Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lemon Fig Bar

Our bi-monthly delivery of organic fruits and veggies recently contained a pint of fresh figs. While I enjoy Fig Newtons, they aren't something I buy. I stood there looking at the fresh figs wondering if I'd ever had a fig in any way other than those stick-to-the-roof-of-your mouth cookies (which then require lots of water to remove the sticky dough from your mouth). I came up with nothing.

At this point I turned to my two shelves of cookbooks which have never let me down in the past. Much to my shock, out of all of those books I found one which listed figs in the table of contents: Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day (one of their books from the famed New York restuarant where everything is healthy and homemade). Turning to the referenced page I discovered a recipe for Lemon Date Bars. In the small foot note at the bottom it mentioned that figs could be substituted for the dates. Since I hate dates, substituting them for figs would be the only way I'd try a Lemon Date Bar (and then discovering if I even remotely liked the figs)!

While the recipe may have intended the figs to be dried like the dates, it seemed to work fine. The bars were a nice chewy consistency with a crunchy crumb topping. The bars required very few ingredients and all were basic pantry items already on hand. The bars even seemed like they would be much healthier than the average cookie. The only disappoint was the lemon was so subtle I had no idea it was there! Since another pint of fresh figs just arrived a few days ago (why didn't we think to block figs on our delivery list???) and due to the lack of options I'm discovering for them, I may be making these bars again. This time I'll be substituting some of the water for additional lemon juice and might just throw in lemon zest as well.

If you too discover a pint of fresh figs on your doorstep, here's what to do. In a saucepan, combine 2 c. chopped figs (or dates if you dare), juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2 c. water. Cook covered on how heat for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. In a bowl, cream together 1/2 c. room temp butter, and 3/4 c. packed brown sugar. Stir in 1 3/4 c. flour, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. baking soda. Add the oats and mix well. Press 2/3 of the dough into an oiled 9" baking pan. Pour the fig mixture over the dough and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining dough on top and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan. That's it.

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