November/December 2012 Fig Focus

Raising the Bar with California Figs

As the holidays fast approach, baking and gift giving are in the air. Bar cookies, in all their gloriously delicious variations, make the perfect gift for friends and family.  

Take your holiday baking up a notch this season by using California Figs. From Fig & Goat Cheese Squares to Chocolate Fig Pecan Bars we have a bar cookie recipe ready to delight everyone on your list. Figs’ unique qualities–naturally sweet, chewy, delightfully crunchy edible seeds, healthy goodness, and phenomenal popularity–will set your bar cookies apart from all the rest.

Recipes that Raise the Bar with Figs

Cookie Bar Tips–Baking, Mailing, Storing and Decorating

Baking and Storing

  • Allow cookies to cool completely before storing.
  • Cut firmer bar cookies while slightly warm.
  • Keep crisp and soft cookies in separate airtight containers. When stored together, the moisture in the soft cookies will cause the crisp cookies to lose their crunch.
  • Place waxed paper between layers of cookies in a container.
  • Bars frosted with a cream or goat cheese topping should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Many bars can be frozen for up to three months.
  • If crispy bar cookies become soft, try “crisping” them in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Mailing

  • Choose firm bar cookies for mailing and wrap individually.
  • Cushion cookies in a tin or box with crumbled waxed paper.
  • Pack bar cookies in a sturdy container and “pad” them on all sides, top and bottom with waxed paper or bubble wrap. Place packed cookie container in a cardboard box that is also packed on all sides with bubble wrap or shipping “peanuts” for cushioning. Label box “Fragile”. Probably a good idea to also label the box “Perishable” and alert the recipent that the box is on its way and to be on the lookout.

Decorating

  • Use baskets and paper mache boxes that you paint and decorate for gift giving. Add colorful tissue paper and ribbons.
  • Watch garage sales throughout the year and collect decorative tins, plates, tea cups and anything you can think of to go with your bars and cookies. Don’t forget to include the recipe on a decorative card or sheet of festive holiday paper along with your name and the date.
  • Wide mouth jars can nicely hold a stack of cookies or bars. Decorate the metal lid with colorful fabric, ribbons and buttons you have collected.
  • Visit the web site Pinterest for even more ideas.

Host a Cookie Exchange

  • Host a cookie exchange party to share cookies and recipes. Pick a date and do the invite about 6 weeks ahead.
  • Choose a weekend or evening weekday for the exchange.
  • Plan for about 2 hours for your cookie exchange.
  • Invite 5-10 people. Have each person bring 1 dozen cookies for every person coming. So if 6 people are coming, have each guest bring 6 dozen cookies. It’s always nice to have them bring an extra dozen for eating at the party, as well.
  • Guests should bring a container for collecting all their “new” cookies in and copies of their recipe.

Two Great Contests for You to Enter and Win!

Enter to Win a Sweet & Savory Holiday Entertaining Kit valued at $200.00:

  • 2 lb Jarlsberg Cheese Wedge
  • 2 lb Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Fig Pack
  • 4 Piece Cheese Plate Set
  • Cheese Knife Set
  • $25.00 gift certificate to Wine.com
  • Cook’s Country DVD Season IV
  • The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Enter to win at www.JarlsbergUSA.com and www.ValleyFig.com. Also on Facebook at: wwwfacebook.com/JarlsbergUSA and www.facebook.com/ValleyFig.

Enter a Photo Caption to Win a Cook’s Country Cookbook or Season 4 DVD

Email up to three captions for this photo to: info@valleyfig.com. Limit your caption to 250 characters or less. We’ll choose 10 winners based on creativity. The contest runs November 1 to November 30.

Your creativity could win you The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook or the Cook’s Country TV Season 4 DVD from America’s Test Kitchen and Valley Fig Growers. By entering the contest, you consent that Valley Fig Growers can publish your caption.

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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