Go Fig-ure

Growing up I thought Fig Newtons were among the most disgusting cookies—insert air quotes– ever created.   I haven’t eaten one in my adulthood, but I have discovered a love for the fig that I never appreciated in my earlier years.   The first time I ever had a fresh fig was during an unpleasant tour of vineyards in the Virginia countryside.   I don’t remember much about the trip aside from the bad company…but I shall never regret it.  After all, it led me to the fig.  Who knew!?

I love breakfast, and wish that I could devote more time to it (Beet hash?  Are you kidding me?  How awesome would that be?!).  Sadly, breakfast is usually an afterthought as I rush to get everyone out of the house on time.  Breakfast bars are the perfect answer to crazy weekday mornings…

As one can imagine, fresh figs can’t be found around these parts.  But dried figs, mission and Turkish, are almost as good.  I prefer the Turkish fig as my go to variety.  I have tried out several recipes which star the fig, but never could find just what I was looking for.   Instead, I adapted a recipe from Mr. Michael Chiarello (my Number Two celebrity chef crush).  Thanks, Michael.  Oh, and now I kinda feel badly for the fig newton…

Figgy Breakfast (or Energy) Bars,  adapted from Michael Chiarello’s recipe

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 1/2 dried figs, chopped (preferably Turkish)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli bittersweet dark chocolate chips are the best)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup golden molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour)
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place oats and walnuts on a baking sheet, toast in oven for 10 minutes.  Set aside.
  3. Turn over to 325 degrees F.
  4. Beat butter, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, powdered milk, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture.  Add the milk and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the dried fruit, chocolate chips, oats and walnuts to the mixture and mix.
  7. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper for 28 minutes (cook longer for cakier bars, shorter for doughier bars).

See that cute little fig poking up?  They store nicely for up to one week at room temperature.  I recommend saving some for later in the freezer.

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