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Italian Fig Bars

No recipe image available.These richly spiced fig cookies are equally at home on an elaborate holiday table or in a lunchbox next to a turkey-on-wheat.

Recipe Ingredients:

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

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. 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 mixture in batches until well blended. Whisk together honey, red wine, marmalade, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.Add honey mixture to fig mixture; stir until well blended.
  3. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly (see Note). Beat together egg, vanilla and evaporated milk; add to flour mixture and mix well.
  4. Divide dough into four portions; on liberally floured surface, roll one portion into long strip about 4 1/2-inches wide and 1/4-inch thick. Spread about a fourth of the fig mixture on one side of the strip, about 1/2-inch from the edge; fold the other side over to enclose the filling (you may need to us a spatula to lift the edge of the pastry); seal the edges and trim if desired.Place un ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown. Cool.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. If needed for a more spreadable texture, add milk a few drops at a time, whisking after each addition.
  7. Spread glaze over the cooled strips; cut into bars.

Makes 24 bars.

Note: When sufficiently mixed, the flour/butter mixture will look slightly golden, with pea-sized clumps; if you squeeze a small handful, it should be moist enough to hold together.