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!