figbars

Sometimes I want something a bit fudgey, dense, with a lot of bite. A cookie won’t do, a brownie is much too sweet. Cake, too fluffy. Something where I can taste the cocoa and the dark chocolate and really let the flavours develop long after I’ve swallowed.

These chocolate, macadamia and fig slices fit the bill; they’re the perfect treat to have alongside a steaming cup of coffee when you want something small that will satisfy your sweet tooth. They’re small but the flavour packs a huge punch. And they’re a really elegant dessert to serve to guests when they show up unexpectedly. I always have some cookies on hand, but I hate it when they’re only my kids’ Oreos.

I got this recipe from a great book called “Fireside Feasts & Snow Day Treats” (Ryland Peters & Small) but I played around with the ingredients a little bit to make it my own. I believe the book was published in the UK so I localized it a bit. While the British influence is obvious in this book, I love it because the recipes inspire me to use combinations of ingredients I may not have thought of myself. It also reminds me of the few months I lived in London in my early twenties when I went to university on a exchange on a small budget. This forced me to really be creative with my cooking and use local ingredients. I also put on 15 pounds, but that’s another story.

Ingredients:
100 grams unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
300 g milk chocolate chips
300 g dark chocolate chips (you’re looking for 50-70 per cent cocoa solids)
6 digestive cookies
100 g shelled macadamia nuts
100 g ready-to-eat dried figs
cocoa powder, to dust

You’ll also need a 7 inch square pan, but I used a rectangular one that was similar in size and it was fine (greased before using).

Makes about 16.

Directions:
Mix the butter, honey and chocolate in a pan and melt gently, stir here and there.

At the same time, chop the biscuits, nuts, figs. Put them in the melted chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan. Let it cool completely, then place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until set.

Cut into 16 slices, if you used a square pan. If not, cut them as you wish to make them dainty. Dust with cocoa.

Substitutions: I used digestive biscuits, but I think other cookies would work fine too. Perhaps graham crackers, maybe even nilla wafers. I probably wouldn’t use macadamia nuts next time, but whatever I have on hand – pecans or almonds.

Would I make this again? Yes, I love the idea of a no-bake treat I can just keep in an airtight container or give as a holiday gift. These are unexpectedly delicious and I love serving them next to cappuccino or tea.
I will say I’m not too certain kids would like these, the depth of flavours is more suitable to the adult palate.

Grade: Five stars out of five. These are really an elegant treat, and if you can gently melt chocolate and grease a pan, you can make these. I also like the fact I can use up the little bits of chocolate chips in different bags, and nuts in plastic containers I always seem to have leftover from other recipes.