Chocolate Baklava with Chocolate Glaze:
2 c. unsalted butter
4 c. pecans, finely chopped
2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
¾ c. sugar, divided
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 (16-oz. or 454 g) package phyllo pastry (in your grocer’s freezer case)
¾ c. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Clarify the butter. (To do this, melt butter over low heat. Cool several minutes before skimming and discarding white foam that forms on top. Do not use any milky residue that sinks to bottom. The resulting clear yellow liquid is clarified butter) Brush a 12x18-inch cookie sheet with clarified butter. In a medium bowl, combine pecans, cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted chocolate chips. mixing well. Set aside.
Unroll sheets of phyllo pastry on work surface, covering with a clean, damp towel to prevent them from drying out as you work. Roughly divide phyllo pastry into three separate piles. Layer one-third of phyllo sheets onto cookie sheet (I’m a butter “dabber” rather than a “brusher” - fewer calories! Not that it matters … I’m already on the fast track to oleaginous hell)
Evenly spread half the chocolate-nut mixture over the stacked sheets of phyllo. Place a sheet of phyllo over the chocolate-nut mixture, dabbing with butter as before. Continue to stack and dab the next third of phyllo sheets. Spread with rest of chocolate-nut mixture. Top with remaining third of phyllo, dabbing each sheet with butter.
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry with tip of sharp knife into 50 diamond-shaped pieces (To do that, score phyllo diagonally from one corner to opposite corner without cutting through to filling; make parallel cuts 1-inch apart to edge. Repeat in opposite direction to form diamonds). Brush top sheet of phyllo with remaining clarified butter. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden.
About 30 minutes before baklava has finished baking, combine remaining ½ cup sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour hot orange syrup over hot baklava as soon as it is removed from oven. Let stand until completely cool, 4 hours or overnight. When baklava is cool, drizzle Thin Chocolate Glaze on top. Allow glaze to set before serving. Cover and store four-to-five days at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.
Thin Chocolate Glaze:
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
In a small glass bowl, combine chocolate, butter, and 1 tbsp. water. Heat in the microwave on high 30 to 45 seconds, or until melted and smooth when stirred.