Comfort food…yum. It’s National Fig Newton Day

Comfort food…yum.  It’s National Fig Newton Day.
Take refuge from the wintery melancholy with a classic favorite.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…something classic, unique and trendy.
Enjoy our “finds”.
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Homemade Fig Newtons
1 lb dried figs or 2 lbs fresh figs
2 cups  sugar
1 cup water (1c. for dried figs, 1/2c. for fresh)
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cream or 1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
Dice figs, soak in water 1 hour.  Add sugar & cook on medium heat until of thin jam consistency. Beat sugar, butter, egg, milk & vanilla until well blended. Add dry ingredients.  Mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Place half  on well floured dough cloth; knead about 6 times.  Roll out to 1/4″ thick. Line 13 x 9″ glass baking dish–cover with figs.  Roll remaining dough, cover figs. Cook at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.  Read more:
Cherry Newtons
for the filling:
1 cup cherry purée
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried cherries
for the cookie dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
make filling:
Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to medium and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
Purée the mixture in a food processor or blender and then place the mixture on a non-stick surface such as silpat*.  Place another silpat on top and then roll the filling until it is 1/2 inch thick and 12 inches long. Place in freezer until firm (approximately 3 hours).  When firm, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide strips and then return to freezer.
make cookie dough:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Mix well with a wire whisk and then set aside. In a large mixer with palette attachment, combine butter and sugar and mix at medium speed. Add the honey, egg, and vanilla extract and beat at medium speed until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add flour to the mixture. Blend at low speed until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven at 325°F. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper so that it is 1/8-inch thick and 12-inches long. Return to refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and cut 5-inch strips in the dough and place a cherry bar in the center, using the parchment paper to wrap the dough around the cherry bar. Have the dough overlap in the center. If the dough becomes too soft, return to the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Flip the bar over onto a parchment lined sheet pan  so that the seam is on the bottom and will disappear when it bakes. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until dough begins to turn a light gold color. Remove from oven and let cool. When strips reach room temperature, cut each one into 8 pieces with a thin, sharp knife and serve.
Chase the sweet treats with a milky martini…or fig infused vodka.
Chocolate Milk Martini
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. chocolate milk ( or try a milk of half-and-half and chocolate syrup )
Dash orange bitters
In a mixing glass prepare you chocolate milk by adding the half & half and chocolate syrup. Next add ice and a dash of bitters.  Stir. Add the vodka. Shake well to get a nice froth and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Recess treats were never so good…
Fig-infused Vodka
gallon jug
stemmed figs
vodka of choice ( vanilla vodka works nicely )
Carefully wash and then stem a dozen figs. Do not squeeze out the juice or remove the seeds at this time. Place the figs in the gallon jar.  Add 24 ounces of vodka. Put a lid on the jar and store in a refrigerator for
2-4 days. Pour the mixture through a strainer and store in a sealed jar for as long as a month. Open the vodka and serve.
…and for more grown up sophisticated tastes…
Fig Newton Caipirinha
1-1/2 oz leblon cachaca
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz sugar syrup
1/2 fig
ginger ale
Muddle the fig and simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ice, cachaca and lime juice and shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass full of ice, top with ginger ale and garnish with fresh fig.
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