Baking Up A Storm.

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

As many of you know I love Christmas baking. It is a very contemplative practice for me as it gives me a chance to pray for all the friends who will receive these either as a gift or through hospitality.

This year I have tried a few new recipes that I wanted to share with you. I think that they could become as popular as my shortbread. Both of these use ingredients from our garden, which is an added delight that encourages me to look forward to next year and hopefully a bountiful year of produce.

Apple cranberry bars

Apple Cranberry Bars


3 cups All purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons custard powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk


3  cups stewed apples (or pie apples)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons honey


1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

2. Add sugar, mix well. Beat egg and milt together, add to dry ingredients, mix to a firm dough.

3. Knead lightly on a floured surface

4. Roll out 2/3rds of pastry to line a greased 13×9” tin

5. Put cooled apple filling into pastry. 

6. Roll out remaining 1/3rd of pastry, cut into 1/4 “ strips and arrange in a lattice fashion over apple

7. Bake in a moderately hot (375F) oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and cook a further 20 minutes or until pastry is cooked 

8. Dust with icing (confectioners) sugar. The apple absorbs the sugar leaving a snowy covering on the pastry

9. FILLING: Put ingredients into a small pan, stir over low heat for 3 minutes. Cool. 

10. Cool in pan before cuttingSource:

Adapted from Australian women’s weekly Best Ever Recipes

Sweet Cherry Almond Bars 

Sweet cherry almond bars

Fruit Filling

1 3/4 lbs pitted cherries, halved or rough chopped (about 2 1/2 cups) I used frozen cherries which tend to produce more liquid so increased cornstarch to 3 teaspoons. I know fresh cherries would have been better but in December in Seattle they are not available unless you want to go with ones imported from the Southern Hemisphere.

4 tablespoons sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread dough

2 cup flour

1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour

2/3 cup raw organic sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs (I hate to waste egg whites so like to use the whole egg instead of just the yolk as suggested in the original recipe.

2 teaspoon almond extract

8 ounces cold butter, cut in pieces


1/2 cup sliced almonds


1. Set oven to 350F. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking pan. 

2. Stir together the cherries with the sugar, lemon juice, extract, and cornstarch. Set aside, tossing occasionally to encourage some of the juices to start flowing.

3. Put the flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.

4. Add the yolk, extract, and butter, and pulse or process to combine just until the dough comes together, it will be crumbly.

5. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your pan to form the crust. 

6. Top with the cherries. Then crumble the remaining dough evenly over the cherries. 

7. Top with the sliced almonds and bake for about 40 minutes until the dough is just golden and the filling is bubbling.

Let cool before cutting.

Adapted from



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