Monday, September 24, 2007

SHF #35: Fig and Honey Cookies


On the whole I am madly in love with living in the tropics. I love tropical fruits (sinfully sweet and sticky), brilliant sunshine, and wearing flip-flops. I love not having to think about bringing a jacket (unless you are watching a movie…our theatres are glacial!) and owning an obscene amount of tank tops. And of course, there are the beaches. Beaches that will make you swim across shark-infested waters for (just like Leonardo did). Lying under the sun on a sandy beach, with a mango shake in one hand and a book in the other, tropical tunes playing in some pub a ways off, smelling my tanning gel doing its job, feeling gorgeously lazy…I live for moments like these.

But as is often the case, not everything is perfect in paradise. The heat can be oppressing, especially if you don’t actually live on that sandy beach but in the middle of an overcrowded city. You couldn’t find a cloudberry if your life depended on it. Snow is something you scrape off the side of your freezer. You cannot hide weight-gain behind winter’s fabulous coats. And…no fresh figs!***

For most of my life a fresh fig was just a beautiful photograph on the cover of a cookbook. A mythical temptation from faraway lands that I could only dream of but never taste...until one trip to Spain when I finally laid my lips on them. A divine moment! I will never forget the taste and I eagerly wait for the day when I can finally taste another.

This is why when I heard that the adorable Cream Puff, Ivonne, of Cream Puffs in Venice decided on The Beautiful Fig as the theme for this round of Sugar High Friday my reaction was a resounding “YES!”, as well as a piteous “oooh-noooo…”. You see, although Yvonne made sure to include dried figs in the ingredients, I knew that there would a round-up beyond my wildest fig imaginings and the closest I would get to those fresh fig creations would be to lick my laptop screen.

But still...I love figs, and I love Ivonne and her fantastic blog, and perhaps having my own figgy creation will help stave off the violent cravings I know are sure to ensue.

Fig and Honey Cookies
(From Yummy Magazine, September 2007 issue, page 46)

  • 1 + 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 3/4 cups honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dried figs, soaked in hot water and coarsely chopped
  • 1 + 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the honey and butter until the butter melts. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk the eggs. Pour in the honey mixture (once it’s cooled) and continue to whisk until blended. Stir in the dry ingredients. Lastly, add the figs and the walnuts and stir until just incorporated.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheets, spaced at least 1-inch apart. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes, or until the cookies are nicely browned and spring back when gently pressed. Transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely and store in airtight containers.

The smell of these cookies is tantalizingly spicy…brimming with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These spices are the perfect foil for the dried figs (now baked to a chewy deliciousness) and walnuts. They have a very “cookie-baking-mama meets mid-eastern mystique” kinda thing going on. The only thing puzzling is that these cookies turned out more like “cakies”. That is to say, their texture is much more like a cake than a cookie. In fact, C, who is not into sweets, and less into baking, actually commented on how they “didn’t feel like cookies”. Hmmm…I’m still trying to figure out what I did wrong although I followed the recipe exactly. No matter, they tasted good…nice and aromatic with chewy bit of figs and crunchy nuts all throughout :)

Yummy is a local food magazine that I enjoy. It’s only been around since March this year, and already it has become a fast favorite among the local food publications. I like its clean and modern styling, and interesting features/recipes that I feel responds to a new growing majority of independent home cooks. When I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to be my entry for this month’s SHF. Please check out Cream Puffs in Venice this Friday for the round up!

***Thinking more about this fact I wonder how hard it would be to grow figs here. It’s not as if they only grow in countries whose climates are our polar opposites. They thrive in the Mediterranean area with which we at least have the sunny-ness in common. Can’t anyone grow figs here? I’m sure it’s not impossible. If you know of someone who does please let me know!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look wonderful and very tempting! An original recipe...

katiez said...

We have 2 fig trees, but cool winters. Maybe they need a period of dormancy which they wouldn't get in the tropics.
I didn't put on a tank top once this summer, sigh... (that is unusual for here, usually I live in them for 2 months...but only 2 months)

katrina said...

Hey, I saw these in Yummy and drooled, so I recognized them right away when I saw your post. Yours look just as delish as the ones in the mag! Mmm...figs, walnuts, and those spices! Perfect with hot coffee or tea in today's stormy weather.

SheLovesFigs said...

Hi! Where can I get dried figs? I share your love for figs too!!! :)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

They sound delicious but I can't see a pic?

Deborah said...

