December 2014 Fig Focus

Just in time for the holidays, Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads!

Orchard Choice California Fig spreads are perfect for holiday entertaining and gift giving. Our spreads offer something for everyone. Traditional fruit spread lovers will enjoy Organic Mission and California Orange, while the more adventuresome will reach for our sassy Balsamic Pepper and Port Wine flavors.

As the labels say, the possibilities are endless and delightfully delicious. One of our favorite (and easiest) ways to savor the rich fig flavor is over a soft, warm wedge of Brie cheese with some artisan crackers. From soft to hard, mild to robust, cheeses make the perfect partners for Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads.

Holiday Entertaining Ideas with Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads:

  • Tuck in a gift basket with cheese, crackers, nuts and a small cutting board
  • Tie a small decorative spoon to the jar with a festive ribbon and give as hostess gift
  • Spoon in thumbprint cookies and layer in bar cookies
  • Tie a holiday card with serving suggestions to the jar
  • Spoon over ice cream and crumble cookies on top

Yummy Holiday Cookies and Bars

Fig Cranberry Bars with Caramel Drizzle

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
  • 3/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup caramel ice cream topping

In small bowl combine cranberries and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar; set aside. In medium bowl stir together 2 cups flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar and baking soda. Stir in butter. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.

Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake in 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Stir figs and walnuts into cranberries and sprinkle evenly over crust. Stir together caramel topping and remaining 1/3 cup flour; drizzle over fruits and nuts. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake for additional 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 32 bars.

Chocolate-Fig Pecan Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 10 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (7-8-ounce) Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together flour and 1/4 cup sugar. Add butter, cut into small pieces. With pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Mixture will be dry.) Press crust in bottom of lightly greased 13-x-9-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Sprinkle figs, pecans and chocolate morsels over crust. Lightly beat eggs, gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup and vanilla until well blended. Pour over crust. Return to oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until filling is firm around edges and slightly soft at center. Cool on wire rack. Cut into 32 bars.

Boozy Biscotti with Figs (Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen)

We like these cookies dipped in melted chocolate (heat 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup heavy cream until smooth; stir in rum reserved from plumping figs).

  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 
cup spiced rum
  • 1 1/4 
cups instant grits
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 
teaspoon salt
  • 8 
tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 
cup sugar
  • 1 
tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 
large eggs
  • 1 
cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave figs and rum in bowl, covered, until bubbling, about 1 minute. Let sit until figs have plumped, about 5 minutes. Drain figs, reserving rum to stir into chocolate, if using.



Combine grits, flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, and zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, nuts, and plumped figs; mix until just combined. Form dough into two 7- by 3-inch logs and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden and just beginning to crack on top, about 35 minutes. Let cool on sheet 10 minutes.



Using serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices 1/2-inch apart on baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through baking. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. (Cookies can be stored in airtight container for 1 week.) Makes about 24.

Fig, Coconut-Lime Dream Bites (Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen)

To ensure a smooth glaze make sure to sift the confectioners sugar before mixing with the lime juice.

Crust

  • 1 2/3 
cups (6 2/3 ounces) cake flour, sifted
  • 1/4 
cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 
teaspoon salt
  • 11 
tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

Filling

  • 1 
cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 4 
large eggs
  • 1 
teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 
teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Glaze

  • 4 
teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup juice (2 limes)
  • 1 
tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 
cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lay sheets of aluminum foil perpendicular to each other in 13 by 9-inch pan, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Process flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, about 30 seconds. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into even layer. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let crust cool in pan for 5 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING: Whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking powder together. Stir in figs, coconut and walnuts. Pour filling over warm crust and bake until filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool bars in pan for 5 minutes.

FOR THE GLAZE: Combine lime zest and granulated sugar in bowl; set aside. Whisk confectioners’ sugar and lime juice together in second bowl until smooth. Pour glaze over warm bars and spread into even layer. Sprinkle with lime sugar and toasted coconut. Let bars cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan and cut into 15 pieces. Serve. (Store bars at room temperature for up to 2 days.) Makes about 15 bars.

“Try ‘Em, You’ll Like ‘Em” Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Take steps every day to live a safe and healthy life. Getting enough sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.

Getting enough sleep has many benefits. It can help you:

  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Boost your brainpower and your mood
  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
  • Make better decisions and avoid injuries.

If you are having trouble sleeping, make changes to your routine to get the sleep you need. For example, try to:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule
  • Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon
  • Take a hot bath before bed to relax

Check out this guide to healthy sleep from the National Institute of Health.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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