I wanted to make a traditional Italian Christmas cookie so what better place to look than my box of memories from when I used to live in Foligno, Umbria in 1996?!
Originally this was supposed to be similar to a fruitcake but I tweaked it to make these crunchy, rich and delicious bars. Of course, I wasn’t happy because they were missing my favorite key ingredient, so I coated them with 70% dark chocolate.
Preheat oven to 350F
Makes 24 two-bite bars
1/3 cup unpasteurized honey (I used wildflower by https://beekeepersnaturals.com )
2-3 tbsp red wine or juice from 1/2 orange
1/3 cup organic walnuts, chopped into medium-sized pieces
1/3 cup organic hazlenuts, chopped
1/3 cup organic almonds, chopped
1 cup or 7oz 70% organic dark chocolate
1/4 cup dried organic cranberries
1/4 cup organic raisins
1/2 cup organic unblanched all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I used https://bobsredmill.com )
2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
rind of 1 organic orange
2 tsp ground ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- Place dried fruit and 4oz or just over 1/2 cup of the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, gently warm honey, add vanilla, wine/orange juice. DO NOT allow it to boil, just a slight simmer.
- Pour honey mixture into fruit and chocolate bowl and mix well, until chocolate is melted.
- Add spices and flour, mixing well.
- Press dough in a square baking pan lined with parchment paper so that bars are about 1.5cm high.
- Bake in 350F oven for 12-15minutes. Let cool before cutting into bite-sized bars.
- Melt the other 3oz of dark chocolate and dip bars into the melted chocolate to coat the tops. Place in refrigerator to set.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month in fridge or freezer. Will keep on counter for 2 weeks.