You know how it is when you're first really lovestruck with someone or something - a boy, a girl, a baby, a handbag - and you can't stop gazing at them? That's how I feel about these bars. It's taken me ages to choose a photo of them for this post because they look so good from so many angles. It's ridiculous - not only is my computer jammed with 40 million photos of the Small Girl, but now I have hundreds of pictures of cakes. In fact, I probably have more photos of food than I do of my beloved. Is this a bad thing?
Chocolate Prune Bars
I've been making variations of this for years, ever since I copied it down from a North & South magazine column by Michael Lee-Richards. I was a bored personal assistant to a public servant and surreptitious recipe retrieval was one of the things that kept me going. This is my current favourite incarnation.
100g butter, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tin condensed milk
handfuls of roughly chopped dark chocolate, prunes, dates, walnuts - you can vary these to suit your tastes but extensive research on my part over the years has found that it's best to have a 2:1 ratio of fruit to nuts. Introduce chocolate to the mix and you can get away with a 1:1:1 ratio. Am I blinding you with science?
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a slice tin with baking paper. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, coconut and baking powder together and press into the tin. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter the chocolate, prunes and nuts on top. Drizzle the condensed milk over the top, then return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and eating - you don't want burned lips the weekend before Valentine's Day, do you?