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Monday, September 15, 2014

Fig Einsteins for One

You know what a Fig Newton is, right? (It's a  delicious cookie with a cake wrapper and gooey fig filling.) They're fun to make. They use dried figs, and when it's not fig season I'll give you a nice recipe for those. But it IS fig season, so I created Fig Einsteins, Newton's younger, fresher relative. You'll want a lot of these, so this recipe makes four cookies.

For the Filling:
5 fresh figs (I used Black Mission, but Brown Turkey will do nicely, too)
½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)

For the Dough:
½ TBLSP flax seed meal
1 TBLSP water
½ cup whole wheat flour
A pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
A dash of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ TBLSP coconut oil
1 ½ TBLSP maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 ½ teaspoons almond milk
1 ½ teaspoons unsweetened applesauce

Make the Filling:
  1. Grind the figs in a blender or food processor, and add the maple syrup. Blend a bit more. If the mixture is about the consistency of jam, you’re golden. If it’s thicker, add tiny bits of water until it’s right. I’m talking about dribbles here, less than a teaspoon. If it’s too thin, add another fig. Or, you could put it on the stove for a few minutes. Don't let it get past just beginning to boil though, or you'll lose some of that unctuousness from the fresh figgies.
  2. Set it aside while you make the dough (and while you let the dough rest). It needs time for the figs’ natural pectin to react. You might want to take it out of the blender for easier cleaning.

Make the Dough:
  1. Mix the flax seed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside to turn into goo.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, and applesauce.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Don’t over mix it.
  5. Gather the very sticky and wet dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

      Fa-la-la-la, it’s a lovely day. Fa-la-la-la-lay-oh. Fa-la-la-la, it’s a lovely day, sing fa-la-la-la-lay-oh! (This is the refrain for John Barleycorn, if you’re looking for something to sing while you wait.)

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put the parchment, once you've sized it for the pan, on your work surface and lightly flour it.

Assemble the Cookie:
  1. Once the dough is firm, roll it out on your floured parchment, making the dough into a rectangle. It doesn't have to be perfect. I like cutting the raggedy edges off to make it closer to rectangular, but they’re your cookies. You do it how you like it.
  2. Imagine that the rectangle of dough is divided lengthwise into quarters. Spread the fig mixture in a wide swath down the central two quarters of the dough. You probably won’t need all of it.
  3. Fold the outside quarters over the fig mixture to meet in the middle using the edges of the parchment paper to pick it up. The dough is very sticky, and this will help keep it intact. If there’s a little dough overlap on the fig mixture, that’s marvelous.  
  4. Slice the narrow rectangle into four squares. A pizza cutter works very well for this. I don’t have a pizza cutter, so I used a really large knife, much larger than seemed absolutely necessary. A really big knife goes through without tearing or squishing too much.
  5. Place the parchment with its figgy little squares onto the baking sheet cut side up and bake for 12 minutes. They will be starting to brown and a little firm to the touch. The bottom won’t be cooked through yet so…
  6. Roll the mostly baked squares over using the parchment paper to help you flip them all at once (they’re hot!) and bake for another 5 minutes. They should be golden brown and firm to the touch on the bottom (which is now the top) too.
  7. Let them cool on the parchment paper. 

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