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Fig Bars with Red Wine and Anise Seeds
© Andrew Purcell

Fig Bars with Red Wine and Anise Seeds

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: about 4 dozen bars
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

This delicious homemade grown-up version of Fig Newtons calls for adding red wine and anise seeds to the jammy fig filling. The crust gets even more tender the day after baking.

filling

  1. 1 1/2 cups chopped stemmed dried black figs (10 ounces)
  2. 3/4 cup dry red wine
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  5. 3/4 teaspoon anise seeds

dough

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  5. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  1. MAKE THE FILLING In a saucepan, combine the figs, wine, sugar, lemon zest, anise seeds and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the figs are softened and the liquid is syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup. Let the figs cool in their syrup, then puree in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip.
  2. MAKE THE DOUGH In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar, vanilla, zest and salt at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg. At low speed, beat in the 1 1/2 cups of flour. Divide the dough in half, shape into rectangles and wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of floured parchment to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle, dusting with flour as needed. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Cut the rectangle into three 3-by-12-inch strips through the parchment and transfer to a baking sheet. Pipe two 1/2-inch-wide ropes of fig filling down the middle of each strip of dough. Refrigerate just until firm enough to fold, 5 minutes. Fold the dough over the filling and turn onto a work surface, seam side down; discard the parchment.
  4. Cut each roll into 8 bars and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until the dough is golden on the bottom. Let cool. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.