Mission Fig Bites
I never had Fig Newtons growing up.
If it wasn’t a generic brand or purchased in bulk (Hydrox cookies all the way!!), I didn’t eat it. In high school on the bus to a swim meet, a friend of mine passed me my first Fig Newton. Now, I learned a lot of things from my fellow chlorine addicted athletes. They taught me how to whistle, what a fish tail braid was, and introduced me to the benefits of facial moisturizer. But these? I was a bit underwhelmed, to say the least. What was all the fuss about? I knew what they were of course, the 80’s and 90’s being filled with the slogan, “A cookie is just a cookie, but Newtons are fruit and cake.” Remember that? Yeah. They don’t tell you that you need three glasses of water handy just to get one of them down. Dry, tasteless, and with a weird figgy crunch, I never saw the need to eat one again.
After this, I assumed I just didn’t like figs. Fast forward a few years to me eating a slice of pizza at a vineyard in Temecula CA. I don’t remember the specifics, but the super thin crispy crust, roasted fresh figs, arugula-and maybe some cheese?-had me hooked. Obviously I was missing out.
When I found this recipe in this cookbook, I raised my eyebrows. Lots of foods taste good dipped in chocolate (peanut butter, strawberries, bacon…) but figs? You have to draw the line somewhere and I assumed it was well before this combo. But I love little bites of things I can make ahead of time and if it is good for me, even better. So I gave them a try. And you know what?
Eureka! The sweetness of the figs is more than enough to satisfy any sugar craving, so naturally, my kids devoured them. They found the crunch of the fig seeds highly entertaining…My husband inhaled his share, confessing that he has always loved figs and then asking why I didn’t cook with them more often. Apparently, they were a hit. The few people I passed them along to went wild for them as well, despite my constant skepticism about wether they would appeal to most people. I mean, I liked them, but I’ll eat just about anything and therefore tend to try not to use myself as a chocolate barometer. I can’t wait to tuck them into goodie containers during the holidays and these are SO going on my list of treats to send along with dinner when I have a friend in need. My daughter took one in her lunch today. I’ll think of it as this generations version of a Fig Newton…
One Year Ago: Sweet Potato Hash
Two Years Ago: Strawberry Avocado Salad W/Honey Lime Vinaigrette & Bite Sized Cinnamon Rolls
Mission Fig Bites
Recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis
I am not a calorie counter, but I noticed that these little babies are only about 60 calories a piece. Yippee!! Fortunately, the figs in them are so sweet, I only need to eat one!
3 c roughly chopped dried mission figs, stems removed (about 14 oz)
2-3 T almond butter
1 bag good quality dark chocolate chips
1 T vegetable or grape seed oil
In a medium microwaveable bowl, dump in the chocolate chips and pour the oil over top. The oil makes the chocolate just a tiny bit easier to dip and gives the set chocolate a smooth and shiny appearance. Melt them together in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one and stopping just before completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the last lumps are out, being careful not to overheat. In the meantime, combine the figs and just 2 T of the almond butter in a food processor and let run until combined and chopped together. If the mixture won’t hold together when you pinch it, add the last tablespoon of almond butter. This will depend on how dry your figs are. When it is done, use a teaspoon to scoop out a ball the size of a large grape. Press and squeeze the mixture into a ball, rolling it gently into an even circle. Dip it in chocolate-a fork is best for this-letting the excess chocolate run off. Use a toothpick to slide the balls off the fork and onto a wax or parchment paper lined sheet pan. This will keep the tops perfect and smooth. If you don’t care if they are pretty, just plop them down onto the pan. 🙂 Let cool for about an hour for the chocolate to set and harden. Store in an airtight container on the fridge for a week or two, or freeze for up to 1 month!