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Got figs? Make cookies

Recipe: Quick and easy fresh fig oatmeal bar cookies

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Fresh figs bring a delicious sweetness to bar cookies. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
Most traditional fig cookies use dried figs for the filling. This bar cookie
makes the most of fresh figs, which are still in abundance.
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These are Sierra figs, which don't require peeling.

As an added bonus, this fig filling can be used in other recipes (inside coffee cake or pastries, for example) or as a low-sugar fruit spread. It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

For this recipe, I used green-skinned Sierra figs, which have light pink flesh. The skins were so thin, I didn't bother peeling. Dark-skinned figs may be used, too.


Fresh fig oatmeal bar cookies
Makes 16 bar cookies
Ingredients:

For fig filling:
1-1/3 cups chopped fresh figs, stems removed (peeling optional)
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter

For crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

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 The cookies can be cut while they're cooling.
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make filling. In a medium saucepan, combine figs, water, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Add butter. Cover. Over low heat, let figs simmer until tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

After figs are soft, remove pan from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer fig filling to food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until filling is smooth. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Stir in oatmeal and brown sugar. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture looks like crumbs.

Save out 3/4 cup of crumb mixture for topping.

In an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish, gently press remaining crumb mixture to form an even bottom crust. Spread fig filling over crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden on top.

Let cool. While cooling, cut into 2-inch squares.



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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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