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Category Archives: Travel Recipes

Bajadera Torte (a recipe from Croatia)

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Bajadera Torte

Layers of cookies, almonds, and chocolate make this dessert recipe from the country of Croatia a beautiful, and totally unique treat!

There are so many of you who check in here on Easybaked every week for my latest dessert creation, and I feel like we have become friends, you and I. I follow many of your blogs and I’ve heard about your celebrations and sadnesses.

Blog friendships are a strange thing though. Most of you only know me as a baker. With a cute little white dog. That is a part of who I am, but it is really just a tiny little sliver of my life here on planet earth.

  • Did you know that about 2 years ago I lost my job in Genetics? I’d worked in medicine for 23 years and budget cuts did us in.
  • Did you know that instead of staying in medicine I spent 8 months in Rough Rock Arizona, working as a missionary with a little Navajo church?
  • Did you know that last fall I began raising support to be a full-time missionary with Josiah Venture- reaching out to young people in Eastern and Central Europe with God’s love for them?

Some of you who have faithfully followed Easybaked over the years know bits and pieces about these parts of my life, but the rest of you probably didn’t know those things. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the mission organization I am working with by sharing a recipe from one of the countries we are in: Croatia!

Bajadera Torte

Aren’t those just so much fun? I can tell you, they are absolutely delicious too- very buttery and flakey.

These are a no-bake dessert and I think they are a perfect recipe for kids to help with! I read about 20 recipes for these online and there are a ton of different ways to make these (and lots of opinions about which version is the most authentic!) I will tell you that these are NOT authentic because rather than using “tea biscuits” or “butter cookies” I used good ol’ Nilla Wafers! You can certainly try the recipe with a more European-type cookie base, but I wanted to be practical, and every American family can get their hands on a box of Nilla Wafers!

Here is how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

TORTE:

  • 3 cups of vanilla wafers (or another plain tea-biscuit sort of cookie)
  • 1 1/2 cups of blanched, peeled almonds (I found these in produce at my grocery)
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

GLAZE:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil.
  • Place vanilla wafers and almonds into the bowl of a food processor or food chopper and pulse until both are finely ground.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, add sugar, 6 Tablespoons of butter and water and microwave on high in one minute increments (stirring in between) until butter is melted and sugar is mostly dissolved (mine took about 4 minutes)
  • Pour cookie and nut mixture into bowl with hot sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Divide out about 1/3 of the dough into a separate bowl.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir into 1/3 of the dough.
  • Press half of the “plain” dough into the bottom of the foil-lined pan.
  • Press all of the “chocolate” dough on top.
  • Press remaining “plain” dough on top of the chocolate layer.
  • Make glaze by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips with 6 Tablespoon of butter in the microwave.
  • Stir well and pour over top.
  • Refrigerate until glaze hardens, cut into pieces and enjoy!!!

Bajadera Torte

My thoughts: These are absolutely delicious. If you want your version to be a little less sweet, use bittersweet or dark chocolate instead. Let’s hear it for Croatia, and a perfectly wonderful dessert!

Croatia is just one of 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe that Josiah Venture is working in. Josiah Venture began just over 20 years ago, and now they have over 300 missionaries in 14 countries. Over half of those missionaries are nationals, because one of Josiah Venture’s firmly held beliefs is that our job is to partner with churches in each country and equip nationals to lead and serve in their own country. The focus is reaching out to young people with the good news that God loves them.

This is done in practical ways that provide for other needs in these countries. Most of these countries have excellent educational systems, but they lack extracurricular activities, like music and sports. Josiah Venture partners with a local church and the school to provide training in those things and to offer, at the same time, information about who God is and how to know Him. This has been, and continues to be, an incredibly effective way to encourage positive activities along with a relationship with God in this young generation.

In 2010 and 2011, I took the college ministry I led over to serve at a Josiah Venture camp in Slovakia, and I just loved meeting the young people who are becoming a positive influence in the lives of others in their country. It was incredible.

When I was preparing to leave the Navajo Nation last fall, I was invited to join Josiah Venture full-time as the coordinator of a program that offers internships to college-age students. We invite young people to spend 3 to 6 months overseas, partnered with one of our missionaries, to see if they might be interested in full-time work with youth overseas.

Amazing Race Josiah Venture

A picture of last year’s interns during training.

 

I’ve been raising the support I need to begin this position full-time, and I’ve been learning the systems in place for getting these interns prepared to serve overseas. We have just over 90 interns this year, and we are hoping to increase our capacity to invite more!

It’s a really exciting and new part of my life, and I’m really SO thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible movement of God both here- in the lives of these college students- and overseas.

I know that you are here for a recipe~ but maybe today you are here for more- to learn about what God is doing in another part of the world. There are several ways you can connect with Josiah Venture and with the intern ministry I am helping to lead.

1. The Josiah Venture Website is a wealth of information about each country, each ministry and each missionary.

2. My personal blog began out on the Navajo reservation and has been all about my journey from there to here.

3. My newsletter  sends you updates on what God is doing with my little part of Josiah Venture. It is published monthly.

4. Josiah Venture on Vimeo has incredible videos of what God is doing in the lives of these students.

Hey~thanks for letting me tell you a little about something that really matters to me. Not that desserts don’t matter…but these other things matter for eternity.

Now, settle in with a piece of this beautiful torte and read a little about what God is doing in Croatia, and in all the other countries of Eastern and Central Europe!   Enjoy!! ~r

Bajadera Torte

 

I usually leave you with links to my favorite recipes here- but today, here are a few memorable moments from the past year: Preparing to leave for Arizona…Lessons from real-life shepherds…Learning about JV…and a Christmas we will never forget.

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Alfajores (Peruvian Caramel Cookies)

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Alfajores- Peruvian Caramel Cookie! These shortbread-like cookies are sandwiched around caramel and topped with chocolate and sugar…yum!

