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November 08, 2018



Brownie and Things Baklava with fudgy layers of brownie, walnuts, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chip cookie dough is decadent and delicious!! It's sure to be the talk at the dessert table!

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I am a little late in getting this post up, but I had to tweak the baklava recipe before sharing it with you. The first trial tasted great but it needed work visually. I made some adjustments with the second batch. It looked wonderful but was off the charts sweet. Finally, the third trial was just right. Goldilocks (me) was a happy girl, and you are in for a treat!

This baklava has gooey and fudgy layers of brownie on the inside. The outside is flaky, light and crispy, thanks to paper thin layers of buttered phyllo dough and a coating of agave nectar syrup. That alone would be pretty tasty, but why stop there? In addition to all the brownie goodness is a layer each of cookie dough, mini marshmallows, and crunchy walnuts! I'm telling you, this is amazing!


Typically, when making baklava, you would want to cut the sheets of phyllo dough to fit snuggly in the baking pan. But for this particular one, I don't recommend trimming. The filling for baklava are usually dry ingredients. This recipe uses uncooked brownie batter, which gets you that glorious fudginess. But as brownie batter tends to do, they rise and spread. Having excess phyllo around the edges help contain the brownie and prevents it from oozing out. The phyllo I use come in 9" x 14" sheets and the baking pan is 9" x 13", so the little bit of excess works out well. I like that the rumpled edges help prevent the brownie from leaking out. Plus, I love the light and crispy crunch of the excess phyllo.

This baklava also deviates from a typical baklava in another aspect. In a standard recipe, the baklava is scored into serving size pieces prior to baking. I made the mistake of doing that with the first batch. What resulted was a bit of a mess caused by the expansion of the brownie during baking. It oozed out in all the crevices and displaced the top layers of the phyllo dough! I kind of saw that coming, but wishful thinking won over better judgement at the time, so I made the cut before baking. Learn from my mistake...score the baklava after it is baked.

The tradeoff for scoring the baklava after it is baked is you won't get nice clean cuts. Since the layers of the phyllo dough are flaky and crispy, the cuts are somewhat jagged. Using a serrated knife and wiping it clean between each cut make for cleaner cuts. What is important is the taste, and if you were to bite into this baklava, you would forgive me for the slight imperfection! 


In terms of sweetness, this is right up there, as baklavas tend to be. As I mentioned, trial two was WAAAAAY too sweet, so much so that I could not eat more than a couple bites at a time. To tone down the excessive sweetness, I switched from using unsalted to salted butter. The latter tones down the sweetness and produces a sense of balance. I also added a pinch of salt to the syrup as well as a touch of lemon juice, which cuts through all the sweetness without giving it a distinct lemon flavor.


Baklava is not difficult to make, but the steps are repetitive and time-consuming. Phyllo sheets are so thin that they dry out quickly. There are many layers of the phyllo, so having everything ready to go once you are ready to assemble makes it easy. To ensure that it is, keep the below in mind:

  • Defrost phyllo in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Leave at room temperature at least 30 minutes prior to use to allow the sheets to separate with ease.
  • Keep the phyllo sheet covered with plastic wrap, then cover the plastic wrap with slightly dampen  kitchen towel. This prevents the phyllo from drying out
  • Lightly brush each phyllo with melted butter as you layer. This not only adds deliciousness but also prevents the phyllo from drying out.
  • Work quickly once assembling begins.

For baklava with fudgy brownie layers, it is important not to over bake. Bake about 45 minutes or until the phyllo is crispy and golden. Over baking will result in a dryer brownie layer.

The next time you want to bring something delicious, decadant, and new to the dessert table, make these!!

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1 pound package phyllo sheets (14 x 9 inch each)
12 tablespoons SALTED butter, melted
1 1/2 cup prepared brownie batter*
1 cup walnut, chopped fine to medium coarseness
1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chocolate chip cookie dough*

For the syrup:
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/16 teaspoon salt
2  teaspoons lemon juice


Working with the phyllo: Defrost phyllo dough 24 hours in the refrigerator. Leave out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before use. When ready to use, remove phyllo from package. Cover with plastic wrap then cover it with a slightly dampen kitchen towel. Remove 2 phyllo sheets at a time as you work, covering the reminder.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly brush butter onto the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with 11 sheets of phyllo, lightly buttering the top of each sheet. Spread on half of the brownie batter, leaving the outer 1/2-inch border brownie free.

