I’ll come right out with it: cup measurements freak me out. (And that’s cup measurements for baking Mister, before your mind starts wandering elsewhere. Tsk).
Despite possessing a set of measuring cups, not to mention several conversion charts, I am never entirely sure how much a cup of X actually contains, as it seems to vary quite significantly, depending on how that cup of X was filled and who was doing the filling. Give me ounces or grams and the reassurance of a weighing scales any day.
My cup-o-phobia was the one thing, in fact, that concerned me ever so slightly about participating in the International Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange. The brainchild of Adrienne from Gastroanthropology and Lori from Fake Food Free, the idea behind the exchange was to pair up participating bloggers, who would then swap recipes for seasonal treats. Would I be foiled by the dreaded cup measurements in my designated exchange recipe?
Butterscotch-glazed coffee shortbread bars
I hereby issue a warning to all passing lemons.
I am going through a zesting phase and any lemons within range are likely to be relieved of their outer garments sharpish. Zorro-like, I will unsheath my beloved microplane zester, draw razor-sharp blades across their citrusy skins and have my wicked culinary way with the finely shredded results.
Other citrus fruit, I might add, are also at risk.
No lemon is safe...
Well, it’s about time that I got my Christmas baking boots on, now, isn’t it?
For weeks, my feed reader has been choc-a-bloc with blog postings stuffed with festive baked goods, and I can only hold out against that kind of onslaught for so long. So, having realised that resistance was futile, I closed my eyes and let my mind drift across the sea of baked possibilities. I ended up in Spain.
While I was still, unquestionably, in Ireland, I had found myself dreaming of that Spanish confection known as turrón. It’s made primarily from toasted almonds and honey, and varies in texture from break-your-teeth hard to soft and fudgy. When I was a kid, my brother, who lived in Spain, would bring a selection home at Christmas and I have been a sucker for turrón, particularly the soft variety, ever since. It’s just as well I can’t lay my hands on it too easily here – I inhale and it’s gone. And while the brother hasn’t lived in Spain for years, in my head Christmas is still flavoured with almond and honey. So I thought that I would try to capture that in festive shortbread form. I was very pleased that I did.
Shortbread, inspired by Christmas past