Dried fig and walnut bars

 

This recipe comes with a story (as all my recipes do). I received some dried figs as a gift and was researching recipes to use them. I came across a biscotti recipe at Smitten Kitchen (and you know how I LOVE biscotti)  so I decided to give it a try.

Instead of forming the dough into a log I decided to spread it in the pan the way you spread brownies or any bar cake. As the biscotti was baking in the oven, the house was filled with a cloud of orange and spice aromas that drew the kids and my husband to the kitchen. After the biscotti came out of the oven and as I was slicing it in preparation to bake it a second time to transform the bars into biscotti, half the patch disappeared. So I forsake the idea of the second bake and settled for letting this batch be figs and walnut bars promising myself to make a patch soon that will make it all the way to biscotti.

I have made these 6 or 7 times since then and they never made it to the biscotti stage. At long last, I changed the  title of the recipe in my recipe book to dried fig and walnut bars and decided to share it with you 🙂

I’ve  made these with all white sugar and brown and white and we liked it both ways. It is a great way to make a good treat for the kids, dried figs are loaded with nutrients and so are walnuts. They make a wonderful companion to an afternoon cup of tea or coffee. Last but not least,I really can’t tell you how fragrant these bard are, baking them is a form of aroma therapy lol. I’ll give you the whole recipe (all the way to biscotti stage) but I do urge you to give them a try before baking them a second time

 

Dried fig and walnut bars from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, quartered
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
6 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 a large orange (I used a clementine)
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (or 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon. ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 150  degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Allow the walnuts to cool completely

2. Place the walnuts and dried figs in a food processor and process until they are finely chopped.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally. Beat in the vanilla and the orange zest.

4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture to form a somewhat firm dough. Add the walnuts and figs and beat until thoroughly combined. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and chill 35 to 40 minutes or until completely firm.

5. When the dough has chilled, lightly grease a baking sheet. On a floured board, use your palms to roll the piece of dough into a log the length of the baking sheet. Place the log on the baking sheet.

6. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes until it is lightly golden brown, firm to the touch and just beginning to crack slightly.

7. Allow the log to cool on the cookie sheet until cool to the touch, about 40 minutes. With a serrated knife, slice the biscotti, slightly on the bias, into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the slices on the cookie sheet in single layer (I always end up needing a second baking sheet in this step, as they have a lot more surface area); Return the biscotti to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes, or until the biscotti are toasted and crisp.

Store the biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep up to about 2 weeks.

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