A mid morning snack for you all…
This is an adapted recipe from a great old cook book The Dairy Book of Family Cookery. You can still get it on amazon but that’s nowhere near as exciting as how you would originally buy it: you’d order it from your Milk Man and he would deliver it with your milk in the morning. How fantastic is that?!
The book’s only downfall is that every recipe contains rather inflated quantities of dairy product so some of them (as my sister found out with the recipe for walnut bread – 2 whole pots of creme fraiche) do not really work. The munchie recipe is one of the book’s great successes. It’s also worth it for the amazing 70’s pictures… That said, the Dairy Book series (yes there are more than just this one) do have excellent staple recipes for things like white sauce, cakes and biscuits. They have updated the books as recently as this year, but an oldie is a goodie, especially when the photographs are this good…
What is that in the front?! Meat doused with cream probably, with a cream sauce on the side and a creamy soup to start all washed down with a creamy syllabub (with a cream garnish)
In this book is the recipe for Date Munchies, my sister’s favourite treat when we were little. I am not sure what they were called in the book, but I’m pretty sure my mum made up the brilliant name we give them now.
The original Date Munchies are a simple flapjack with a sticky date centre. Admittedly they can’t really be improved upon but I thought I’d use them as a jumping off point for my version that should really be called Date and Nut and Fig Munchie Crumblies.
This quantity makes 24 bar shaped munchies. They freeze very well so I made this amount and froze half for impromptu tea time treats. If you don’t have a freezer just halve the recipe unless you have an army of children or very hungry friends close to hand.
I used a 30cm x 20cm tin. You could go a bit smaller than this but I wouldn’t go bigger.
(The New) Date Munchies
500g dried dates and figs de-stoned and diced (it’s up to you how many of each you use but remember dates are stickier than figs so hold together better, I use about 2/3 dates and 1/3 figs)
1 tbsp caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
200g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
85g walnuts, chopped
40g flaked almonds, toasted (to toast put flaked almonds in a baking tray and pop in the oven while it’s pre-heating for about 5 mins. Keep an eye on them!)
340g butter, melted
Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees or gas 3 1/2
Grease and line your 30x20cm tin
In a saucepan, add the dates/figs, caster sugar, water and lemon zest. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes stirring all the time. When the time is up the mixture should be rich and jammy. Set it aside and leave it to cool.
In a large bowl mix the oats, flour baking soda, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine, then add the nuts and melted butter. Mix thoroughly, it will be pretty crumbly but don’t worry, it just makes it more ‘fun’ (read ‘messy’) when you eat them.
Now press half the mixture down onto the base of your tin and cover with the date and fig mixture. You will not be able to spread it due to the crumbly nature of the base, so put teaspoon sized dollops on at regular intervals and just squash slightly. Now sprinkle over the rest of the crumbly mixture and press it down firmly. This will squish the fruit middle even more and make it even.
Now put it in the oven for 30-35 minutes. It is ready when the top is browned.
Leave them to cool slightly in the tin and then slide them out onto a cooling rack. Slice them into bars while they are still warm.
Perfect with a cup of tea. Me and my sister (she is the true measure of whether a date munchie is up to scratch) ate them on a coach, with a thermos of tea. Much fun. And they passed the test!