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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

bringing home the baked goods

A couple of weeks ago I brought a tray of cupcakes to work. It just so happened that a fellow inmate, Stef D, had baked some muffins on the same day. Naturally, we challenged each other to a bake-off. It took place on Monday and was a joy to behold; a bundle of cooks produced so many baked goods people were getting high on the sugar fumes alone. From Swedish Macaroons and rude gingerbread bodies to mince pies and five types of brownies, the spread was amazing.

My hands down favourite sweet was Stef's version of this Choc-hazelnut Meringue Cake from the BBC's Olive Magazine. Include it in your festive spread on Christmas day (alongside Chew's Leek and Sweet Potato Roulade of course) and the folks will adore you. I took a punt with a few recipes I hadn't tried before, including these nutty Russian balls I nicked from Smitten Kitchen. I used a combination of pecans, hazelnuts and almonds and added a little sweetened condensed milk to the dough because I found it quite dry. The result was a very tasty treat for nut freaks.

With so many sweet nibbles on the bake-off table, we raised over a hundred quid in donations for the homelessness charity, Crisis. Job well done.

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