Oh my goodness! It worked! Fig newtons on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro came out absolutely fantastically! Moist, tender, and packed with fig flavor. I could not have been happier. I haven’t had a fig newton in what seems like a hundred years. Now I can make them at home, and easily.
The steps for making your own fig newtons using your Nesco Snackmaster Pro are pretty straightforward. You form a dough, first, and then roll it out so that’s 6″ deep and it-doesn’t-matter how long.
Then you form a paste of the figs and just a bit of water using your food processor. Spread the paste down the center 2″ of the dough rectangle. Try not to eat all of the figs while you’re doing this.
Fold the sides over to form a big log of figgy goodness. Cut into 2″ (or so) sections and transfer to the dehydrator. Dry at 115 F for about 48 hours then devour!
Place the flour, milk and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until it forms a dough. The dough will be slightly dry but will still hold its form when pressed.
Place the figs into a food process.
Add 1/4 cup of water and pulse a few times. If the figs form a paste you are done. If not, add a bit more water and pulse again. Continue until you get a firm paste, but do not add too much water that it becomes runny.
Roll the dough out on a flat surface. Form a rectangle that is 6″ deep and about 1/4″ thick. Don’t worry about the width of the dough.
Spread the fig paste down the center 2″ of the dough, leaving 2″ above and below to the edges of the dough.
Fold the edges over the fig filling. The dough might split a bit along the edges. Use your fingers to pinch it back together.
Use a pastry or pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the dough into 2″ pieces.
Transfer cookies to the Nesco Snackmaster Pro trays. Note: Our fig newtons were pretty thick so they they did like to stick to the tray above them. Don’t fret that, they’ll come out fine. I do recommend that you do not place any cookies on the top rack, the one closest to the dehydrator motor as they may stick to it.
Set the temperature to 115 F and dry for up to 48 hours or until the dough is soft but dry.
I’ve really been enjoying my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. I’m always looking for more things to dry, taking advantage of anything in season or fresh. I recently grabbed a few pounds of oyster and shiitake mushrooms with the goal of drying them for later use in stir-fries or soups. I found that drying them is incredibly easy. Rinse, dry, slice (if you want) and dry. Done.
I store the dehydrated mushrooms in resealable baggies or Mason jars. Whenever I need them I just grab them and toss them into the dish. If the recipe I’m using them in doesn’t contain a lot of liquid that can be used to re-hydrate the mushrooms I’ll first toss them into some warm water for a few minutes.
If you decide to slice your mushrooms don’t cut them too small. They shrink a lot as they dry, and if you cut them too small they will crumble too easily and can fall thru the holes in the trays on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I prefer to keep the mushrooms as whole as possible since you never know how you might use the mushrooms in the end. You can always cut the larger pieces later, but you can’t make the smaller pieces bigger!
You can dehydrate darn near anything on a Nesco Snackmaster Pro. Even marshmallows.
This peppered jerky was my second (very successful) attempt at making jerky on my newly-acquired Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. I (and my neighbors) were very pleased with the first batch which was Cajun-flavored. I followed the same simple process and in 14 hours we were all enjoying peppered jerky. The jerky had a nice light pepper flavor with just a bit of spicy kick. The pepper was not overwhelming at all, but it was there just enough to be very enjoyable. You can leave out the heat, but I always prefer a bit of kick to my jerky.
If this is your first time using your Snackmaster Pro to make jerky, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way so far. First, start with lean beef (I prefer top round). Place the beef into the freeze for about 90 minutes then slice it thin (1/4″ or slightly thinner) using a meat slicer. Second, follow the recipe below. No shortcuts. The marinade may have a strong odor at first, but that’s normal. Last, don’t over-dry the meat. Check it after 5 hours, or sooner if you cut your meat thinner than 3/16″ thick. Bend the jerky in the middle. If it just starts to tear it’s done. If it just bends, you need to dry it longer. Once you do a batch you’ll have the process down to an art!
1teaspoon pink curing saltoptional if you’re going to refrigerate the finished product
Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
In a small bowl whisk together the seasoning, red pepper flake if using, curing salt and water. Pour over the meat and seal. Shake to coat.
Refrigerate the meat for up to 8 hours, shaking or massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
Remove meat from the marinade and place flat onto Nesco trays. Do not overlap meat.
Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays from bottom to top every 2 hours or so.
To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good.
Let cool before storing in an airtight container.
This recipe is for starting with 1 pound of meat. You’ll end up with about 1/2 pound in the end. You can easily double/triple/etc this recipe for large quantities of meat, however 5-6 pounds is about all you can fit onto a Nesco Snackmaster Pro fitted with 12 trays (the unit comes with 5).