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.
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.