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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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Easter Mini-Cheesecakes

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Easter Cheesecake Cups

These colorful mini-cheesecakes are made with malted milk ball eggs and have a sugar cookie crust…yum!

I love seasonal candy.  I love Cadbury eggs at Easter and Tim Tams at Christmas and conversation hearts at Valentines Day….but the Whopper brand malted milk ball eggs are the best.  Did any of you use the outside shell as colorful “lipstick” as a kid?  So fun!  Crunch them up in a whipped cheesecake and put them in a fun Mini Cheesecake Pan for a dessert that will make everyone smile!

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 mini cheesecakes)

  • One Nestle Sugar Cookie Dough Bar (the refrigerated dough that is scored into 24 squares)
  • 8 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
  • 2 bags (10 oz. each) of Whopper’s Robin Eggs (I used mini’s, but I’m sure the full size would work fine too.)  You could use regular Whopper candies to get the same flavors when the seasonal Robin’s Eggs are not available.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare pan by placing the metal disks into each cup (the Mini Cheesecake Pan comes with metal disks that sit at the bottom of each cup- like the bottom of a spring form pan!)
  • Break apart 1/2 of cookie dough bar.  (This recipe makes 12 cheesecakes but the bar contains 24 cookies.  You can double this recipe and make 24 cheesecakes or just make the other 12 cookies another time.)
  • Roll each cookie dough square into a ball and put it into a greased cup in the mini cheesecake pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
  • Cool completely.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together softened cream cheese and sugar. 
  • Add vanilla.
  • Smash one full bag of Malted Milk Chocolate Eggs.  I put them in a ziplock , placed them on a cutting board and hit them with a hammer until they were in pieces about the size of mini chocolate chips.
  • Fold about 2/3 of Cool Whip and  the one bag of smashed eggs into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Spoon cheesecake mixture into a large zip-top bag.  Clip a large piece of one corner off and pipe filling evenly over each cooled cookie crust.
  • Use a knife or spatula to smooth tops of cheesecakes flat across top of pan.
  • Freeze for about 3-4 hours (or overnight)
  • Remove from freezer, pop cheesecakes out by pushing up on the bottom of each cup. (This took a little practice for me- you have to push it up high enough to grab it by the cookie part.)
  • Remove the metal disk from the crust.
  • Pipe remaining 1/3 of Cool Whip on top of each cheesecake and decorate with  malted milk chocolate eggs as desired
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.

Easter Cheesecake Cups

My thoughts:  These are a yummy, colorful and fun Easter treat!  They go together fast too- which is always a bonus for me.  You can make these in a muffin tin, if you don’t want to invest in the mini-cheesecake pan- but mine has been a great addition to my kitchen- so many fun things to make in it!!!  Hope you enjoy these fun little treats!!!  ~r

Easter Cheesecake Cups!!

Other Easter ideas from Easybaked (click on an image to get the recipe):

Chocolate Easter Eggs with Peanut Butter FillingEasy Easter cut out cookiesOreo pops!!!!!Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Other ways to use your Mini Cheesecake Pan:

frozen s'more cupsMini Pineapple Upside Down CakesMini chocolate chip cookie cheesecakesMini Cookie Dough Cheesecake

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