Best of baking 2016

Wow I've been so neglectful of my blog.  Almost a year with no blogging.  I haven't told you about my trips to Italy and to Cuba... let alone all the baking I've done.  I guess that's what happens when your work gets busy as the scope and impact grows.  (A great problem to have).  That said I do need to balance this out with a little time for me.

2016 is another year where I'm trying to make a commitment to spending time on things I enjoy - one of those being baking, and trying new recipes.  With that in mind it's time for a 2016 baking challenge.  The rules are pretty simple. There's a theme each month, and you need to bake something loosely associated with that theme.  It helps if you have someone else committed to doing the challenge with you - in this case I have a colleague at work.

This month is Australiana. And it's a very loose interpretation of Australian baking.  I wanted to be more experimental and not do something so cliched like - lamingtons, ANZAC cookies, Damper.  As I have zero ability to cook anything from our indigenous friends I decided to go a little rogue and use an ingredient that is uniquely Australian, and something I'm rather fond of as it reminds me of enrollment day at university and standing in long long queues.  It's also a unique Australian sweet where someone, somewhere has a cool job in coming up with the info on the wrappers.  That's right - it's a fantale inspired desert.  A fantale popcorn caramel tart to be exact.  Of course I couldn't possibly invent something so awesome so I found a recipe on that did the job.

Here it is in all it's gooey glory!  It was gooey and gloriously full of sugar.  Don't try this at home if you are sugar free or trying to eat healthy - it will ruin you.

As adventures in baking go this one was pretty good.  The taste was awesome, although you can't see the caramel goodness hiding under that chocolate sauce.  The salty peanuts and popcorn gave it just enough crunch and counterpoint to sweet that it saved it.  The only thing I didn't love was the pastry recipe.  It came out a little too crumbly and not as good as the short crust pasty I usually make.  So I might substitute that next time.