Homemade Fig Newton Bars

I’m going to keep plodding along on the trail of DIY goodies because, well, I might not be on this path again for a long time and I want to make this round worthwhile.  And maybe also just to prove to myself that I can do these kinds of things.

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Everyone needs a little pat on the back, you know?  And since I wouldn’t touch my last DIY project with a 20 foot pole, I figured I needed to make a little something for myself.

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Now, why did I choose fig newtons you ask?  Well, I had just made Smitten Kitchen’s amazing fig and olive oil challah and had a bunch of figs left over.  I’m not a snack-on-figs kind of person, but I do enjoy figs once they’ve been cooked into a yummy paste, so it seemed only natural to sandwich that figgy goodness between some subtly sweet and chewy cookie-like dough.

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I’ve always associated Fig Newtons with my great grandparents, as I can distinctly remember chowing down on some while visiting their home as a child.  I definitely wouldn’t have considered myself a fan back then, but the cookie? cake? snack bar? has definitely grown on me.

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Obviously this homemade version blows the packaged variety out of the water.  I mean, you could argue that these toe the intersections between snack, breakfast and dessert, but take a look at that luscious layer of filling.  The flavor is complex and the shortbread is soft with just the right amount of crumbliness.

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I’m really selling this DIY stuff, aren’t I?

Two Years Ago: Banana Peanut Butter Truffle Muffins

Homemade Fig Newton Bars

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Makes one 8x8\" pan, about 12 servings

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (or you can use all all-purpose)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces dried figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups orange juice mixed with ¼ cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8” baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour(s), baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 mins by hand. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Gently stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Press all but ¾ cup of the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes. Once the bottom crust is in the oven, roll the remaining dough into a rough 8” square between two sheets of greased parchment paper, then place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the figs, orange juice, water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and syrupy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Process the mixture in a food processor until jam-like.
  4. Spread the fig mixture evenly over the baked crust, then top with the frozen dough square (don’t worry if it’s not a perfect fit) and press lightly on the dough to firmly sandwich the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, then cut and serve. I like to store these in the fridge, but you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
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Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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