We finally got our Christmas tree up yesterday. I would’ve liked to have gone to a picturesque farm where all the trees are lined up in neat little rows waiting at attention for their adoptive family to gather round and cheer how perfect it is then chop it down.
I hope we can do that one year. But this year we found ourselves 9 days before Christmas with a million other errands to run, one of which required a visit to Costco, which luckily also sells Christmas trees. Or at least they had sold Christmas trees, until they sold out of them…….last week.
After going on a grand tour through Fargo looking for someone, anyone selling Christmas trees we found a stand located in a church parking lot that had a few left. We picked out the fattest, bushiest little Christmas tree you ever did see, wrapped it in a plastic bag and strapped it to the top of our car and set out for the 50 mile drive home.
About 10 miles later we see big swaths of white plastic blowing up over the windshield and frantically pull over. What happened next was 20 minutes of gymnastics, strap-tighting, tree throwing, and maybe a little profanity before the trunk was opened and the tree was shoved in the back of the car. All I can say is THANK GOD it was warm outside otherwise that emotionally chilly ride home could’ve been FREEZING!
I know you all are very concerned about the condition of the Ramos Christmas tree so I want to assure you, that hearty thing made it home in near perfect condition and is smelling up our house like a champ. I am now officially in the Christmas spirit. I may even send out a couple of those Christmas cards that have been sitting on my desk for two weeks.
As for this nutty, figgy candy it is so chewy and full of spice. I’m not ashamed to admit that aside from the two teensy bites I gave Hiro I ate the whole thing myself. It is a super fancy addition to any cheese tray and also makes an excellent edible gift to send in the mail—wrapped tightly it will keep for weeks.
You can use other nuts or dried fruit too, like dates or prunes or pistachios, but I think this combo is the best. It’s pretty good with a nice glass of port too, maybe while gazing at your Christmas tree.
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Grated zest of 3 tangerines
- 7 ounces dried figs, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F. Place nuts in a single layer on a sheet pan and toast them in the oven as it heats up until the skin starts to peel away from the hazelnuts and they are fragrant, about 5-8 minutes.
- Let cool slightly, then transfer hazelnuts to a clean dish towel. Rub the nuts with the towel to remove as much skin as possible. Chop both nuts coarsely, and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
- Grease a 8-inch springform pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, fennel seed, cinnamon, cloves, and tangerine zest. Add the nuts and figs and stir to coat.
- In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and honey over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium and cook, without disturbing, until the mixture reaches 245°F on a candy thermometer, about 2-3 minutes. Immediately pour over the nut mixture.
- Working quickly, stir until the dry ingredients are coated. Transfer to the pan spreading it evenly with a wooden spoon dipped in cold water or with damp fingertips.
- Bake for 40 minutes. The candy will still be sticky to the touch. Cool completely on a rack, then remove from the pan and remove the parchment paper. Cut into thin wedges to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g