Add 6 sheets of phyllo lightly buttering the top of each sheet. Spread walnuts then marshmallows over the top.

Add 6 sheets of phyllo lightly buttering the top of each sheet. Spread the remaining half of the brownie batter over the top.

Add 6 sheets of phyllo lightly buttering the top of each sheet. Pinch off cookie dough into tiny pieces and evenly place on top, leaving a 1/2 inch outer border of the cookie dough free.

Add 11 sheets of phyllo, buttering the top of each sheet, making sure the top couple layers are thoroughly brushed with butter. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until the phyllo is crispy and golden. For fudgy brownie layers, do not over bake.

About 15 minutes before the baklava is done baking, prepare the syrup. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir in agave nectar, lemon juice, and salt. Once hot, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Remove the baklava from oven. Spoon 1/3 of the glaze over the top. Use a serrated knife to cut about 24 square or diagonal slices using a sawing motion. Be gentle as the phyllo will break easily. Avoid touching the phyllo as it will stick to your fingers. Wipe the knife clean after each cut for better results.

Spoon the remainder syrup onto phyllo, making sure to get the syrup in the cracks and edges. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 6 hours prior to serving. Cover lightly with a paper towel, without making contact with the baklava, is optional.

Best eaten within 24 hours. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Makes about 24 servings.

Recipe Notes:

  1. * Use fudgy brownie batter of your choosing. Only 1 1/2 cup is needed for this recipe. 
  2. *Use cookie dough batter of your choosing. Only 3/4 cup is needed for this recipe.
  3. When spreading brownie batter onto the phyllo dough, make sure to leave the outer 1/2-inch border brownie free to prevent it from oozing outward as it bakes.
  4. Reheat butter, if needed, to make it easy to brush onto the phyllo.
  5. You may not use all of the butter, depending on how much you use on the phyllo. It's best to go light on the butter for the inner layers and heavier on the top layers.

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October 28, 2018



This skillet cooked sausage, butternut, and spinach side dish is not only perfect for fall but it is also a great accompaniment for any holiday meal. With toasted pumpkin seeds and cracker crumb topping for added texture and crunch, it is sure to satisfy.  

Skillet Sausage Butternut and Spinach with Crumb Topping
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What is your favorite way to have butternut squash? My go-to is mashed with cinnamon, butter, and a touch of sugar. It might be a little boring to you, but it always hits the spot for me!

This latest creation is anything but boring. Tender chunks of butternut give a touch of sweetness that balances the saltiness of the Italian sausage. Silky spinach adds nutrition and a pop of color while toasted pumpkin seeds provide a snappy crunch. Finally, cracker crumb topping adds texture, butteriness, and nuttiness. Doesn't that sound like the making of a great dish? 

October 18, 2018



Make the next popcorn snack a rosemary, garlic and Marcona almonds one! This simple Spanish influenced treat is a cinch to make. Tips are included for perfectly popped popcorn, every time. 

Rosemary Garlic Popcorn with Marcona Almonds
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Do you ever wake up with a song stuck in your head? It happens to me a lot. The song starts in my sleep and continues to play as I wake. Sometimes it would be an obscure one that I haven't heard since high school. Other times, it would be one that I don't particularly care for but can't seem to "shake it off". (<-- See how I worked that in there? Sorry. Just couldn't resist the temptation! It is a fine song, and SHE is one talented songwriter.)

October 07, 2018



Store bought pizza dough is turned into everything bagel pretzels for these delicious cheesy hot dogs. They are perfect for lunch, snack, or make them mini size for a great appetizer!

Everything Bagel Pretzel Cheese Dogs
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I have wanted to make pretzel dogs for a while but never got around to doing it until now. I love it and plan to make these babies all the time!! Using store bought pizza dough makes the process a breeze!