I am making my way through the first book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I saw online that there’s a TV series inspired by the books, but I hadn’t given it much thought until I was given this book by some fabulous friends as a birthday gift – Highland Knits: Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series (Interweave.com). Now not only do I want to check out the show to see who they cast as Jamie Fraser, I need to book a trip Scotland so I can travel through the highlands wearing the fabulous cowl featured in the cover photo of the book!
What I really love about this book is that the yarn used is readily available. Some yarns used are Caron Simply Soft, Vanna’s Choice and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick – all of which can be bought at Michaels. Cascade Yarns is featured in a few of the projects as well. At least in Vancouver, their yarn is easy to find and the prices aren’t crazy. I’m not saying it’s cheap but you get what you pay for. As I mentioned earlier, having recently celebrated a birthday, I’ve justified all kinds of yarn indulgences so that I can work my way through this beautiful book.
There is a project for every skill level and a variety of items to make. The instructions are clear and well written. The greatest difficulty is deciding where to start.
Crunchies have taken our kitchen by storm! My guy is from Johannesburg and said his mum used to make Crunchies for him and his sisters. I started searching on google and found this great recipe on www.africanbites.com I haven’t changed anything except that I don’t include the almonds as my daughter takes these to school and summer camps which have nut-free policies. These yummy bites are simple to make and can be an easy introduction for kids to use the stove top.
- 6 ounces butter
- 11/2 tablespoon golden syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½-1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dry shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds
- 1½ cups of oats
- 1¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon spice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg spice
- Prepare a 8×8 or 9×13 baking pan/sheet if you want a thin crunchies – grease or spray with cooking oil. Set aside
- Melt butter, syrup, brown sugar, sugar and salt in a saucepan, until completely melted. You may do this in a microwave safe bowl. Then add baking soda. Mix.
- combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl – oatmeal, flour, coconut, sliced almonds and spices. Thoroughly mix.
- Pour butter mixture into the bowl of oatmeal mixture , mix well.
- Press mixture into a greased baking pan. You may use parchment paper to smooth it out.
- Start baking at 325 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes , then finish at 300 degrees minutes for another 10 minutes or until golden brown ,depending on your oven. Start checking after 20 minutes. Remove let it cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. You may store in an airtight container for up to a week
I like to bake mine at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking for another 15 minutes. I find they come out a deep golden brown. The edges are the crunchiest and the butter flavour is yum!
I’ve tried a few variations like adding raisins and orange juice to change things up but the results are great since it goes really crumbly for some reason. That being said, if you do find they turn out really dry when you start playing with the recipe, just crumble it over yogurt or ice cream with some fresh fruit, like peaches or nectarines, for a totally different dessert or breakfast treat!