Savor The Earth

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Texas Fig Blondie Rapture—because everything’s figger in Texas September 1, 2009

Filed under: cake,cookies/brownies,dessert,easy,fast,figs — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:20 pm
gettin' figgy with it

gettin' figgy with it

rapture feature

rapture feature

The floral perfume of fresh figs permeates these lightly cakey, soft ‘n’ sweet squares.

TEXAS FIG BLONDIES makes one 9″ X 13″ panful

  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter.  Organic Valley’s my choice here.  Click for $1 OFF coupon.
  • 210 grams (1 cup) light brown sugar.  I use Central Market organics, 2# bag for $2.99.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda.  Press through a fine-meshed sieve to eliminate lumps.
  • 2 eggs, local.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 112 grams (scant 1 cup) organic whole wheat flour.  I like a blend of white whole wheat and regular whole wheat for these squares.  Lately I’m finding the best prices on flour at Whole Foods.
  • 1 heaping cup fresh, ripe Teaxs figs, about 5 1/2 ounces.
  • 1 heaping cup coarsely chopped toasted Texas pecans.  Near the end of the month, we will find ourselves in pecan season again.  Nuts of all kinds store just fine in the freezer, so load up when you find a deal.

For the greatest ease in unmolding these bars, line your 9″ X 13″ baking pan with foil as described in Texas Fig Brownies.  Grease the foil.  Figs being sticky, I recommend Spectrum baking spray (with flour added) or just dusting your oiled foil with flour.  You’ll be baking these beauties in a 350º oven, so get it warmed up.

Beat together the butter, sugar, salt and baking soda until well-combined.  I use my stand mixer.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Beat in the flour(s), figs and pecans.  Spread batter into the prepared pan as evenly as you can.

Bake until golden brown and the surface in the middle feels set to the touch, about 22 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes—if you can stand it.  Cut into squares, sized as you please.

THE RAPTURE makes one 4″ X 4″ X 9″ cake

For a sumptuously scrumptious dessert,  carefully lift the whole bar from the pan, using the foil.  Lay a cooling rack on top of the rectangle, invert the whole thing, and cautiously peel away the foil.  Cut the big cookie into three even rectangles (from one 13″ side to the other—your pieces will measure approximately 4″ X 9″).  Whoop up to almost firm peaks 1 3/4 to 2 cups heavy whipping cream (you can use up to half creme fraiche) with a splash of vanilla extract and a little honey to taste (not too sweet though, figs are honeyed enough).  Spread each fig bar layer with about 2/3 cup whoop cream and stack them like a (rectangular) cake.  Frost the assembled cake all over with the remaining cream and serve right away.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Ah, the fragrant fig.


Texas Fig Brownies August 31, 2009

Filed under: cookies/brownies,dessert,easy,fast,figs — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 5:20 pm

gettin' figgy with it

Lately you can find Texas figs at the markets, down the block, and maybe even in your own yard.  I bought my pint from the Lightsey Farms booth at Sunset Valley Farmers Market.  Figs grow well in our part of the world.  I just wish I had more horizontal sunny real estate to grow my own.  From what I understand, bumper crops of these sweet, tender fruits are the norm.  I imagine I’d be putting figs into everything from newtons, cheese plates and canning jars, to these here brownies. Lushly cakey/fudgy, this batch of chocolaty treats didn’t even survive until evening.  Who can resist such ambrosia?

TEXAS FIG BROWNIES makes one 9″ square panful

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter.  Organic Valley is my choice.  Click for coupons.
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped.  Scharffenberger is on sale right now at Central Market, 9.7 ounce baking-size bar for $7.19.
  • 4 ounces de-stemmed fresh Texas figs (about 1 cup), finely chopped.  I prefer the darker varieties for this recipe (Mission, Black Turkey).
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar.  Organic sugar is available in bulk at Whole Foods and CM for $1.49 a pound.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, local of course.
  • 91 grams (3/4 cup) organic all-purpose flour.  I’m using WF 365 organic brand at the moment.  A best buy at $4.69 per 5# bag.
  • 1 Tablespoon natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder.  I like Dagoba organic.
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Baked brownies cling tenaciously to their baking pans, so I always line mine with a sheet of aluminum foil.  I turn the pan upside down and drape and mold the foil to the underside of the pan.  This makes it a cinch to fit the foil into the pan with neat corners.  Grease your foil however you choose.  Sometimes I use a brush and softened butter or neutral-flavored oil, sometimes I use baking or cooking spray.  Use whatever’s handy for you.  The foil will do most of the work.  Preheat your oven to 350º.  This recipe works great in the toaster oven.  The figs help the batter bake up evenly moist.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching and promote blending.  On my electric stove-top (pity me!), I can turn the burner off when the mixture is almost fully fluid and utilize the residual heat to complete the melting.  Stir in the figs, then the sugar, salt and vanilla.  Mix in the eggs until well blended.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.  Stir these dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake until a bamboo skewer (washable and reusable!) or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached (not clean—that’s overbaked), about 35 minutes.  In my toaster oven, I lay a piece of foil on top of the pan after 15-20 minutes to prevent overbrowning.  You probably don’t need to concern yourself with that in the big oven.

Like all brownies, these sweets are hard to resist when hot from the oven.  But lift the whole square out of the pan using the foil, and let them cool if you can.   The nectarous, floral and honeyed tones of the figs and chocolate will reward your patience with a waltz of flavors in your mouth.

And then they’ll be gone.