Tackling the Bulk Bins: Dried Figs

Tackling the bulk bins: Dried figs I was flipping through the pages of the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Eating Well over the weekend and came across a recipe for Honey & Goat Cheese-Filled Fig Muffins. I was intrigued. I’ve recently become fond of goat cheese, and I’m always looking to find ways to use the local wildflower honey that I like so much.

When I was at the store the other day, I came across dried figs in the bulk bins. I immediately thought of the muffin recipe and tried to rack my brain to remember what ingredients I would need. Fortunately, I remembered that the recipe called for crumbled goat cheese, and I figured I would probably have the other ingredients on hand. Except for the white whole-wheat flour, I was right.

Dried figs are high in dietary fiber and low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fats. They are also a great source of iron, vitamin A, phosphorus and calcium. Some people believe they are beneficial for helping to alleviate asthma, constipation and apparently sexual weakness. Don’t take this as medical advice, though. If you have any of those problems, please talk to your doctor about dried figs before you begin eating them regularly to alleviate a specific problem.

These muffins are so good. A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have attempted something with a combination of goat cheese, figs and honey. As I get increasingly adventurous with my cooking and baking, I’m almost always glad that I’ve tried something new. This muffin recipe is a keeper.

The goat cheese filling is sweet and tangy, and the figs add a sweetness to the muffins, too. My mom thinks I could cut down on some of the sugar, but I like my muffins sweet.

Here’s the recipe, and you’ll find my notes below.


  • 3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese or reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3⁄4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 cup low-fat or nonfat buttermilk (see my notes)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1⁄4 cup chopped dried figs (about 1⁄2 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado or granulated sugar
Time estimates

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 min

Total time: 30 min


  1. Preheat to 425° F; Line muffin pan with liners or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine goat cheese (or cream cheese), honey, lemon zest and 1⁄4 tsp vanilla until creamy. Set aside.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Lightly beat eggs and egg white in a medium bowl. Add brown sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla and mix until sugar is dissolved.
  5. Gradually whisk in buttermilk and oil into egg mixture until smooth.
  6. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and just combined.
  7. Fold in dried figs.
  8. Spoon half the batter into the muffin cups until each cup is half full. Divide the cheese filling equally among the cups, and then top each cup with remaining batter.
  9. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with sugar.
  10. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges start to brown.
  11. Cool for five minutes before removing from pan.


Makes 12 muffins

My notes

  • I didn’t have buttermilk so I used 1 tbsp lemon juice and added enough milk to equal one cup. Then I let it sit on the counter for five minutes. Between the lemon zest and the juice I used to sour the milk, there was a distinct lemon flavor to the muffins. Next time, I’ll either sour the milk with vinegar or use actual buttermilk.
  • Since I didn’t have white whole-wheat flour, I used half unbleached white flour and half whole-wheat flour.
  • I’d like more cream filling in these muffins next time, so I’ll probably make 1 1⁄2 times the amount of goat cheese mixture.
  • Like always, you can use all organic/local ingredients or as many organic/local ingredients as you can afford. I used organic dried figs, organic milk, local free-range eggs, local honey, and organic flours.
  • I think that if you couldn't find dried figs, you could substitute raisins for the figs.
For more tackling the money-saving bulk bin ideas and recipes:

• Tackling the bulk bins: Savory millet cakes

• Tackling the bulk bins: Basmati brown rice

• Tackling the bulk bins: Steel cut oats