Already from Reykjavik you could see the smoke column coming out of the volcano. That made me even more excited to actually go and see the eruption. So as soon as I was out of Corona quarantine and had picked up my car, I took off towards the volcano through the geothermal landscape around Iceland’s capital. I was almost surprised at how easy it was to find it. There were a few large parking lots created just next to the road. It really seemed in a way like the Icelandic tourist association had pressed a button to make the volcano erupt to invite tourists over to the country: the location is less than an hour drive from Reykjavik, very close to the road and with a relatively short hike you can come very close to the crater without being in danger. Talking about a great attraction to increase tourism!
Luckily enough, there were not that many cars parked when I arrived. It was a Monday morning after all. From the parking lot you could easily follow a few road indications to the foot of the mountains. There were still people working on making the path nicer and better accessible, but the first part was already quite an easy walk. The second part was a bit more challenging, steeper and with a less well indicated path. Still very doable though.
And then there it was: the crater. From far away you could already recognize the typical crater cone. And with still quite some distance to go you could hear the eruption sounds. Like a heavy thunder coming from the earth instead of from the sky. Going around another hill, I arrived at a breathtaking view over the fresh lava field. A very large area covered in black lava stone, smoking and with rivers of red glistering fresh lava coming down. Meanwhile I started feeling ashes and lava stones raining upon me in regular intervals. Then, just over the last hill and having now a full view on the crater, I could first only stand still. It was in the middle of an eruption. A truly incredible and indescribable view: the fire coming out of the mountain, the red lava being spit out and flowing down, making the lava field continue to grow even further. So I just spent a long time sitting there with the volcano erupting time and time again and the wind blowing the lava stones down on me like a weird kind of rain. Every time was as impressive as the time before.
Only later, back in the car, could I actually realize what I had been seeing. And then I also realized how hungry I was, having spent the full morning there. Usually I take some of the energy bars with nuts with me when I go hiking. But because of the wind it had not been the most comfortable place to eat anything. Fortunately, that could also be solved back in the car, with some of the nut bars and dates I had with me while contemplating the power of nature.
Almond, date and chocolate cookies
Because the cookies are made with almond butter replacing both the flour and the regular butter, those cookies are naturally gluten-free. This is exactly one of the things making me very curious about this type of recipes, since my dad needs to eat gluten-free.
If you want, you can leave the dates out or replace with for example other dried fruits. Do not use regular white caster sugar, since it really influences the texture.
Ingredients (for around 16 cookies)
- 1 egg
- 80 grams of brown sugar
- Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
- 200 grams of almond butter
- 8 dried dates
- 50 grams of chocolate chips
Start by preheating your oven to 180°C.
Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Add the sugar and mix well with a fork. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and the almond butter as well. Start stirring vigorously. It will look in the beginning like it will just stay a liquid, but after a short time of stirring you will see the egg, sugar and almond butter starting to come together and form a cookie dough.
Slice the dates in the length in halves and chop those halves into 3 pieces. Mix the dates and the chocolate chips into the cookie dough. You can continue using the fork, or just mix it through with your hands. If it is a warm day, the cookie dough might be a bit more oily than if it is cold in your kitchen but this is normal.
Cover two baking trays with baking paper. If, like me, you only have one tray you can just bake the cookies in two batches. Take half the cookie dough and roll 8 bolls out of it. Press those down into disks of between 0.5 and 1 cm thick. Place with enough space in between on a baking tray. Repeat the same with the other half of the dough and place on the other tray. Once all cookies have been shaped, place them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the kitchen starts to smell like cookies.
Carefully take them out of the oven, they will be very soft at this point. Let the cookies cool down completely so that they firm up before eating!