Almond Fig Tart & Aspen Oat Bars

So, I came into some figs recently, thank you Jason!, and I found that figs are primarily eaten two ways. Either by themselves with honey and possibly some cheeses or as a tart. I love bread of any kind soooo I went with the tart.

This recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis off of the Food Network website. I really liked this recipe and it wasn’t hard at all. Just a little messy….. I got flour all over me.

Almond Fig Tart

*makes about 8 to 11 servings I guess, but who really follows that anyway?*

Dough Ingredients:

– 1 & 1/2 cups of flour
– 2 TB sugar
– lemon zest (optional)
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 3 TBs cold water
– 10 TBs ( 1 & 1/4 sticks) of butter, chilled and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

Combine all dry dough ingredients in a food processor. Then add the cubed butter and pulse until it resembles a course meal. Then add the water while the machine is running. When combined, form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so.

Cheese / Almond Filling Ingredients:

– 1 TB sugar
– 3.5 ounces Almond paste, at room temp and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
– 1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese at room temp
– 1 TSP vanilla extract
– 2 TBs honey

Combine all filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Topping Ingredients:

– 6 large or 12 small fresh figs, sliced, stems removed
– 1/4 cup apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Roll out the dough to an 11 inch circle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Spread the Almond filling over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border from the edge. Place the figs on top of the filling. Spoon the jam over the figs and then fold the edges over.

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy hot or cold. I prefer it chilled.

Enjoy!

Now onto the second recipe I made. Aspen Oat Bars!

Aspen Oat Bars

This recipe comes from the LA Times food section and makes about 12 – 16 servings.

Ingredients:

– 1 & 1/2 cups plus 2 TBs old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1/4 and 2 TBs light brown sugar
– heaping 1/2 cup coconut flakes
– 1/2 TSP salt
– 3/4 cup nuts or sunflower seeds – I used almonds and walnuts
– 3/4 cup powdered milk
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries – I used fresh figs, cubed.
– 3 TBs butter
– 1/4 cup honey
– 1/2 cup & 1 TB peanut butter
– 1 & 1/8 TSP vanilla extract
– 2 TBs plus 1 TSP raspberry jam

Heat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 13-by-9 inch baking pan.

Mix oats, sugar, coconut, salt, nuts, powdered milk, raisins and cranberries.

In a saucepan, melt and combine the butter, honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract and jam.

Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and combine. Press the mixture into the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

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Pinwheel Cookies.. well kind of

Apparently I do not possess the patience to make decent looking pinwheel cookies. Instead, they came out like the one on the top right…

pinwheelcookies01

So, I decided to scrap the whole spiral idea and just roll the dough into balls and flatten it. I think they turned out pretty cool looking.

Pinwheel Cookies

recipe from Disgruntled Julie

~ 3 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 tsp baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1 cup butter, softened
~ 1 1/3 cups sugar
~ 2 large eggs
~ 2 tsp vanilla extract
~ 2 ounces chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the sofetened butter and sugar together until creamed and add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla then add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, wrapping half in saran wrap and place it in the fridge. Return the other half to the mixer and bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Place a bowl over the water level making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water (or use a double boiler) and add the chocolate. Mix until completely melted and smooth. Add the chocolate to the dough in the mixer and mix until incorporated. Place this dough in saran wrap and in the fridge to cool. Refrigerate both halves for at least 30 minutes.

Roll both halves out into thin sheets and place one on top of the other. Roll the two sheets of dough into a log and refrigerate for an hour or freeze for a couple hours making sure the log remains round and doesn’t flatten on the bottom. Cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick circles and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes.

**** so this is where my lack of patience kicked in. I thought screw the 3 hour freezing period so I grabbed both kinds of dough and rolled them in my hands to form a ball. I then flattened it and placed it on the cooking sheet to bake.

pinwheelcookies02

Pumpkin Cupcakes / Muffins

I found this recipe off of my regular haunt of tastespotting and since I love anything that contains pumpkin and cinnamon I had to try it. The Author of the recipe is Cynthia Furey, she had this recipe recently published in OC Register. Anyways, I made them today and thought they were delicious (especially the cinnamon cream cheese frosting mmmmm) and really easy. I like them both as muffins and as cupcakes.. Oh and I cut the frosting recipe in half, and it still covered 3/4 of the cakes. I recommend them to any pumpkin lover like me!

Cynthia Furey's Pumpkin Cupcakes

My photos did not compare to Furey's so I'm using her amazing photo instead.

Pumpkin Cupcakes (OR muffins) with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 16 to 18 muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups light brown or golden brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup (or more) walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)

For frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch cloves
5 cups powdered sugar

Optional garnish for cupcakes: ground nutmeg

Procedure:
NOTE: If making cupcakes, start with frosting. If making muffins, skip to step 3.

1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, unsalted butter and brown sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about three to five minutes.
2. Add vanilla, cinnamon and cloves, and slowly beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, until incorporated. Cover and chill while you make and cool cupcakes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin cups in muffin tins and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, combine or sift dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves.
5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar and eggs. Add vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, sour cream, vanilla and zest. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
6. Add half of flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with second half of flour mixture. Mix in nuts or chocolate chips if using.
7. Spoon or pour batter into prepared muffin cups, a little over 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in muffins comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
8. Using a spoon or knife, spread frosting on the top of each muffin to make cupcakes (You can also use a pastry bag to pipe frosting). Sprinkle tops of cupcakes lightly with nutmeg. Serve.