Dried figs aren't exactly what one would call visually appetizing. Unlike their ripe former selves that are brimming with vibrancy and compact sensuality dried figs are rather off-putting. Their shape is alien, their dull aroma is somewhat musky, and I tend to think they look a bit like small turds.
The flavor is assuredly figgish though a bit of a one note wonder. Other dried fruit usually have some kind of draw to them and are inherently stimulating with varying tastes, yet with dried figs you have to coerce the inner beauty out of them. A little bit of wine, maybe poaching them in tea, tossing them in granola. They have to be coddled. It's not a party for dried figs if they stand alone, they have to mingle and get together with other ingredients and do the hustle.
Personally, I'm much better dancer with a bit of booze in me and dried figs are no different. Plied with a bit of brandy, they get down with heap of ginger in some simple oatmeal cookies. Simple, that is, in preparation. The flavor is complex, adult - the brandy gives it a certain warmth complimented by the heavy dose of ginger creating layers of spice hiding around every corner. The brandy soaked figs present themselves as the life of the party; no longer the homely dude in the corner.
Figgy Oatmeal Cookies
Makes six dozen
1 cup of chopped dried figs
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt (regular salt will suffice)
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup of rolled oats
1 Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugars together on high speed for three minutes. Place the chopped figs into a bowl with brandy.
2. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon and rolled oats. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture slowly, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice to ensure even mixing.
4. Fold in the figs and one tablepoon of the brandy the figs soaked in. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to set up on the cookie sheets before moving to a baking rack to cool completely.