I had to do some last minute baking last night and without my all of my standby ingredients I hit the internet in search of a recipe. These blondies are what I went with and they seem to have turned out alright. Here's the thing, I've never baked blondies, I can't even remember eating one, so I'm not really sure if they are any good. Have you ever baked something and served it without any idea of it's tastiness?
We've been making baklava at Christmas for years, it's a simple but impressive dessert. One of those things that looks like way more work than it really is. I'm not sure if this is a particularly authentic recipe but it's tasty so I thought I'd share.
Baklava - makes 60
450 g/1 lb chopped walnuts
5 ml/1 tsp cinnamon
450 g/1 lb butter, melted
450 g/1 lb filo dough (you can find it in the freezer section of our grocery stores)
300 g/1.5 cup sugar
355 ml/1.5 cup water
225 ml/ 1 cup honey
15 ml/ 1 tbsp lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 135C or 275F
Mix the nuts and cinnamon. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with some of the melted butter. Place 8 sheets of filo dough in the pan, brushing each layer with butter. Sprinkle some of the nut mixture over the filo dough. Alternate 1 sheet of plain buttered filo with a sheet of buttered filo with the nut mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Finish by placing 10 sheets of buttered filo on top.
* Cut the baklava with a sharp knife into squares or diamond shapes. You must cut the baklava before baking, if you attempt to cut it after it will crumble.
Bake for 2 hours
As soon as you place the baklava into the oven make the syrup. Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove, add the honey and cool. When the baklava is finished baking immediately pour the cooled syrup on top. Let stand overnight.
Over time we've halved the amount of sugar called for in the original recipie, if you don't find the syrup sweet enough you can always increase the sugar. The neatest way to store the finished baklava is in airtight containers. Slip each piece into a muffin liner and stack inside tupperware or a cookie tin for gift giving. They'll be ready to eat right from the box.
I baked some more carrot muffins last night and paid attention to the measurements so I could share the recipe today. I tend to cut the sugar in half or just use honey but I thought I should share the basic version that works without fail. These muffins freeze really well and make a great quick breakfast if you're running late.
Carrot Muffins ~ makes 24
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups oil
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated raw carrots
2 cups chopped nuts
2 cups dried cranberries, soaked in warm water and drained
Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix eggs, sugar and oil. Add dry and wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in carrots, nuts, cranberries and any other extras.
Line or grease muffin cups and add about 3 tablespoons (or use a #20 scoop) or batter. Bake for 20-25 min.
A few weeks ago I found these adorable Christmas themed Chinese take-out boxes at a craft store. Food-safe and lined they seemed like the perfect alternative to the ubiquitous cookie tin. The simple garland design is my favorite but I grabbed a verity knowing they'd soon be filled with holiday treats.
I have a friend who makes rum balls and Nanaimo bars every year like clockwork, very organised and very tasty. Unfortunately I don't have a go to set of Christmas cookies so I fiddled around on the internet until I came up with a few that sounded interesting and added in some standards. Since I knew I wouldn't have much time the only rule was no rolling out of dough or fancy decorating.
On Sunday afternoon after church I baked four batches of cookies and filled each box with an assortment. There were Cranberry Orange Cookies (without the icing), Snikerdoodles (rolled in green sugar instead of white), Whipped Shortbread, and Rolo Chocolate Cookies. At the end of the Christmas party yesterday everyone went home with a box of cookies and the rejects are at home waiting to be nibbled on.
Last night I baked zucchini muffins for easy breakfasts for the next few weeks. I used this recipe for zucchini bread with a few changes. Apple sauce instead of oil, dried cranberries instead of raisins and they're obviously muffins instead of bread so I only baked them for about 20 minutes. Next time I'll add more zucchini, they need a bit more substance. Now that I look at all the changes it might be easier just to write out a recipe for the next batch.
These are my favorite muffins, carrot stuffed with pecans and dried cranberry they stay moist even after freezing. I made a huge batch last week and filled the freezer with them. I'm thinking of making a zuchinni version this week, maybe with walnuts.