Christmas Baking – Round One

I  have always loved Christmas baked goods.  Cookies, cake, pie, etc., etc., etc.  This year, I have decided to be a bit less ambitious with my baking, though.  Last year, I made several different types of cookies and was baking nonstop for several days.  This year, I decided to do just a couple different types.  Christmas is a great time to be ambitious with baking and perhaps next year I’ll try to get a little more crazy with my baking.  The gingerbread house below was baked when I was very little and since then I have longed to be the kind of baker that could make holiday desserts that cause such awe as can be seen in the photo below.

Yum. Cake.

I remember my grandma and my mom both attempting and executing lovely gingerbread houses.  The last time that I attempted a gingerbread house, the walls had to be held up with cans of soup on the inside of the house.  I’m thinking that that kind of baking will be a long long long term goal.  Sometimes, it’s best to start small……

First up for this year’s baking: baklava.

I had a holiday party to go to and told the host that I would bring something baked.  My choice this year was baklava because I wanted to bring something that I was fairly certain that no one else would bring.

Last year, when baking baklava, I found my recipe on Foodnetwork.com.  This year was no different.  I used this recipe for the baklava.

The baklava baking started with some drama.  First off, I started way later in the evening than I had planned on but Ryan and I had a ton of errands that we needed to run and were out of the apartment almost all day.  Secondly, it was once I started chopping nuts that I realized that the recipe called for walnuts and not pecans.  Ugh.  Luckily, I had some walnuts in the freezer and some almonds so I did a quick substitution.

I make a couple alterations to the recipe.  First, I added two long pieces of lemon peel instead of just one.  Secondly, I chopped the nuts but not too finely.  I like to have that texture difference that you get from different sizes of nuts.

If I do say so myself, this was my best batch of baklava to date.  The honey was not too sweet and has a nice amount of spice in it.  The pieces held their shape fairly well.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Baking – Round One

  1. Hi honey, so yes I did start to cry when I saw the picture of you and Nana with the gingerbread house. That was the year that Kirsten was born right before Christmas. Do you remember that Mauk worked on that house–for you explicitly–and that it was made to look like Nana and Papa’s house? And that same Christmas, just a few days before Christmas, we made cookies. I put Kirsten in the bassinet in the kitchen, and you and I worked on the cookies. And I have another gingerbread house memory. Do you remember the year we invited our neighbor boy Shane over and we made the walls for a gingerbread house together, you, Shane, Kirsten and Eric–it seems like it took all afternoon. Then, the moment of truth, we started assembling the house with frosting, and……splat, everything fell into the middle. So, we have pictures of you kids happily eating up the walls and frosting. It was fun. Love you, Mom

    • I love this pic of me and Nana. I love the expression on Nana’s face – like she’s trying so hard not to laugh at me and the dreamy look on my face.

      I do remember making that house with Shane! It wasn’t even close to becoming a house but it was so fun just to eat walls of gingerbread. : )

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