Trial, Error & Fig Bars

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I need a pastry cutter.

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It started out so simply…

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So straightforward…

But, like everything else in my life, if it seems too easy, I’ll over-complicate it.  I don’t plan it that way, it just happens.

I had seen this recipe on one of my very favorite blogs (she’s local, too!), and couldn’t wait to try it. But, like all the recipes I get really excited about, it got put off. And rescheduled. And misplaced. And then found!

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It used fun ingredients, like figs and flaxseed meal.

But, I don’t have a pastry cutter. So when the recipe said to cut in the butter, I tried to get creative.
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And when that failed miserably, I tried again.
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And when that method started turning the flour into powder, I had to try again.
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It’s ok to laugh. I did…eventually. I’m really getting to that point in the kitchen where I don’t sweat the small stuff. Mostly.

The double fork method worked well, it just took more elbow grease than I was originally willing to use. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with using a bit of elbow grease, and those recipes usually turn out the best. I’m happy to report that the second time I made this, I started out with the forks, and it came together really nicely. Live and learn.

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This trick, I already knew. If you want honey to slide right out of a measuring cup or spoon, just spray a bit of olive oil into it first.

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It’s totally slick. (Sorry, bad pun)

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I had no idea that mixing milk and honey would be so cool.

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And that mixing the milk, honey and eggs would look cooler.

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The dough really does go together beautifully (when you do it right)

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Figs

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Plums, instead of apricots

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This paste is delicious. In fig bars, on toast, in yogurt. I think it might become a staple in our fridge.

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I’ve really enjoyed having these around for a quick snack right after work, as I’m getting dinner going. And I love the little “pop” you get when you bite into the fig seeds. You really need to go make these.

Just make sure you do it like Nici, please 🙂

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Mama Digs Fig Bars (adapted from Nici Holt Cline)
Makes about 32 bars

Crust:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup ground flax seed
dash ground nutmeg and cinnamon
1 stick salted butter (cold)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs

Mix the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter (seriously, I need a pastry cutter). Whisk milk, honey and eggs, and add to the dry ingredients. I just used ma hands to combine everything. Shape the dough into a ball, and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Meanwhile…

Fig Paste:
2 cups dried figs
1/2 cup dried plums
2 cups apple juice
1 cup water

Combine the ingredients in a sauce pot over medium-low heat. Gently simmer until the fruits start to plump and most of the moisture is absorbed. Transfer to a food processor and puree.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Take the dough out of the fridge and knead gently to loosen it up. Divide in half (or quarters, depending on how big your baking sheet/stone is). Dust a rolling surface and rolling pin with flour, and roll out one portion of dough until nice and thin. Transfer to the baking vessel. Spread filling to completely cover the surface of the dough, all the way to the edge. The first time around, I spread it too thin and regretted it. Really go for it! Roll out another portion of dough, and place on top of the fig paste.

Bake for about 20-22 minutes, and allow to cool before cutting.

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