About a month ago, I was sent the cookbook Home Made by Yvette Van Boven and I’m kinda in love with it. It’s a tome dedicated to all things homemade, and when I say tome, I’m not kidding - it’s over 400 pages, full recipes and instructions for everything from preserving fruits, to cheese making and even homemade liqueurs.
Not only is it full of great information, it’s also gorgeous. The photos feel so homey, and they’re accented by adorable drawings (Van Boven is also an illustrator), hand written recipes & paper cut outs. It even has a section dedicated to dog treats - it’s downright charming.
When I opened the book for the first time, this recipe was on the page I happened to open to - and the first one I wanted to make. These are crunchy, chewy bars filled with lots of my favorite things, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit. The recipe calls for dried figs, but I couldn’t find any, so I used dried cherries instead. They’re tasty, pretty simple, and I think they’d make a great gift for a friend.
Go get yourself a copy of Home Made! You won’t regret it. (And be on the look out for a recipe for sweet potato soup from the book on honey & jam soon! :)
Nut-Caramel Bars with Dried Figs
From Home Made by Yvette Van Boven
1 1/3 cups blanched almonds
1 1/3 cups walnuts or pecans
1 1/3 cups sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or a mixture of them all
7 oz dried figs (I used dried cherries)
juice & zest of 1/2 orange
sunflower oil for greasing purposes
1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 stick butter
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 340F/Gas 4. Arrange the nuts over a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake for approx. 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp, turning halfway through. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and stir in the figs and orange zest. Line a shallow rectangular baking sheet with wax paper. Brush the wax paper with a thin layer of oil. Heat the sugar, syrup and orange juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Stir gently with a wooden spoon, but beware of splatters, since it will get very hot. Lastly, stir in the butter and salt. The sauce will become thicker. Fold in the nuts and stir well. Pour the mixture onto the greased paper and spread evenly. After approx. 15 minutes, score into bars with the back of a knife when it is nearly cool.
Leave to fully cool.
Break the slab along the score lines.
You can keep the bars for some time in a sealed box separated by sheets of wax paper.
ps, While I was sent a review copy of this book - I wasn’t asked or payed to write about it. All opinions are my own - this is a fantastic book, I wouldn’t lie to you guys!