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A Spirited Holiday

Nov 09, 2015 03:14AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) With the holidays fast approaching, opportunities for delicious sweets and elegant drinks are bound to be plentiful.

Versatile and available year round, California dried figs are naturally sweet, nutrient rich and full of flavor. They also make a great snack during the busy holidays. Because these figs are dried, they partner well with wine and spirits and can be infused with more flavor to create delectable desserts.

For recipes using figs throughout the year, visit valleyfig.com.

Midnight Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California figs
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Preparation

  1. In microwave-safe bowl, combine figs, dates, raisins and rum. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Heat on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes or until steamy. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool and absorb rum.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 350 F. Coat 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray.
  3. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, molasses and granulated sugar. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until creamy. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, then buttermilk. Gradually add flour mixture, stopping to scrape down side of bowl as needed. Continue to beat for 1 minute, until well blended. Stir in figs, dates and raisins. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  5. To frost cake: in mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. With electric mixer, beat until creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and zest. Spread on top of cake. Chill until serving.

Spirited Fig Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 1 cup stemmed, finely chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California figs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preparation

  1. In food processor bowl, combine 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, chopped pecans and salt. Whirl to fine texture. Spoon into bowl and set aside.
  2. In same food processor bowl, combine crushed cookies, figs, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, finely chopped pecans, brandy and butter. Pulse to blend well. Chill mixture 20-30 minutes.
  3. Form rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Roll balls in reserved sugar-nut mixture. Place in airtight container. Chill 12 hours.
  4. Alternate preparation: make Chocolate and Fig Amaretto Balls by substituting toasted almonds for pecans, crushed chocolate wafer cookies for gingersnaps and amaretto for brandy. Prepare as directed.

Chocolate Cheesecakes with Figs and Port

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups stemmed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California figs
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 325 F. Line 12 (2 3/4-inch) muffin cups with paper cups.
  2. In small bowl, stir together crushed cookies, nuts and butter. Spoon about 1 tablespoon crumb mixture into bottom of each cup, dividing evenly; press into even layer. Bake in middle of oven 5-8 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Cut about 1/2 cup figs into 36 thin, lengthwise slices. Place in small heatproof container with lid; set aside. In small saucepan, bring port and sugar to a simmer over medium heat and stir for 1 minute to form clear syrup. Pour 1/2 cup syrup over sliced figs. Cool; cover and chill until serving time. Finely chop remaining 1 cup figs and add to saucepan with remaining syrup. Return to heat and simmer, stirring often, until liquid evaporates. Spoon about 1 tablespoon warm fig mixture over crust in each cup, dividing evenly. With back of oiled spoon, press into even layer.
  4. Place chocolate and water in microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on 50 percent power for 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside. With electric mixer in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream, cocoa and vanilla. Beat in melted chocolate. Spoon batter over fig layer in cups.
  5. Bake in middle of oven 15-20 minutes, until set. Cool in pan on rack. Chill for 6 hours or up to 2 days.
  6. To serve, arrange 3 slices of reserved figs in port syrup on each cake and drizzle with about 1/2 teaspoon syrup.

Fig and Bourbon Pecan Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 cup stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California figs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
  • sweetened whipped cream

Preparation

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 375 F. Coat 9-inch glass pie plate with vegetable oil spray. Fit pie crust into plate, flute edge. Chill until ready to bake.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine figs, brown sugar, butter and bourbon. Stir over medium heat until butter and sugar melt. In medium bowl, whisk eggs and salt until well blended. Whisk in corn syrup and orange zest. Stir in fig mixture. Sprinkle nuts evenly over bottom of crust. Pour fig mixture over nuts.
  3. Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set, shielding crust with foil after 30 minutes. Cool. Chill until serving. Served with whipped cream.

Sponsored by Blue Ribbon Orchard Figs and Sun-Maid Figs

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  • NUHS Massage Therapy Info Session

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    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Are you wondering whether a career in massage therapy is right for you? Explore our Massage Thera...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/05/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Senior Stroll

    10/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Seniors are invited to join District naturalists each month on a leisurely stroll through a Kane ...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/05/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • The Holmstad Helping Hearts

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM — 02:30PM

    Findings from an Alzheimer's Association survey released in June 2017 show that while people over...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/05/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • A cooperative program between the Town and Country Library and the Kane County Genealogical Society.


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/05/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Breakfast for a Cause

    10/06/2017
    07:30AM — 09:00AM

    Please join us for breakfast, fellowship and our program: Moving Up From Poverty: Three Steps Fo...


  • Moms Connect

    10/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/06/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/06/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/06/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • FREE Monthly Family Story Time

    10/06/2017
    05:30PM — 06:30AM

    Join us for this month's free Story Time featuring a spring theme. Spots are filling up quickly. ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/06/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/06/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/06/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/06/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Women's Fellowship Breakfast

    10/07/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Women’s Fellowship B...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/07/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • DANIEL NAHMOD IN CONCERT

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Saturday, October 7th, 7pm. Unity of Fox Valley presents award-winning singer/songwriter and prod...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Live Music

    10/07/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    10/08/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/08/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/08/2017
    02:30PM — 04:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/08/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Help an adult learn English

    10/09/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley is hosting a tutor training workshop at the St. Charles Public Lib...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/10/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Family Talk

    10/10/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Finding an ancestor's town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, on...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/11/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/11/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/11/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/11/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/11/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • The Fine Line Lecture Series

    10/11/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Spend the evening listening to local artist lecture about their about their work. Their inspirati...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/12/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/12/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/12/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/12/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • NUHS Student for a Day (AOM/BS)

    10/12/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Student for a Day program provides an opportunity to understand student life at National Univ...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/12/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Moms Connect

    10/13/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/13/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • NUHS Student for a Day (DC/ND)

    10/13/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    The Student for a Day program provides an opportunity to understand student life at National Univ...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/13/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/13/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/13/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/13/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


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