Fig Bars

Paging through the calendar of unusual holidays at brownielocks.com, I discovered today (January 16th) is Fig Newton Day. To celebrate, I offer you my take on the classic cookie. I was inspired by Elana Amsterdam’s recipe, but she made hers with almond flour and I wanted mine without nuts. I also wanted a smaller bar, so I could eat more of them! During my testing process, the kids gobbled theirs up with big grins and pronounced them “really good.” My husband, who still indulges his sweet tooth occasionally in grain- and dairy-filled goodies, said they taste just like the real thing.

Fig Barsfig bars

½ c dried figs, about 10 figs (75 g)
3 T water
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract, divided
½ c coconut flour (57 g)
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt
3 large eggs
2 T coconut oil, melted
1½ T honey (32 g)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F line a large baking sheet with parchment
  2. Place figs in a small container, cover with water, lemon juice and ½ t vanilla, and set aside
  3. Whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy and uniform in color
  5. Beat oil, honey, and remaining ½ t vanilla into eggs
  6. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms
  7. Puree figs and liquid into a paste
  8. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces (about 90 g ea)
  9. For each portion, form a thin log and roll out between pieces of parchment into a 12×3 rectangle
  10. Spoon 2 T fig paste onto dough and smooth into an even layer along the center of the rectangle
  11. Use parchment to fold long sides of dough over fig paste and transfer bar to prepared pan
  12. Bake bars for 10-11 min until golden and firm
  13. Allow to cool 2-3 min on pan
  14. Cut each log into 8 1½-in bars before removing to wire rack

Yield 24 bars

What is your experience trying to recreate store-bought treats in your own kitchen?

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Vanilla Fig Granola

I was always a big granola fan growing up. Mom used to make it in huge batches, baking it on three or four jelly roll pans. Grain-free granola is not an entirely new concept, but many recipes seem to require an awful lot of steps. Recently, my daughter begged for a package of premade nut and berry trail mix at the grocery store. On a whim, I tossed in some more nuts and poured almond milk over it. It was delicious! I figured starting with my own mix, adding some vanilla, and toasting it all would only make it better. If grins and empty bowls at breakfast are any indication, I was right.

vanila_fig_granolaVanilla Fig Granola

1¼ c blanched, slivered almonds (135 g)
½ c chopped walnuts (60 g)
½ c chopped pecans (60 g)
½ c raw pepitas (60 g)
½ c raw chopped cashews (60 g)
½ c minced dried figs (60 g)
1 c dried unsweetened coconut flakes (60 g)
1 T coconut oil, soft or melted
½ t vanilla
¼ t salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Stir together all ingredients until well combined
  3. Spread mixture into an even layer on an ungreased 12 x 18 baking sheet with sides
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice (I find it works well to stir after about 7 minutes and after another 5)
  5. Allow to cool completely before serving or storing

Yield: 1 lb granola (or 4 level cups)

Note: As this recipe has no added sweeteners, the granola is only lightly sweet. For a sweeter taste, try drizzling a little honey or maple syrup on top before serving.

What’s your favorite way to eat granola?

Bacon Chicken Nuggets

Deep in the recesses of my brain, I have vague memories of a time before chicken nuggets were a ubiquitous finger food of childhood. I try to forget such dark days ever existed. Back when grains and nightshades played a significant role in my diet, I tried making my own nuggets: cutting chunks if chicken, dipping them in an egg wash, and breading them with cornmeal, sage, and paprika. I quickly learned that the egg wash was unnecessary. When I cut out grains, I discovered coconut flour can often be used to stand in for cornmeal. After I stopped eating nightshades, paprika was out (and coconut sage chicken just didn’t sound terribly appealing). Eventually, my variations turned into this family favorite.

bacon_chicken_nuggetsBacon Chicken Nuggets

8 slices raw bacon (227 g)
4 raw boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-in pieces (681 g)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (6 g)
1½ c coconut oil
¼ c coconut flour (28 g)
1 t salt
½ t black pepper
½ t ground cumin
¼ t ground coriander
¼ t ground oregano
⅛ t ground cardamom
⅛ t ground cloves

  1. Cook bacon until crisp.
  2. Place in blender with chicken, and garlic, blending until mixture forms a thick dough
  3. With wet hands, form chicken dough by 2 T (30 g) into small patties
  4. Heat coconut oil in 3 qt saucepan to 325°F
  5. While oil is heating, whisk together coconut flour and spices in a shallow dish
  6. Coat nuggets with flour mixture
  7. Fry in batches 3-4 minutes per side, until crust is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165°F
  8. Remove with slotted spoon, allow to drain and cool 5 min before serving

Yield: 24 nuggets

Which food from your childhood makes you most nostalgic?