The weekend was filled with baking, as I wanted to get my 'Thank you' goodies out Monday morning. Unfortunately for me, I did not realize that it would be a balmy 1 degree outside (w/wind chill) Monday morning as I trudged to the post office with a garbage bas full of boxes. I did, however, feel a bit like santa :) hehe. I heard that one of them arrived safe and sound last night, so i think it's ok now to share what else I included...
In the spirit of the cranberry season, I made mini loaves of Orange Cranberry Bread. The orange juice and zest really contribute to the flavor, and I really enjoyed it (don't worry, I made an extra ;) )! I didn't realize until the batter was almost done that I didn't have dried cranberries, so dried cherries got thrown in, in case you notice that they look larger than your average cranberry.
From a post on holiday gift giving ideas over at 28 Cooks, I decided to include some Dukkah. I'd never had it before, but it seemed like the perfect thing to ship. What is it? A mix of ground nuts and middle eastern spices, the possibilities with this one are endless. Just in case I wasn't the only ignorant one, I included a list of potential uses that I compiled from various places on the web. I actually ended up following the recipe found here, adding some pine nuts (since I scaled up alot, that would've been a LOT of sesame seeds!). I think I ground mine up a bit too fine, but still really enjoyed the flavors on this one! I guess it doesn't help when you start picking out the large chunks, either--oops!
So far I've tried it on fresh baked bread
And on a grilled cheese toast of sorts
It's quite yummy and I'm thinking this won't be the last time I make it!! Ooh, I should probably note, in case you don't already know, that cumin seeds don't grind in a food processor, you'll need a coffee/spice grinder for them! I was worried for a bit :) This is definately amenable to individual tastes, too, so have fun with it!
Last, but very not least, to accompany the two other cookies, I had to include my Seven Layer Bars. These are ALWAYS a crowd pleaser, and often requested, so I couldn't let my people down :) I remember them as my mom's, but I think it was my grandmother who started making these. They're a permanent fixture at our family holidays, although there are various versions out there (Magic Cookie Bars?).
Seven Layer Bars
Mom/Grandma's tried and true
1 stick butter (sometimes i go a little less)
1c graham cracker crumbs
1c chocolate chips
1c butterscotch chips
1c flaked coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use fat-free)
1c chopped walnuts
Place butter in 9x13 pan and put it in the oven, preheat to 350deg. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly (or somewhat) over butter. Then add both of the chips, coconut, drizzle the condensed milk, then top with walnuts. Bake for 30 minutes (might want to check at 25 min, but you're nose will tell you when it's done!), until golden and bubbly. Let cool before cutting. (this is by far the hardest part for me, I love the ooey-gooey-ness!) Enjoy!!