Saturday 31 December 2011

Goodbye was a good year!

We've come to the end of 2011. It feels like we just welcomed it.... It has been a good year for me. I started blogging this year. That's a good thing because it gave me the incentive to bake more often than usual. It's also an avenue for me to share my recipes. I've also made new friends although we've never met. Starting  this blog also leads to some surprises. Photography is now my new hobby. I would never have thought that I would go beyond snapping pictures randomly. Now I've bought some books on photography &  attended a workshop too. Of course,  I now own a dslr camera! Thanks to my husband. You are so sweet......

I really would like to write more but I  have to go. My husband & the kids are watching a show at Vivo while I'll be attending a complimentary workshop on how to use my camera. I'm excited!

So my final recipe for the year is Cranberry Snowdrift Bars. I saw this on Jane's blog & bookmarked it since then. Finally I managed to bake it. There are three layers, the rich crust, the tart cranberry filling & the snowy meringue. These bars are really delicious. The only change I would make the next time I bake it is I would reduce the filling to, perhaps, 3/4 or 1/2 cup. I thought the filling was too thick. One more thing, the baking temperature & time below should only be a guide. You really need to check now & then. With my oven, I only needed to bake for about 20 minutes for each layer.

Before I go, I would like to wish all readers a Happy New Year! May the year 2012 be a blast for all of us!

 Cranberry Snowdrift Bars
Recipe from Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal

1 and 1/4 cups / 170g all purpose (plain) flour
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup / 125g of unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup / 50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 deg F / 180deg C. Coat an 8" x 8" square pan with vegetable spray.Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl. In the large bowl of your mixer, on medium-high speed, beat the butter for a few minutes, until it's creamy. Gradually add in the sugar, beating now on high speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy; this may take several minutes. Add in the vanilla. In thirds, pour in the dry ingredients gradually, beating just until blended.
Pat the crust firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or in the freezer for about 15 minutes, before baking.

Bake until dry to the touch and light golden brown, with darker golden areas around the edges--about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool the pan on a rack for five minutes, then spread the cranberry sauce over it. Don't turn off the oven when you take the pan out.

1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (homemade or canned; needs to be thick and not watery)

(I cooked the cranberry sauce using the recipe from below.)
12 ounces cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice (I used only 1/4 cup since I need a thick sauce.)

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Continue cooking until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken further as it cools.

whites from 2 large eggs (about 2 oz. of egg whites, total; whites at room temperature whip up best)
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup / 100g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a smaller mixer bowl, using the whip attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Then, gradually add in the sugar, beating on high until stiff--but not dry--peaks form. Add in the vanilla.

Spread the meringue evenly over the cranberry filling, using the back of a spoon to push it out to the edges. Make some cute swirls in the top of the meringue.

Put the pan back into the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, until the meringue is just very lightly browned.
Cool the bars, in their pan, on a cooling rack.


Shannon said...

Mhmm, those look delicious!

Faeez said...

They look & taste delicious! Love the combination of rich, tart & light topping flavours!

Mag said...

I love your photos, especially the Ambon one! Can you share which camera you are using and how to get started? I don't know anything about DSLR photography but hope to be able to take photos like yours ...

Faeez said...

Hi Mag, thanks for dropping by. I'm using Canon EOS600D & 2 lenses, the EFS 18-135mm & EFS60MM. The latter is a macro lens that allows me to take close up pics. Although I've used my dslr for about 1 & 1/2 yrs, I still hv a lot to learn. So far, i've learnt to use it only by reading books & magazines & lots of practice. Although I've gone for a short workshop on food photography, I've yet to go for any workshop on how to use dslr camera. I shd go for it asap. Just this morning, was taking some pics of my soya bean pudding, it was quite challenging. Anyway, although expensive, investing on a dslr is certainly worthwhile. Thks again. :)

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