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Fig Bars

1 pound dried Calimyrna figs
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, (1 stick) softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Using kitchen scissors, trim stems from the figs and discard. Cut
the figs in half. In a saucepan combine the figs, water and lemon
zest and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the figs,
uncovered, until the water is absorbed and figs are tender, about
25 minutes. In a food processor puree the figs until smooth. Add
the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg and pulse to combine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Using
an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light
and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
addition. Gently beat in the dry ingredients. With floured hands,
gather the dough into a ball, flatten and wrap with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour, or until chilled enough to
easily roll out.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out
half of the dough into a 13- by 9-inch rectangle. Trim the edges
exactly with a sharp knife. Carefully transfer dough to a 13-
x-9-9-inch butter baking dish. Using a spatula spread the cooled
fig mixture over the dough in an even layer. On a piece of wax
paper, roll out remaining dough in the same manner as before and
place over the filling with the wax paper side up. Peel the wax
paper from the dough and patch any tears by pressing dough together
with your fingertips.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until edges are golden. Cool on a wire rack
before cutting into bars. Yield: 24 bars


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