Monday, June 13, 2011

Recipe: #GF Fig Newtons from Elana's Pantry

Coming up for air from mucho cooking experiments this weekend!  As promised, I made the #gf Fig Newtons from which uses finely ground blanched almond flour to replace wheat flour.  (I also made a quickie dairy-free New England style clam chowder and veggie burgers from black beans and quinoa, but more on those later. ) Whew!  I feel so accomplished!

As noted earlier to my Facebook peeps, Elana's recipes specialize in using ground almond flour as her mainstay #gf flour, not a blend of flours like others do.  So I was curious to try her recipes -- I bought the new cupcake book, but was inspired to try this Newton recipe first.  Also, I discovered that the almond meal I was previously using from Trader Joe's ("natural" with skin) was not recommended by Elana, and she could not guarantee performance.  Whoa.  Ok then, so I bought some almond flour from Honeyville, one of her recommended vendors.

Note to new cooks: when trying a recipe for the first time, ALWAYS follow the original authors instructions and ingredient recommendations as much as humanly possible.  Unless you have experience with the performance range of specific products, you shouldn't do too much substituting or the recipe may ultimately not work.  And then you won't be able to correct it the next time!  I can't tell you how many people ask for recipes of things I've made, then make tons of changes and come back to ME to complain that it "didn't taste right".  This is especially true when it comes to baking, which is a pretty exacting science.  Egg size, brands of flour and butter can vary widely.  Even the water you use from different parts of the country can make a difference (if you've read Rose Beranbaum's Cake Bible, you know of what I speak).

So onto the Newtons (except for Gingrich, who is done, ha ha) without further ado.

Here's the original link to Elana's Fig Newton recipe

Gluten Free and Vegan Fig Newtons from Elana's Pantry
1 cup dried figs
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup yacon syrup
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Place figs in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until they are well chopped
  2. Add lemon juice and vanilla; process until a smooth paste results
  3. In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine agave, yacon, grapeseed oil and vanilla
  5. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then refrigerate dough for 1 hour
  6. Divide chilled dough into 4 parts
  7. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out 1 part of the dough into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick
  8. Spread ¼ of the filling evenly down the right side (lengthwise) of the rectangle
  9. Fold the dough in half down the long side --resulting in a 10 x 2 inch bar
  10. "Mend" the seam so the bar is symmetrical
  11. Repeat with 3 remaining parts of dough and filling
  12. Transfer each bar to a parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes
  13. Allow to cool slightly; cut bar every 2 inches to form the fig newtons
  14. Serve
My notes

1. The taste.  Overall, pretty great!  I had to break the rule I just posted, but out of necessity.  Because I'm allergic to citrus, I used a mild champagne vinegar, which made it a bit too tart.  Also these are a tad heavy on the vanilla for my taste.

2. The texture.  Nice and soft, but a bit wet and crumbly to hold.  I think I'll add an egg or unsweetened applesauce next time since there's no binder in this recipe, and something to provide a bit of a stiffer feel than using 100% nut flour.  Also reduce the liquids just a hair.

3. The yacon syrup tasted like a lighter fruitier version of a molasses, am wondering if maple syrup would do as a sub, and if using cane sugar instead of agave would help firm this a bit as it does for other cookies.  Hm.

4. Rolling and preparation was fairly easy, but I needed a few tries to make the edges come out neatly. Parchment paper is key.

5. The baking time needed about 5 more minutes than the recipe suggested, my oven runs a bit hot and these were sticky even after the max time recommended.
6. These cut better when totally cool, vs. partially.

I'd say it was a success!  I'd like the texture to be a bit more cookie-like, but will take a crack next time.   Give these a try and let me know what you think!

I froze half, so I'll also experiment on how they hold up after time in the freezer!  Next: something from Elana's new cupcake cookbook.

No comments: