Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do. Fueled by butterbeans & collard greens.

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On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   No comments
This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.


40 Bloggers from around North America have shown you their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to cakes, danish, tarts, and pizzas - with 170 recipes, there has been something for everyone! Our amazing sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. And I want you to make sure you enter, because if you don't enter, you CAN'T WIN!

Today I'm bringing you the last dish of #BrunchWeek and I could not be more proud. As you're reading this, I am in the middle of a 7-day, 6-night solo trip to Paris. I am here by myself and I could not be happier. I have traveled alone, but never to Europe and I'm doing it right. I'll be posting pics and travel tips next week, but for now I am about to tell you about my brunch piece de resistance: Almond Banana Baklava


I've got a confession to make: I've actually never eaten Baklava before. Never. Ever.

You all know I'm allergic to nuts and traditional baklava is made with pistachios and sometimes walnuts. Lured by the promise of buttery, flaky layers of phyllo dough held together with sweet syrup and honey, I've been missing out all of these years. 




Almonds are another nut I'm allergic to (even though they're really seeds and kin to the peach) but for some reason, I can touch almonds and the smell of them toasting doesn't send me into a coughing fit or to the hospital. But why in THE HELL would I make an allergen-filled item and post it on my blog?


It's simple: I like a challenge. And I've always been a lover of Greek cuisine and I got to make simple syrup and flavor it with rosewater. ROSEWATER, Y'ALL! Rosewater courtesy of Nielssen-Massey. And even though I can't eat it, I did section off a little corner of the pan with just banana and it brought a tear to my eye when I bit into it. Hopefully the same will happen for you, when you make this. 

I used dried banana chips to match the texture of the nuts, but you can get fancy and use another fruit, if you like. I think I'd use toasted sliced almonds next time, because from what I remember (when I could enjoy nut products, 25 years ago) almonds are kind of bland. BUT! Adding salt to your brown sugar mixture may ramp it up a bit.


Almond Banana Baklava 

1 (1-lb.) pkg. frozen phyllo dough
8 oz. dried banana chips
1/2 cup Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) plus 3 tbsp. butter, divided
About 1 lb. (about 4 c.) almonds, sliced, untoasted
2 tsp. cinnamon


Syrup:
1 cup water 
2 cups Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey  
2 tsp. Nielsen-Massey rose water 


  1. Thaw the phyllo sheets according to package directions.
  2. Combine banana chips, 1/2 cup of sugar, almonds and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Prepare the syrup: place sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow the syrup to boil 2-3 minutes without stirring. Add the lemon juice and continue boiling for 10 minutes until it is a light, syrupy consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the orange blossom and rose waters. Set aside.

  1. Brush an 11-by 17-inch or 10-by 15-inch raised-edge baking pan with melted butter.
  2. Just barely dampen a few paper towels or a dish towel to cover the phyllo sheets. Remove the phyllo from the refrigerator, unroll it and trim the stack of sheets to the size of the prepared pan. Immediately cover the stack of phyllo with the damp cloth. Always keep the stack covered. Phyllo dries out very quickly.

  1. Lay one sheet of phyllo into the pan. Brush it with melted butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Continue with 4 more sheets. 
  2. After the sixth sheet is brushed with butter, evenly cover with 1/3 of the banana almond mixture. Top with two more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter, then sprinkle the top sheet evenly with a generous 1/2 cup of the almond banana mixture. Continue until almost all the sheets of phyllo are used, brushing each sheet with butter and topping every second sheet with the nut mixture. The last two or three sheets (depending on how it works out) should not have nut mixture, only butter.
  3. With a sharp knife, cut the baklava into diamond shapes. Make a series of cuts about an inch apart all along the length of the pan, then make a series of diagonal cuts (across the pan) about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Pour the syrup all over the hot baklava. Set aside to cool and hold its shape. Serve at room temperature.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Apple Berry Smoothie from The Nifty Foodie
Apple Brunch Punch from Cooking With Carlee

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Danish Braid from The Redhead Baker
Berry & Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Citrus-Apple-Berry Compote from Sweet Beginnings
Buckwheat and Cheddar Waffles from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby from Palatable Pastime
Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Bake from The Chef Next Door
English Muffins from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Iced Berry Breakfast Braid from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Mixed Berry Sweet Rolls from Cookaholic Wife
The Best Yeasted Waffles from The Barbee Housewife

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Asparagus Pizza from Feeding Big
Breakfast Empanadas from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Brunch Mac 'n Cheese with Fried Eggs from Love and Confections
Seriously Sharp Grilled Cheese with Gazpacho Shooters from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Green Bean and Potato Salad from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Individual Swiss and Asparagus Tarts from Family Around the Table
Mesclun Salad with Grilled Asparagus & Raspberries from Hardly A Goddess
Sweet Potato Hash from Brunch-n-Bites

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Almond Banana Baklava from Nik Snacks
Mini Apple Pies from Forking Up

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.
On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   No comments
This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.


Words


1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

FILLING
1 1/2 cups sliced Lady Alice apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons clarified butter

GLAZE:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon milk


  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  2.  Stir in the yeast mixture, milk and eggs until blended. 
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead about 20 times (dough will be sticky). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 
  4. For filling, combine the apple slices, brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into an 18-in. x 15-in. rectangle; brush with butter. Spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. 
  5. Starting with a short side, fold a third of the dough over filling; repeat with other side, making a 15-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Pinch seams to seal. Cut each into 15 slices. Fold each slice, forming a triangle. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. 
  6. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over Danish pastry. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blackberry Mint Bellinis from Sweet Beginnings
Cardamom Rose Cocktail from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Lemon & Blueberry Mocktail from Girl Abroad
Mango Pina Colada from The Spiffy Cookie

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheesy Asparagus Bacon Quiche from The Nifty Foodie
Creamed Asparagus Omelet from Wholistic Woman
Eggs in Hell from kimchi MOM
Roasted Asparagus and Cheddar Frittata from My Catholic Kitchen
Spring Veggie Quiche from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Cream Cheese Danish from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Apple Cinnamon Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Apple Waffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
Banana Bread Pancakes from Love and Confections
Brown Sugar Poptarts from Big Bear's Wife
Creme Brulee French Toast from The Barbee Housewife
Cherry Almond Coffee Cake from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Yeast Rolls from Family Around the Table
Cinnamon Apple Danish from Nik Snacks
Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake from Books n' Cooks

Mocha Eclairs from The Redhead Baker


BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Country Skillet from Feeding Big
Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melts from Cookaholic Wife
Yumbo Sliders from Cindy's Recipes and Writings

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Rhubarb Crunch from Cooking with Carlee

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Apple Crisp Ice Cream from From Gate to Plate
Biscuit Bar with Flavored Sugars from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake from Hardly A Goddess
Thumbprint Donuts from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures


Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   1 comment
This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.


Greens, Eggs and Ham Burrito 

When coming up with dishes for #BrunchWeek, I thought about what things I'd most like to make for myself to eat and came up with some pretty baller ideas. Actually, everything I make and post for Nik Snacks are things I most want to eat. I don't cook things I don't like but I REALLY hope you like this one.


#BrunchWeek is in full effect and for the 2nd year in a row, I'm participating. I want YOU to participate, too! Enter to win a cadre of prizes furnished by #BrunchWeek's generous sponsors by clicking HERE. Just scroll down a bit and then you'll get to the good part: the contest!

She doesn't know it yet, but I made this burrito in honor of my best friend, Maggie. She was born on Dr. Seuss' birthday and celebrates herself and him, every year, by dressing up like the Cat in the Hat for her students at the elementary school where she teaches. If she can put on a hat, gloves and funny nose, I can dress up a burrito, right?


A fun take on the Dr. Seuss classic, "Green Eggs And Ham", I took liberty with this new brunch dish by using greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip, cress are most popular but hearty salad greens like romaine or frisée will do the trick in a pinch), scrambled eggs, ham (in the form of prosciutto--because I do not ham, said Sam I am) wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and topped with a sharp white cheddar sauce made with Cabot Sharp White Cheddar.
I'm not going to tel you how to scramble some eggs or fold up a burrito, but I WILL share my Cheddar cheese sauce super secret ingredient: Wondra flour. It's superfine flour that helps make sauces and gravies thicken up without fear of lumps or unpleasant starchy flavor from uncooked flour. It's now a staple in my kitchen and now my secret is yours to tell.
1/4 cup clarified butter
1/4 cup Wondra flour
2 cups milk
4 ounces shredded or sliced Cabot Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Salt and white pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and salt until smooth; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese.

Add salsa, guacamole, black bean and corn salad, a fruit salad or even some creamy southern grits and you'll have a nice item to add to your next brunch menu.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Almond Joy Iced Coffee from Hardly A Goddess
Rose Water & St. Germain Champagne Cocktail from The Barbee Housewife

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Asparagus Topped Eggs with Hats from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Eggs Benedict Quiche from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Huevos Gratinados from Palatable Pastime

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Banana Streusel Bread from Family Around the Table
Blueberry & Lemon Pull-Apart Bread from Girl Abroad
German Apple Pancake from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Overnight Raspberry French Toast from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
Peach Custard Tart from The Redhead Baker
Pecan Gingerbread Buns from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Pineapple Sweet Rolls from Cooking with Carlee
Raspberry and Chocolate Grilled Cheese from Brunch-n-Bites
Ricotta Crostini with Pickled Apples from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Sourdough Waffles from My Catholic Kitchen
Southwestern Style Farro Breakfast Bowl from Cooking in Stilettos


BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Green, Eggs and Ham Burrito from Nik Snacks

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Apple & Grape Breakfast Salad from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Broccoli Soup from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Fully Loaded Stuffed Potatoes from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Champagne Pound Cake with Rose Water Frosting from Sweet Beginnings
Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits from Cookaholic Wife
Lemon No Bake Cheesecake from Feeding Big
Rose Water Vanilla Bean Layer Cake from Love and Confections

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.

On 7:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   2 comments

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.


Grilled PBJ with Bacon and White Cheddar




I have a little secret.


Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly with Bacon and White Cheddar
Ingredients
  • 2 slices French loaf or sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked crisp
  • 4 slices sharp white Cheddar cheese

Spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread.
Spread peanut butter on bottom slice of bread.
Top with bacon and cheese slices.
Close with top slice of bread and press closed.
Grill over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cheese is melted.


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, lay a slice of cheese over the peanut butter, and top with the remaining slice of bread. Spread butter on the outer sides of the sandwich, and place in the hot skillet. Fry on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Well, it's not really a secret, because I end up telling EVERYONE I meet: I'm severely allergic to nuts. Tree nuts, ground nuts, avocados and peaches are not on the menu for me, but seeds are OK. I am so blessed to be able to cook my own food, because I have to be very careful with packaged foodstuffs and eating at others' homes. Over the years, I've become adept at recognizing a nut and dishes that are commonly made with them. Pie crusts, pestos, pilafs (notice a pattern?) are the worst offenders. 



I've flipped the script today by posting a TOTAL ALLERGY ALERT dish in my blog. It's like, a Cardinal sin. I told you yesterday that I don't cook things I don't like to eat and here I am talking about ::whispers:: peanut butter. But I really didn't.



I used a secret weapon. I couldn't have dreamed up a better sandwich. I used Cookie Butter or Speculoos as a substitute for peanut butter. It's a little sweeter and totally addictive, like Nutella, but it pairs well with crispy, smoky bacon and grape jelly which matches the intensity of sliced white cheddar like a chorus of a song. Wheat bread, white bread, Texas Toast or even a pocket pita are the perfect vehicles to hold in all of the unexpected flavor of this brunch item.  photo IMG_3585.jpg
Potato chips, fruit salad, side salad or even some crispy potatoes will pair perfectly with this sandwich.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Apple Bourbon Bellini from Girl Abroad
Pineapple Citrus Smoothie from It Bakes Me Happy
Southern Spiked Mango Iced Tea from The Crumby Cupcake

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Asparagus and Cheese Omelette from Gluten Free Crumbley
Cheddar Asparagus Mini Quiche from Amy's Cooking Adventures
Prosciutto Eggs Cups from The Chef Next Door

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Chop Bread from A Day in the Life of the Farm
Apple Cinnamon Buns from Books n' Cooks
Apple Lekvar Sweet Rolls from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Apple Pie Bread from Cooking in Stilettos
Apricot Danishes from Sarcastic Cooking
Braided Apple Ginger Danish from The Spiffy Cookie
Bourbon Banana Waffles from Forking Up
Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Crispy Apple Cheesecake Danish from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Easy Popovers with Honey Butter from Hardly A Goddess
Glazed Cinnamon Buns from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Orange Sweet Rolls from From Gate to Plate
Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Rolls from Wholistic Woman
Ultimate Cheese Muffins from Jane's Adventures in Dinner

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Monte Cristo Brunch Sliders from Sweet Beginnings
Steak and Eggs Oscar Style from The Redhead Baker

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Aloo Tiki with Apple-Tamarind Chutney from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Asparagus Salad from Cookaholic Wife
Asparagus Caprese Salad from The Barbee Housewife
Bacon Cheddar Hash Brown Cups from Pink Cake Plate
Cheesy Potato Asparagus Tart from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Garlic Roasted New Potato and Asparagus Salad from An Edible Mosaic

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Chocolate Rose Truffles from Cooking with Carlee
Coffee Almond Fudge from Family Around the Table


Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Nielsen-Massey, Rainier Fruit, and Michigan Asparagus for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social channel mentioned in the #Brunchweek posts or entry.