Its my favourite month! Not only because December signals the beginning of summer in AU, but because it always brings lots of festive cheer in the air. As soon as December steps in, the merriment is everywhere. From the first day of December to the eve of the new year. On the home front, it means a few more weeks till the last few lunch boxes are packed. Everything coasts along by the second week, and then YES! School holidays! . At our home, December signals a lot of celebrations. Birthdays and anniversary are there. All those in between school events: performances, carols, fun days, etc. And then comes Christmas. Christmas always take centre stage that sometimes, the birthdays and anniversaries are set aside to make way for more Christmas shopping. Hubby and me always go through extreme lengths for our girls. Not that we get them the most expensive gadgets, but we try to fill in their stockings to the brim. With little things and treats which always bring the biggest smiles and surprise come Christmas time. Its priceless. All those efforts and time spent searching always pays off. Besides the merriment of gift giving, we also take part in the Christmas eve mass to celebrate the true spirit of the holidays.
With only a few family members here in AU, the gift giving becomes extends to friends – from office colleagues to neighbours. And for these lot, edible gifts are always the treat. I’ve started giving edible gifts last year with these mini chocolate cakes with chocolate ganache icing and topped with candy canes. They were easy to make and a treat to receive. But as edible gifts are always nice, the timing of preparation and the giving and delivery has to be perfect.
While last year’s treats were round, this year, Santa’s treats came in the form of squares. Butterscotch brownies (or food for the gods as they’re called back in the Philippines) are a usual treat come Christmas time. These treats are always sold in boxes and bags back at good bakeshops back home. I’ve never tried making them before, but now, I think its going to be our traditional gift every Christmas. They’re easy to make – you can make them ahead, put it the fridge, and slice them when ready to package or box.
This Santa's treats are making they're way to this month's SABH theme hosted by Christina from The Hungry Australian. There are a lot of recipes online for food for the gods, but I found this one (from Casa Veneracion) the best to follow. I also have referenced to a recipe from a Filipino cookbook but as always, the tried and tested ones works best, 101% of the time.
To make these yummy Santa's treats
Print the recipe here.
200g pitted dates, coarsely chopped
200g walnuts, coarsely chopped
300g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
5 cups light packed dark brown sugar
450g all purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 175-180*C.
Line your baking sheet or cookie sheet with baking paper. (I used 2 shallow 30cm x 25cm 2.5cm pans).
In a bowl, whisk (with a hand whisk) together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour in three batches, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition.
Stir in the walnuts and dates.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and level off with a wet spoon.
Bake in the preheated ovn for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE or the brownies will turn out hard.
Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
To cut into squares, lift the baking paper with the brownies onto a chopping board, and use a large knife to cut into squares.
(If you have time, I usually bake them one day, then refrigerate them when completely cool, and cut them into squares the next day. The brownies will be firmer and easier to cut)
This recipe yielded 2 trays of 2.5-3cm x 25cm x 30cm (48 squares) of butterscotch brownie goodness. This is not for the faint at heart. I tell you, this has butter written all over it, so if you’ve got butter-fear-factor, you can browse through my other recipes. You can try my homemade caramelised macadamias which we also packed in jars and gave away.
From my family to yours, I wish you all lots of Christmas love! Enjoy the holidays! xx