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Fig Newtons

5 tbsp (75 ml) unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp (30 ml) sour cream
2/3 cup (150 ml) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (1/2 liter) flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt

2 cups (1/2 liter) dried figs, preferably moist-pack black figs, stems removed
1 3/4 cups (425 ml) water
1/3 cup (75 ml) sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

In a small bowl beat the butter and sour cream until light.
Gradually add the brown sugar, beating until the mixture is very
light and thick. Incorporate the eggs one at a time; beat in the
vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and
salt. Add gradually to the creamed mixture. Divide the dough into
three equal parts, wrap each part in lightly floured plastic wrap,
then refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.

Meanwhile, combine the figs and water in a heavy saucepan and
simmer, covered for 30 mintues, or until the fruit is soft. Add
the sugar, lemon peel and salt, and simmer, covered, for 15 mintues
longer. Press the mixture through the coarse disk of a food mill.
Cool.

On a well-floured board, roll one piece of chilled dough into a
rectangle about 5 by 11 inches (12 by 28 cm). Spread one third of
the fig filling along one side of the dough, covering an area
roughly 2 inches (5 cm) wide and 10 inches (25 cm) long, leaving
margins of about 1/2 inch (1 cm) on the edges. Mound the filling
slightly along its length, then moisten the exposed margins with
water. Very gently, lift the uncovered dough with a spatula and
fold it over the filling. Press it down, then trim the edges and
shape the roll into a neat half cylinder about 11 inches (28 cm)
long and 2 to 2 1/2 inches (5 to 6 cm) wide. Place the filled roll
on a large baking sheet that has been buttered lightly or covered
with parchment paper.

Repeat the filling operation wth the remaining two thirds of the
dough and filling, then bake the three rolls in a preheated 350F
(180C) oven for 25 minutes, or until they are ightly browned.

Cool the rolls briefly on a rack. Then with a sharp, serrated
knife, trim off the ends of each roll and cut it into slices about
1 1/2 inches (4 cm) thick. Replace the slices on the rack. When
the fig bars are completely cool, store them in an air-tight
container.

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