Rustic Fig Bars

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Okay, so saying that it has been a while would be a bit of an understatement…  It’s been a long time.  All I can say is that school and music are beasts.  Regardless, school is now over, so I have more time on my hands now!

Normally, I might begin by saying that not much has happened since we last talked, but then I reflect back to Halloween and realize that a heck of a lot has happened since then.  Thankfully, most of it has been pretty darn good.  Like everything, it’s had its ups and downs and whatnot, but that’s okay.  Overall, it’s been very much worth it.

Things that have changed on the personal front since October would definitely be music, my activities, and my personal style.  My tastes in music have completely changed since then.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still like classical music and 80’s rock, but recently I have grown fond of some current artists.  Most of them aren’t terribly well-known, but they’re current nonetheless.

I have also been quite the avid moviegoer recently.  Two of the most recent films I’ve seen are The Great Gatsby and Star Trek: Into Darkness.  Let me begin by saying that they are both fantastic.

Without going into too much detail, I thought that Baz Luhrmann did an excellent job with Gatsby, especially since it is notoriously hard to film.  As with any book-to-movie transition, however, there were issues, and I definitely have my qualms with a few of them (I will note, however, the sanitarium is not one of them).  Looking past those minor descrepancies, however, the sets and costuming were beautifully opulent, and worked marvelously to capture the thrill of the roaring 20’s.  All in all, it was a very good film that I would definitely go to see again.

Now Star Trek was plain epic.  I know, using that word is so uncool, but it’s the only one I’ve got to describe it.  Seriously though, Benedict Cumberbatch played the main villain, and he’s hands down amazing.  I know that the movie was a bit of a re-hash of Wrath of Khan, but I still thought it was excellent.  Like with Gatsby, I could spend an entire post on Star Trek, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Well, I think that’s enough about me, don’t you?  Let’s move on to today’s noms.

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So today I made some fig bars and they turned out quite well.  They are rustic and homey, just sweet enough to indulge one’s afternoon sweet tooth but not sweet to the point of being cloying.  The rich and dark filling is perfectly contrasted by the soft and tender cookie.  They go especially well with a tall, cool glass of vanilla soy milk as a comforting afternoon snack.

Enjoy!

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Fig Bars

Adapted slightly from My Whole Food Life, http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/05/08/homemade-fig-newtons/

For the filling:

8.5 ounces dried figs (I used mission, but Turkish or even a combination would be good)

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

water

For the cookie:

1 cup all purpose flour*

1 cup whole wheat flour*

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1/3 cup light olive oil or coconut oil

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons organic soy milk

2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce

Begin by making the filling.  In the bowl of a food processor, add in the figs and maple syrup.  Pulse until a paste forms.  With the motor still running, begin to add in water (say a tablespoon to start off with).  Add in water until the fig mixture has the consistency of creamy peanut butter.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

To make the dough, mix together the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  In another bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients.  Pour the liquid ingredients in with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  The dough will be very sticky and somewhat wet.  Divide the dough into two logs and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening them out slightly.  Chill until firm (being impatient, I stuck mine in the freezer).

Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll your dough out onto a floured surface, trying to keep it relatively rectangular.  Taking half of the fig mixture, break it over one half (lengthwise) of the dough.  Dampen your fingers and press out the filling slightly.  Then fold over the other half of the dough to cover the filling.  Gently press the seams together.  Cut the log into eighths, and place each cookie on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the other section of dough.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are relatively firm and just starting to become golden brown on the bottoms.  Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Store covered at room temperature for about a week, or refrigerated for longer.

*Conversely, you can use 2 cups of white whole wheat flour to replace the cup of all-purpose and the cup of whole wheat.

Makes 16

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