Machu Picchu!

Machu Picchu!

I’m back!  For those of you who follow the comings and goings of Easybaked you know that I spent about 10 days in Peru.  It was a wonderful trip.  I visited my childhood friend Deb in Lima and then the two of us toured Machu Picchu and spent a few days in the Amazon jungle.  The foods were incredible, especially the fresh fruits!  I will add some pictures of our trip at the end….

One of the treats we had in Peru was a cookie called an Alfajore.  The cookie is very subtle- not too sweet- and very dense.  It is served with a caramel filling called Manjarblanco.  I had this filling in a variety of desserts and kept thinking that it tasted like Dulce de Leche.  When I returned home and looked it up I found that it is Dulce de Leche- in a convenient little pouch and ready to eat.

Manjarblanco

Here is my version of this yummy cookie.  If you like things that aren’t overwhelmingly sweet, this is your dessert!

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies (makes about 24 sandwich cookies)

  • 1/2stick (2 oz) butter (softened)
  • 1/4c. sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • a few drops of rum (optional)
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Dulce de Leche:

  •  1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (or Manjarblanco if you live in an area that offers this!)

DIRECTIONS:

{If you can’t purchase ready-made manjarblanco (dulce de leche), you will need to make your own.  Do this before making your cookies as it takes some time and will need to cool.  My favorite method of making dulce de leche involves boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk, and I have detailed instructions if you click here.}

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Cream together sugar and butter.
  • Add eggs, corn syrup, vanilla and rum.
  • Add flour and baking soda last, and knead dough together with clean hands. (The dough will be dry- a little like play-dough in consistency.  You can add a little water to soften it up if necessary.)
  • Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut using a 1 1/2 inch or 2 inch cookie cutter.
  • Place on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until just turning brown on top.
  • Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a rack.
  • Spread cookies with cooled caramel and sprinkle with powdered sugar/ drizzle with a little chocolate if you like.


Alfajores (Peruvian caramel cookie)!

My thoughts:  I love international recipes.  One of my favorite parts of travel is trying new foods and hearing stories about how those foods fit in with the lives of the people I meet.  These cookies are really good, and available all over in Peru.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!!

Alfajores
Alfajores-- yummy dulce de leche filling!

A few glimpses at Peru…such a beautiful country full of kind and beautiful people!

Sunrise at Machu Picchu

Sunrise at Machu Picchu

Stairs up Wayana Picchu

Stairs up Wayana Picchu

Beautiful Machu Picchu!!!

Beautiful Machu Picchu!!!

Amazon Village

Amazon Village

Piranha fishing!!

Piranha fishing!!

Jungle hike...baby ferns

Jungle hike…baby ferns

Fresh watermelon in the market at Iquitos

Fresh watermelon in the market at Iquitos

Sloth cuddles :)

Sloth cuddles 🙂

Anaconda!

Anaconda!

Amazon sampler: Jungle pig, Cayman and Paiche (Arapayma)

Amazon sampler: Jungle pig, Cayman and Paiche (Arapayma)

Deb and I - we've been friends since we were two!  Fun trip!!

Deb and I – we’ve been friends since we were two! Fun trip!!

Chocolate Cookies – New Zealand Style!

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Tiny, crunchy chocolate and coconut cookies with a delicious chocolate glaze- SO good!

I love food blogs- particularly ones that major in fun desserts!  One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is to read through all my favorite blogs and enjoy the photos.  This past weekend Aimee from Clever Muffin posted a recipe that I simply HAD to try.  This doesn’t happen very often, as I prefer creating to copying–but the photos of these little cookies just screamed MAKE ME!!!  So I did.

I love them– truly LOVE these cookies.  They are so light and crunchy and cocoa-y.  I will be adding these to my permanent recipe collection and making them again….soon.

These are called Afghan Biscuits.  One of the things I love about Aimee is that she’s from Australia and she calls cookies “biscuits”, powdered sugar “icing sugar”and her mom her “mum”.  I also love that the world is such a small place that I can get a recipe from a friend in Australia and here I am 3 days later eating New Zealand-ish “biscuits” in my living room.  So. Much. Fun.

Anyway, Aimee has the history of these cookies on her blog.  She says they were invented in the 1940’s, possibly as a means to send cookies to loved ones away at war in WW2.  She says they “post” (so cute!) beautifully.  I know several of you have ones you love far away from you– here’s a great idea for a cookie that keeps well in the mail.   Are you ready for the recipe???  I’m really excited to share it with you!

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 14 T. butter -softened (I know, awkward measurement…had to convert 200 grams for you though and the alternatives were 1.76 sticks of butter OR 0.88 cups of butter….so yeah….you choose.)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. lightly crushed cornflakes
  • 1 c. shredded coconut

Icing:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • Water (1-3 T.) to make a good spreading consistency.
  • Almond slivers (to garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Place 1 c. shredded coconut on a small cookie sheet and place in oven for 10-15 minutes until it is dried and crunchy— not browned– just dry and crunchy.  Remove from oven and cool.
  • When coconut is cool, use your hands to crush it up  into smaller pieces, set aside.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Use an electric beater to cream sugar and butter together, add vanilla.
  • Add flour, cocoa and coconut, beating until well combined.
  • Add cornflakes and beat on low speed until just combined.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to spoon batter onto parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool before frosting.
  • Make icing by combining  powdered sugar, cocoa and water until you have a smooth glaze that doesn’t run off the edges of the cookies.
  • Top cookie with icing and one almond sliver.


My thoughts:  These are SO good.  SOOOOOOOOOO good.  Many thanks to Clever Muffin for the inspiration!  Go check out her blog– you will love it!  Enjoy!!!!!!  -r

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