Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Great Bake Exchange 2010

Last Thursday my internet and Max tv decided to stop working....I really had no idea how dependent I was on technology until this happened. I couldn't check my emails...my favourite blogs...I couldn't watch the Christmas specials on tv that I wanted to....I felt very....lost. Thankfully both my parents and my BF's parents live close by so I could get a quick-fix when I really needed one. The internet is finally back up and running and I can finally catch up on all that I missed in the world wide web. Most importantly (though much to the chagrin of my BF) I can blog again!!!

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to take part in one of my favourite pre-Christmas pasttimes....The Bake Exchange.

This is the fourth year that I have taken part in a bake exchange that a few of my colleagues and I organize every year. I have to say, I have a love-hate relationship with the bake exchange. Every year, more people take part which means more baking in the end...but more work at the beginning. One year, I baked two pans of my slice....when I took the pans out of the oven, I slipped and the pan I held fell and broke all over my mom's new stove, then projectiled broken glass shards into the other pan which was sitting unsuspecting on the stove top. It was not a great start and needless to say, whenever it is bake exchange time I am filled with both dread and anticipation.

When the time came for me to bake 12 dozen squares, I was ready.

Armed with a very strong cup of coffee, and an obligatory Christmas CD...

I gathered up my ingredients.

The recipe I used is from an old church cookbook of mine called Manna from Minto and it is a fairly easy one to follow as far as recipes are concerned.

First, you melt 1/2cup butter in your pan.

Then add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs...depending how thick you like the crust to be.

Mix the butter and the graham cracker crumbs, then spread them out with a fork until you have a layer that covers the base of the pan.

Now one of my favourite parts. Pour one can of condensed milk onto the base so that it covers all of the graham cracker crumbs.

How beautiful does that look? In my opinion, any dessert that incorporates condensed milk, butter, and graham cracker crumbs is totally worth any effort it may require. YUM!

Ok, Ok...back to baking.

Next add one cup of coconut,

one cup of crushed walnuts,

and one cup of chocolate chips. Press everything down with your (freshly washed) hands, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

When you take it out of the oven the edges should be slightly browned and the smell should be irresistable.

Baking the first six dozen squares went smoothly. The next few dozen required a trip to Starbucks for a stronger beverage and a quick pick-me-up.

I decided to make my squares a little more personal and made up recipe cards to go with each batch of squares.

The final product looked something like this...times 12.

The baking portion of the Bake Exchange went off without a hitch for me this year. It took a long time to bake 12 dozen baked goods, but with the right soundtracks and the right caffeinated beverages, it was actually pretty fun.

Here is a sampling of the loot I got in return....

Cuban lunches, pretzel turtles, and almond bark...

Ginger snaps, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, oreo cookies (my personal fav!)

Nanaimo bars, rolo cookies, and carmel covered marshmallows

And as a grand finale....two flavours of mini cheesecakes.

I also received snickerdoodles and icing-covered sugar cookies but they did not make it to photo shoot time. My BF discovered the baking:)

Needless to say, I have enough baked goods to last me until Easter! It's an awesome exchange to do....I had dessert to bring to every holiday gathering that I attended, and I still have some left over for my BF and me:)

I hope you all had a happy, healthy, delicious Christmas.


1 comment:

  1. That is such a great idea!!!! I have never done a bake exchange, but now I want to :-)