Friday, July 11, 2008
After forgetting to actually submit my last entry for Bread Baking Day, I realized that I would need to get this one in asap. Turns out, I have a short term memory that is severely lacking - maybe that's why I have to-do lists and post-its stuck all over my cube at work? Well, BBD#12, hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, is highlighting small breads. Single serving, made with leavening, and vegetarian. So here's my entry for this month's Bread Baking Day, and here's to hoping that I'll actually remember to email her with it!
I needed to make something that I could quickly pull out for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert this weekend, since my dad and sister were visiting. So I spent a good amount of time just thinking about different things that needed to get used up in my cupboards. I guess this only makes sense because I was cleaning like a madwoman for the entire week prior to their visit.
So what did I come up with? Well, I realized that I had figs languishing ever since the Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake oh-so-long ago, and that was my jumping off point. I also ran into a fantastic sale at my local kitchen supply outlet, so I was the proud owner of (among many other things) a mini loaf pan. I decided that since coffee goes so well with figs, I would make espresso fig mini loaves.
The flavors were easy, but the base recipe was not. Should I go with a coffee muffin recipe? Maybe just riff off of a plain vanilla cake? But the conclusion was foregone when I thought of a brown sugar muffin base - so caramelly against the fruity sweetness of the figs and the punch of the espresso. How could you go wrong?
Short answer? You can't. I have to admit that there were a few issues - the fig mixture did sink a bit in the loaves, and I could have done with a bigger rise. Next time, I'd probably add a bit of baking powder to give more oomph, and maybe just plop the fig compote on top of the batter, counting on it to sink a bit while baking. But you know what? The smell of these totally makes up for those minor little issues. The little crusty edges tasted practically like candy, and it was like having a really big fig newton. With coffee built in. You don't even need to have it alongside! And you know what, when I can justify having something that tastes like a cookie for breakfast - I'm totally there.
Mini Espresso Fig Loaves Makes 8 mini loaves
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-5 tsp espresso powder
3/4 cup fig compote (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8 mini loaf pans. Combine all ingredients except the fig compote until mixed. Fill prepared loaf pans with 1/4 cup of the batter and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the fig compote into each. Top each with 1/4 cup of the batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.
1/2 cup dried Mission figs
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
squirt lemon juice
Process the figs until they are coarsely chopped. Combine everything in a saucepan and cook at a bare simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the figs are almost spreadable. Transfer the mixture to the food processor and process into a smooth paste. Let cool before using.