This year I am running behind on everything! Shopping, baking, mailing the Christmas cards and gifts… So I am absolutely grateful to have a quiet weekend just before the big day. I’ve been craving something fig lately and I came across this wonderful recipe in the Family Circle Magazine 2013 holiday edition. Being a huge fan of figs, I just couldn’t pass it up!
So….(drum roll, please) here is my first attempt at homemade fig bars!
Pre-heat your oven to 350* F. The next thing I do is get the figs cooking down so that once I finish the cookie layer, they are ready to go and I don’t have to wait for them.
You’ll need a large, lidded pan that can hold 4 cups of dried figs that have been coarsely chopped. In this pan will go the chopped figs, honey, 2 tbsp sugar, orange juice (I squeezed a fresh naval orange) and the zest from an orange. I also added a little water. The figs I used were organic, dried figs that we found at Costco. They are wonderful! And since figs can sometimes be difficult to find depending on where you live, this was a nice treat for me.
First chop your figs into smaller chunks. I cut these figs in half, the cut each of those halves into another half. Wash your orange really well (organic is best) and take your zester, pictured above, and zest all the peel off into the pot. Then squeeze the juice of that orange. It will look like a sticky mess once you add the honey, orange juice and water! But it will smell absolutely wonderful!!
On medium heat, bring the figs to a simmer, lower the heat, put the lid on and let cook about 15 minutes or until they are all soft. I made sure to stir occasionally and was actually able to resist the urge to lick the spoon! While the figs are cooking, put together the cookie layer. Once that is done and the figs are soft, you will put them into a food processor, or blender, and run until they are completely smooth. This mixture will then be spread on top of the cookie layer to be baked for about 25 minutes. Make sure you cool completely or cutting them into bars will be a nightmare!
The recipe is below. Have fun with it and enjoy these! I actually ended up cutting them smaller than what is on the plate. They are so rich and delicious and not very sweet at all!
Orange & Fig Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour (make sure it is unbleached) or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt (I used Celtic Gray Sea Salt)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (vegan butter works well here)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups dried figs, roughly chopped
1/2 cup orange juice or the juice of one large orange
1/4 cup water – this is my addition to the recipe
zest from a large orange
2 tbsp. pure honey
Pre-heat the oven to 350*F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (I am partial to parchment)
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Slowly pour in the flour mixture and beat on low until well combined. Press firmly and evenly in the bottom of your lined baking pan.
In a medium, lidded pot, combine figs, orange juice and zest, honey, 2 tbsp sugar, and water, if you are adding it. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook until soft…about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor (or blender) and run until smooth. Let cool about 5 minutes. Using a spatula dipped in warm water to prevent sticking, spread the fig mixture over the cookie layer. (re-dip your spatula in warm water as needed to prevent sticking)
Bake at 350*F for 25 minutes. Cool completely. Lift from the pan to a cutting board. Cut into small squares.
Per cookie: 122 cal; 3g fat (2g sat fat); 2g pro; 24g carb; 2g fiber; 41mg sodium; 7mg chol