Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Baked Goods

I saved this post until after Christmas Day because I wanted to keep my baked goods a surprise and I know some of my family read my blog. Finally, finally, everyone has received their treats and I can write about it.

I have been giving baked good for Christmas for a few years now. The treats change from year to year. I used to make truffles and stopped for no particular reason. Then I regulargly gave Mom's Ginger Snaps after I discovered the recipe. Now that both my mom AND my sister have the recipe, I thought I should move on.

Giada's Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
My mom does not love chocolate but she loves Ferrero Rocher so I looked for a recipe involving nutella and hazelnut. I found this one from Giada De Laurentiis. I have to admit that in terms of food TV personalities, I do really like Giada. These cookies were really good but I thought the nutella flavour would be stronger. I replaced the butter with vegetable shortening for my mom.

French Chocolate Bark
This recipe was inspired by watching the Barefoot Contessa holiday episode. The French Chocolate Bark looked so pretty that I couldn't resist! I wasn't sure that I would like the dried apricots but I actually really did against the dark chocolate. Out of the treats I made this year, this was my favourite, which means I ate my fair share...

Cranberry Pecan Bars
Finally, I decided to make this recipe because of my mom's love for pecan pie! My mom even likes adding dried cranberries! I got this recipe when my (old) general manager brought in these bars as treats. When we raved about them, his wife provided the recipe which came from Bests Foods Canada Inc. I thought these surprisingly not too sweet since there seems to be a lot of sugar in the recipe. A really easy recipe to make. I forgot to spray my baking dishes and I was still able to get the bars out.

For the crust
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* ½ cup sugar
* ¾ margarine - I didn't have any and used vegetable shortening

Combine all ingredients for crust until crumbly.
Press firmly into 13" x 9" cake pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake 350F for 15-18 m inutes, or until light golden.

For the topping
* 4 eggs
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup corn syrup
* 3 tbsp margarine
* 1-½ cup coarsely chopped peans
* ¾ cup corasely chopped cranberries - I used dried cranberries.

eggs, sugar, corn syrup and melted margine together until blended.
Stir in pecans and cranberries.
Pour evenly over crust.
Bake about 40 minutes longer, or until set and golden.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Cut into bars.

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