What pre-packaged treat do you most remember your parents buying you as a child? Graham crackers? Chocolate chip cookies? Gingersnaps? Oreos? In my day, it was Fig Newtons. I think my mother assumed the fig center made them a more sensible choice than the other options at the grocery. While my mom usually baked her own delicious cookies, but I don’t think she ever considered trying her hand at homemade fig bars. Even when I started thinking about making a healthier, less sugar-filled, homemade version of Newtons, I was a bit intimidated at the prospect of doing it. It just didn’t seem like a recipe that would be easy to pull off in a home kitchen.
Well, I was wrong. Totally wrong. In fact, in the same amount of time it would take me to make a simple batch of chocolate chip cookies, I made these decadently rich bars, boasting sweet figs tucked inside a tender, flaky whole wheat cookie. Both of my kids agreed they these homemade fig bars were superior to the store-bought Fig Newtons they had recently tried at a friend’s house, and they couldn’t keep their mitts out of the tin I put them in.
One night after two of my little cookie monsters absconded with three cookies apiece and were coming back for more, I hid the tin. I did such a good job hiding it out of sight in fact, that five days later I realized I totally forgot about them. Figuring they would be stale I opened the container and pulled one out to try. Amazingly these homemade fig bars were still as moist and irresistible as the first day I had baked them.
Store bought fig bars for us? Never again!
Homemade Fig Bars
- 1 cup roughly chopped dried figs, stems removed
- 1 tbsp honey
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the figs in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 10 minutes.
- Remove the figs from the water with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the honey and 1 tablespoon of the soaking liquid. Puree until smooth and spreadable.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
- Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper into two 12 x 4 inch rectangles.
- Spread the fig mixture on one half of each rectangle – spreading up the 12-inch side and leaving a 1/4-1/2 inch border.
- Fold the dough over on top of itself and gently press the dough together at the edges.
- Cut each log into 10 cookies and transfer to a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden.