined but do not overmix.

Butter a sheet pan. Lay parchment on top. Butter the parchment. Pour batter into pan and smooth the top to even the batter out, using an offset spatula. Bake cake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Heat all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk until sauce thickens, which takes about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before using.

Invert cake onto a cutting board and slice into quarters from the longer side. To assemble cake, spread one of the quarters with some of the frosting to cover. Sprinkle with a quarter of the pecans. Add another layer of cake and repeat. Continue until last layer is added. Frost the top of that and sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Serving Size

Yields 10 to 12 servings

Recipe: Hazelnut pumpkin pie

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut creamer, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make crust, mix graham crackers, sugar, 1 tablespoon of hazelnut creamer and butter until combined. Press into a 9- to 10-inch springform pan or cake pan, making sure to press mixture up the sides and bottom as well; set aside.

For filling, in a large bowl mix in order cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs 1 by 1 and pumpkin puree. In a small cup stir remaining 2 tablespoons of hazelnut creamer, allspice and salt into heavy cream. Pour heavy cream mixture into pumpkin mixture and blend until combined. Pour into crust and bake for 35 minutes or until the center sets. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Serving Size

Yields 30 pieces

Recipe: Hot spiced buttered rum

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 4 ounces dark rum
  • 4 long cinnamon sticks

In a small bowl mix the butter with the sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until thoroughly combined.

Warm the pineapple juice in a medium saucepan until very hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in spiced butter until combined.

Divide the rum among four mugs. Pour the pineapple juice into the mugs. Drop a cinnamon stick into each mug to use as a swizzle stick. Serve.

Serving Size

Yields four servings

Video: Great and yummy holiday treats

  1. Closed captioning of: Great and yummy holiday treats

    >>> talking about treats that will be the toast of your holiday party. with us is sunny anderson . host of the food network 's "rooking for real." dessert first. i'm all about it.

    >> that's how i like to order. that's how i like to dream. that's how i like to live. that's what i do.

    >> and you do it well. baklava. that's what we're going to start with?

    >> i love baklava. but it's a lot of work of layering and honey, it's sticky. this is really easy to do for the holidays. always a beautiful presentation. i've got almonds, walnuts, pistachios. i posted them for 350 for about eight minutes or so and leave the oven at 350 because we're going to take the little cups in a second. got some already toasted right here.

    >> butter?

    >> yep, a little melted butter, couple of tablespoons and a few tablespoons of sugar, some vanilla goes in and then i've got some cinnamon, a little bit of the salt, and my lemon zest .

    >> okay.

    >> because i'm going to add a nice note to it. go ahead and start pulverizing like crazy.

    >> that's right.

    >> so basically you pulverize this until it looks like this. kind of like grape-nuts cereal, right?

    >> yeah, it does.

    >> and these little tart cups. i love these.

    >> can you make these?

    >> i did not. they're little mini phyllo cups.

    >> you prebake those first and then put this concoction in there?

    >> actually, these come right out of the container just like this.

    >> seriously?

    >> you don't have to prebake them.

    >> i like that.

    >> it's the holiday. with the turkey and the ham, dessert, even though we're thinking about it first, not a lot of work.

    >> it's good.

    >> so anyway you go ahead and you put little scoops right in here of your pulverized filling of your back lava cups and pop this into the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 so the butter and everything melts together. it comes out and looks like this and i've got a syrup. this is what everyone knows about baklava, it's sticky, sweet and yummy. it's honey, sugar and water and you ladle it right over the top . very easy.

    >> i like that.

    >> it's super simple. i'm not trying to preinvent the wheel, just trying to make it work without squeaking. you know what i mean ?

    >> yummy.

    >> so you go ahead --

    >> and then they're ready to serve?

    >> you could eat it right now. but i have to show a little bit of constraint.

    >> we've got a lot to get to.

    >> i put it in the fridge for about five hours. that allows all the stickiness --

    >> we're going to move to hazel nut pumpkin pie .

    >> a bird told me you like cheese cake and pumpkin cheese cake pie.

    >> you remember.

    >> i do. i love a person who loves to eat. what i have here is my hazel nut pumpkin pie . just like a typical pumpkin pie with a brick of cheese, i call it a brick. cheap crease. then a 15 ounce can of the pumpkin puree. your usual suspects what makes this difference is hazel nut creamer that you usually put in your coffee. you're putting it in the actual batter and you're putting it in the crust that you make.

    >> hey!

    >> how are you?

    >> this is by far --

    >> didn't know you were doing desserts here. i was just walking by.

    >> yeah, right.

    >> happy holidays .

    >> oh.

    >> right?

    >> creamy, smooth.

    >> you want some whipped cream ?

    >> cream cheese . we give you a dollop.

    >> a dollop?

    >> yeah, hook him up. then we've got the red velvet which is also --

    >> this is my grandma's just called to say, you know, and so grandma, happy holidays . and i don't do it in a circle because if i did, it would look like hers but not quite like hers.

    >> what's the frosting on this?

    >> one thing you don't see people do with a cream cheese frosting. my grandma does an old-fashioned roux topping on the stove top , milk, sugar, flour, and a little pinch of --

    >> i don't understand. i'm not following what you're saying.

    >> there you go. a little research.

    >> there you go.

    >> and a little something to wash it all down with.

    >> these are all availal at foodnetwork.com. you can have the recipes, as well. it's not just about eating dessert. you've got to wash it down. this is what i like to call hot toddy big brother . it is a hot, buttered rum. it will cheer the hot and cold. it's got rum in it, of course. butter, some brown sugar . pineapple juice. some pumpkin spice.

    >> wow.

    >> you like?

    >> it's so good.

    >> that's good.

    >> that's amazing.

    >> you like it? it's perfect for watching the game, too, on christmas day . you know, going to get on the couch and cozy up.

    >> i like it. thank you

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