FRIENDS… and not the TV show! Friends that we have, from school, work, clubs… and friends we make through our children later in life. How many times while dropping your child at a new friend and when waiting for the door to open, you start wondering about the mom… Is she nice? Fun? Warm? Chatty? Psycho? Does she give a lot of sweets? And how many of them ended to be a keeper and became one of your closest friends. I am blessed with few of them, actually many, and we share a lot; we take trips together, we volunteer for school projects and we sometimes bake together.
The Honey Almond Slices is a new recipe for me. Axel, my daughter, had tasted it at her friend’s house and at pick up time she begged me to bake some for her. The funny part is that the mom bought her bars at the market and doesn’t even know what it was called. Thanks God for Pinterest where I combined few recipes and made my own with less butter and less sugar but still I thank my friend for the inspiration. My eagerness is boundless to try new recipes, especially that belongs to the dessert section.
For the base:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup ground almond
1/2 cup light brown sugar
120g butter, melted
For the topping:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 cups sliced almonds
25 cm x 25 cm pan
To make the base Combine flour, ground almond, brown sugar and melted butter until you have a moist sandy mixture. Press mixture into a brownie mold or tart tin and bake for 12 minutes at 170°C / 335°F.
To make the filling Inside a saucepan, on low-medium heat, place butter to melt, add sugar, honey and sliced almonds. Stir to well combine.
Spread mixture to top evenly the base and return to oven to bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and slice into squares or rectangles and serve.
I love our Christmas family gatherings and all the good food that comes in between. This year I wanted to change from my ginger cookies giveaways and made cranberry bread instead. What’s better than a Stollen recipe!
The origin of this bread is German and traditionally baked during Christmastime. Sweetened with honey and packed with dried fruits, this recipe contains no sugar. I wrapped each loaf with Christmas papers and twines, the presentation and the taste were amazing.
Merry Christmas to all and happy baking during the holidays!
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1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried raisins
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp cointreau
1 tbsp active dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm milk
2 tsp honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup/100g unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp grated orange zest
½ cup peeled, slivered almonds
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the dried fruits in a bowl and drizzle with orange juice and liquor. Stir the mixture to coat and set aside.
In another bowl sprinkle the yeast with warm milk and wait until it rises and makes a good head of froth (about 10 minutes). Add honey and flour and set aside for another 15 minutes.
In the mixer bowl, add the cranberries and raisins, the yeast mixture, butter, honey, egg, orange zest, almonds and salt. Start mixing adding the flour gradually, half cup at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and elastic.
Wrap the dough in an oiled plastic film and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
Knock back the dough and divide into 2 portions. Shape each portion into an oval; alternatively roll the dough in one large loaf without dividing it. Glaze with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, place carefully the dough, cover with tea towel and leave again to rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 185 degrees C/ 365 degrees F for 10 minutes. Place the dough in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. If using thermometer the internal temperature of the bread should reach approximately 90 degrees C (190 degrees F).
Remove from the baking sheet and place on a rack to cool.