The past week has just been hectic with a flurry of activities, typical of this time of the year. The boys were busy with all kinds of activities and when they are busy, I am busy. Good thing they are now done with school and are on winter break. Hopefully I can concentrate on the rest of my baking without too many interruptions. With only five days left to Christmas, there is much to be done.

These Hazelnut Squares were made with the remaining hazelnut meal left over from my Pear Pie with Crumb Topping and GF Hazelnut Crust. These squares are buttery, fragrant, nutty, and only slightly sweet. I have made these cookies before and absolutely love them. They always come to mind when I see hazelnut meal. Though these are not gluten-free, they can be easily made so using the same flours for the GF Hazelnut Pie Crust.



This recipe was adapted from my trusted Australian Women’s Weekly’s Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits.

Hazelnut Squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 24 squares

Hazelnut Squares

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cup (2½ sticks/285g) butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75g) sugar
  • 1¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (65g) rice flour
  • 1 cup (100g) ground hazelnut
  • 24 whole hazelnuts, roasted

Instructions

Grease a 12-in x 9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).

Cream butter and sugar, about 1 minute. Add all purpose flour, rice flour, and ground hazelnut. Mix until combined. Mixture may be a little crumbly.

Spread evenly onto pan. Mark 24 small squares with a sharp knife. Top each square with a hazelnut in the middle.

Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove and cut into squares again while hot. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Gently lift squares onto wire rack to cool.

Notes

The first row of squares are a little difficult to lift and may crumble.

http://www.rotinrice.com/2010/12/hazelnut-squares-and-upcoming-blog-anniversary-celebration/




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Yes, my 1st Blog Anniversary is coming up real soon on December 31st and I have selected a book as a giveaway to commemorate the occasion. I was happy to have the opportunity to meet the co-author of the book and had the giveaway copy autographed. Be sure to check back for details of the book and giveaway.



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I have had a few requests for more snow pictures and I am happy to oblige. :)

Ice hockey and ice skating are very popular in Minnesota and most kids learn to skate when they are little. Many parks in the suburbs around the Twin Cities have outdoor rinks from mid-December through mid-February. Certain sections of the parks are flooded to make these rinks.

This is a oval rink at one of the parks near our home. It is a fair size rink and people skate in a circuit. This picture was taken last year as I have yet to go there this year. Hope to do so soon. That’s Ro-Jiro in the grey parka and Biren in the red parka. :)



One of the best places to ice skate in Minneapolis is Centennial Lakes Park. This is a 10-acre lake groomed daily during the winter for ice skating. Skaters glide through the park’s three main ponds connected by narrow, meandering canals. When tired, you can snuggle up by the fireplace at each end of the rink-side warming house. Said to have a Currier & Ives or Norman Rockwell setting, night skating with your partner at Centennial Lakes can be pretty romantic. ;)

Last Friday was my first skating trip this year to Centennial Lakes. After bell ringing for the Salvation Army in our neighborhood, we headed downtown for an Italian dinner before going to the lake. As it was the last day of school before the winter break, there were lots of people out on the lake that evening. Everyone was excited to get onto the ice with their skates. It was a clear and crisp night with a temperature of about 12°F (-11°C). It was cold but it did not feel quite as cold with all the movement.



Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8-)