These richly spiced fig cookies are equallyat home on an elaborate holiday table or in a lunchbox next toa turkey-on-wheat.
Recipe: Italian Fig Bars
3/4 pound dried figs, stems removed, quartered 3/4 pound raisins 1/4 pound shelled almonds 1/4 pound shelled walnuts 1/2 cup honey 1/4 cup red wine 3 tablespoons orange marmalade 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces 1 large egg, beaten 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1 1/3 tablespoons butter, melted 1 tablespoon milk 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Combine figs and raisins in large bowl;break up clumps as much as possible. Add almonds and walnuts,mixing to combine evenly. Using food processor, process fig mixturein batches until well blended. Whisk together honey, red wine,marmalade, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.Add honey mixture tofig mixture; stir until well blended.
In another bowl, sift together flour,baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or twoforks, cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly (see Note).Beat together egg, vanilla and evaporated milk; add to flourmixture and mix well.
Divide dough into four portions; on liberallyfloured surface, roll one portion into long strip about 4 1/2-incheswide and 1/4-inch thick. Spread about a fourth of the fig mixtureon one side of the strip, about 1/2-inch from the edge; foldthe other side over to enclose the filling (you may need to usa spatula to lift the edge of the pastry); seal the edges andtrim if desired.Place un ungreased baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.Bake for 20 minutes or until brown. Cool.
In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar,melted butter, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. If neededfor a more spreadable texture, add milk a few drops at a time,whisking after each addition.
Spread glaze over the cooled strips; cutinto bars.
Makes 24 bars.
Note: When sufficiently mixed, the flour/buttermixture will look slightly golden, with pea-sized clumps; ifyou squeeze a small handful, it should be moist enough to holdtogether.
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