Friday, December 01, 2006

The Baklava Is Back in Town

I know I haven't posted much this week, being far too wrapped up in getting the baking done and enjoying some dinners out with a friend.

At this point, though, all of the cookies for the first round of holiday baking are made: ginger-molasses cookies, chai spice shortbread, sunshine cookies, date nut cookies, cappuccino truffle cookies (a variation of chocolate charms), two kinds of biscotti, and even some delicious Indian spiced nuts.

I've started packing goodie boxes for my far-flung friends, lining the packages with colorful tissue paper and tossing a few samples of each item in to cheery holiday-patterned plastic bags, even tucking the occasional tea bag in to accompany such sweet treats.

But there's one thing still missing: baklava.

Never fear, though. I made sure to set aside some time tonight to bake the first pan of my signature treat so that the pieces would be cool enough to wrap and pack first thing tomorrow morning before I head to the post office.

As I've mentioned before, making baklava, instead of being a chore, is a truly relaxing and meditative experience for me. With the repetitive task of layering and brushing filo dough and spreading spiced nuts in occasionally, I slip into my baking "zone" and take great pleasure in knowing I'm creating something that will thrill my friends.

Can't you just smell those rich spices? Taste that sweet, syrupy honey? Feel the light, crisp layers of dough melt on your tongue?

This first pan's worth of squares will be gone before you know it, between these goodie boxes and a large selection for this year's students. But don't worry. I'll bake at least one more pan, perhaps two, to satisfy other friends, as well as myself.

It only comes once a year, this baklava baking frenzy.

But it's back, and it's better than ever.


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