I have never had a fresh fig!! I have been looking like crazy since this theme was announced, but have not been able to find them. It's sad, because there are so many yummy looking recipes that I have seen with fresh figs. But these look delicious - and I know I can find dried figs!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Rosa! Thanks :) This local magazine is featuring a lot of interesting recipes...

Hi Katiez! Two fig trees! What a dream! :) Maybe you're right about the dormancy period...sigh. Well, I guess the upside is wearing tanks everyday...but I sure wouldn't mind freezing a bit for a fresh fig!

Hi Katrina! Thanks! :) I really like its flavor, and like you suggested had one with a cup of hot tea just now :) It came out much like a cake than a cookie though...I have actually considered baking them in muffin cups next time!

Hello Shewholovesfigs! Thanks for stopping by! I get my dried figs at Santis :)

Hi Amanda! Oh no...I can see the picture...I wonder what went wrong...

Hi Deborah! Sigh...I know the feeling! I always keep my eyes open here in the hopes that maybe someday...I'll cross my fingers! :)

Anh said...

Jo, figs in cookies are really good! I simply love them (I just finished my batch :D)

Ivonne said...

Okay, now I want to move to the beach!!! But I'm so glad that you got to try figs in Spain and that you loved them. As I love thes glorious cookies that you made.

Thanks so much for taking part in SHF #35!

canDIshhh said...

Joey - they look so yummy!!!

Wanna try it! Wanna try it!

Peabody said...

Lovely looking cookies!

Rasa Malaysia said...

Everyone is cooking or baking with figs but I have never tried them, I am sad. :(

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anh! They are aren't they? :) They're good in both sweet and savory perfect is that? :) Now it only they grew fresh here!

Hi Ivonne! Thanks for choosing a terrific theme :) Yes, at least as I got to try them at least once!

Thanks Candishhh! :)

Thank you Peabody :)

Hi Bee! I have only tried them once (in Spain)...over here there are no fresh figs so I have to used dired...oh well! Hope you come across a fresh fig one day! :)

Belinda said...

The "cakies" look very tempting and delicious to me, Joey...appropriate that they look yummy, being that the recipe originated from "Yummy" magazine. I peeked at the website...I love that name for a magazine, and I wish I could get it here in Georgia! Hmmm...I just don't know about figs. Perhaps there are different cultivars that do well in different areas. I have a fig tree that produces the sweetest most heavenly little figs, in late summer. And our weather is miserably hot for most of the year. Our winters are very pleasant and mild...which I'm quite looking forward to after this summer. :-)

valentinA said...

Now that's what I call an original recipe! Looks like the fig & honey found their perfect match!:)

Paz said...

Oh, how delicious!


mtan said...

I wonder if they could grow in Bukidnon, the weather there is a bit (just a bit) more temperate, higher altitude, gets pretty brisk in December/January. Maybe Nena's friends who live there can try it out?

Darn, I should have saved some of the dried figs I got from the US for this. I wonder if chico would work as a substitute.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Belinda! Thanks! :) Yummy is my favorite among our local food magazines :) You're so lucky to have your own fig trees!

Hi Valentina! They go really well all the spices!

Thanks Paz! :)

Hi M! Hmmm...Bukidnon, good idea! Let's ask Nena later :) You can get more dried figs in Santis :)

aria said...

oh yum! what a wonderful idea for cookies, i can just taste them now. i'm sooo tempted!

Tartelette said...

Very original and very tempting!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Aria! Wish I could send you some :)

Hi Helene! Thank you :)

veron said...

These cookies are Yummy indeed! I like your description of chewy figs and crunchy nuts - what a great textural contrast.

Susan said...

I'm still eating my through as many fresh figs as possible, but I haven't had them in cookies...until now! Oh, these really sound heavenly. I cannot wait to try them!

Rose said...

Yum! Nice looking cookies! I like cakey cookies so I'll have to try these!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Veron! I really liked the combination :) And I forgot to mention one of the best textural things about eating figs...the crunchy seeds!

Hi Susan! You are lucky to have all those fresh figs :) This recipe, as it comes from a local magazine, uses dried ones...because we don't grow them here...sigh!

Thanks Rose! :) But prepare yourself, they are really quite like cake!

christine said...

Omigod! yum! So these are the "cakies" you were saying. They're drool-worthy!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nens! Yes, these were the "cakies" :)

Vanessa said...

featured this recipe on my blog :D

ChichaJo said...

Hi Vanessa! Thanks! Your cake take on this sounds delicious!

Lucie said...

I think your blog is up there with my favourite ones so many nice yummy things to make. love it all