What pre-packaged treat do you most remember your mother buying you as a child? Graham crackers? Chocolate chip cookies? Gingersnaps? Oreos? In my house, 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 tried her hand at homemade Newtons. Even when I started thinking about making a healthier, less sugar-filled, homemade version of Newtons I was a bit intimidated. 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 takes to make a simple batch of chocolate chip cookies, I made these decadently rich bars, filled with sweet fig and tucked inside a tender whole wheat cookie. Both of my kids agreed they were superior to the store bought Fig Newtons they had tried at a friend's house -- they couldn't keep their mitts out of the tin I put them in.
One night after two of my little cookie monsters had three cookies apiece and were going for more, I hid the tin. I did such a good job tucking it out of sight 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 (makes 20)
- 1 cup roughly chopped dried figs, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the figs in a small bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 10 minutes.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Add the flour and mix until a dough forms.
6. Roll dough between two pieces of parchment paper into two 12 x 4 inch rectangles.
7. 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.
8. Fold the dough over on top of itself and gently press the dough together at the edges.
9. Cut each log into 10 cookies and transfer to a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
10. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden.