Two Fig Breakfasts

I've discovered a love for figs this summer. Previously, I had truly disdained them because my only experience with them was through Fig Newtons. Ew. I always wanted to like Fig Newtons because they looked so nice and figgy, but they never failed to disapoint me. Also, I had heard about figgy pudding in old Christmas songs and thought it sounded lovely. Then I had flaming figgy pudding one year at Christmas (after it was blown out, of course) and you know, it wasn't all that great. I couldn't get past the burnt taste.

But this summer, I had seen fresh figs looking beautiful at Whole Foods. I was tempted every time. They are a little pricey, though (about $4 for 10 figs), so that deterred me for a few weeks. Then they went on sale for $3! It was time to give figs another chance. I chose Black Mission Figs, and they were pretty good. Then the next time, I bought the light green figs (even though they weren't on sale this time...I couldn't help myself). I love to cut one up and put it on my generic brand of Grape Nuts cereal (called "Crunchy Nuggets") along with a drizzle of honey and some almonds. It's just the best. So hearty and satisfying. And, you know, if you have one fig per day, like I did on my cereal, it's actually not too expensive. They go a long way.

Then the other discovery was with Whole Wheat Fig and Barley Pancakes. Toast some almonds to sprinkle on top and drizzle with warm honey...mmmm. It's not as cost effective as one fig per day, but it's a really tasty recipe adapted from the basic pancake recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. Here are the two figgy recipes (Newton- and flame-free).

Figgy Cereal

1/2 cup Grape Nuts style cereal
1 fig, cut into chunks
drizzle of honey, about 2 tablespoons
palmful of slivered almonds
milk as you like

Just throw everything in a bowl, mix around, and add the milk.

Whole Wheat Fig and Barley Pancakes
Yields 10 good-sized pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped figs
1/2 cup cooked barley (optional)

1 cup toasted almonds
Earth Balance or butter for cooking pancakes

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix remaining egg, milk, and yogurt in separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine. Fold in barley and figs. Pour by 1/4 cupfuls onto greased griddle set at 400 degrees (or, if using a pan, it's probably medium heat) until bubbles form on top. Flip and cook for almost as long on the other side. While the cakes are cooking, heat a wide bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 1 cup slivered almonds and toast for about 5 minutes, shimmying the pan often. Check them frequently to make sure they don't burn. Top the pancakes with warm honey and toasted almonds.