Homemade Fig Bars

Homemade Fig Bars from weelicious.com

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.

Homemade Fig Bars from weelicious.com

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!

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Homemade Fig Bars (makes 20)

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 20 mins

nut free

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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125 comments

  • Marishannon My Spirited Adventure

    Oh yummy! I can't wait to try these!

    leave a comment

  • Krystal

    Could you use fresh figs? How would do it with fresh figs? I have a fig tree ready to burst! Thanks!!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Just puree the figs in the food processor! No need to soak or anything.

      leave a comment

  • Myla

    Do you think you could use jam in these like the raspberry or strawberry kind? I don't have figs, but have all the rest of the ingredients on hand :)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could use preserves if they are more like a thick paste and not very watery!

      leave a comment

  • Laura

    I have been waiting for this type of recipe from you forever!! :) But.......if figs are not commonly available where you live, could you substitute another fruit filling, thereby making them a healthier version of cereal bars (a la nutrigrain types)? Could you suggest how to cook the filling so it is thick enough?
    Thank yo so much! I am so excited to try these out before school starts!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I think you could do this with just about any dried fruit using the same method!

      leave a comment

  • Ruth

    Questions about the recipe - it says to cut into bars before baking. Will this filling ooze out of the cookie during the baking process? Also, do you only leave the 1/2-in border on the long (12\") side of the dough (so that the first and last cookie in the log have figgy goodness throughout and don't get shortchanged)? Thank you!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      The filling does not ooze out. Yes, the half-inch border is just for the long side so you have a place to pinch the dough together!

      leave a comment

  • Anne

    Is thethe baking temperature 350 degrees?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes 350! Thanks. :)

      leave a comment

  • Diane

    have you tried the Fig Newmans by Paul Newman? They are very good and healthier then the normal store bought ones.

    leave a comment

    • NicoleF

      Those are the best but SO pricey! I'll make my own from now on :-)

      leave a comment

  • Melissa McKenna

    I'm going to attempt these gluten free with coconut flour. If anyone has tips feel free to post.

    leave a comment

  • Mellissa

    oh yes, any ideas how to make adjustments for fresh figs? I just moved into a new house that has a fig tree out back, and I have no idea how to use them all!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Just roughly chop and puree the figs! They should come out to the correct consistency. Let me know how they turn out!

      leave a comment

    • Alan

      Brandied figs keep very well and are delicious. Make a sugar syrup of 1 cup of sugar to 250 ml water and bring to boil. Place whole firm-ripe figs in syrup and cook 3 minutes or until heated thru but not cooked to soft.. Remove figs to steralised jars. Cool the syrup and half fill jar and top with a 5 star or XO brandy or cognac. The better the brandy the better the result. Seal and tip jars several times to mix the liquids and store in a dark cupboard for at least 3 months. Serve straight from the jar with some of the fig brandy liquid and a dollop of Greek yoghurt or double cream. Yum.

      leave a comment

  • Catherine

    I will be making these as soon as I buy dried figs. I bet other dried fruits would work too.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Absolutely!

      leave a comment

  • Melisa

    I like these as well as the newtons thins. Any chance you have a recipe for those?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I have been working on those, too!

      leave a comment

  • Claire

    I've been waiting for this recipe!! But we have egg allergies :( would any of the egg replacers work for this? (ground flax, applesauce, etc.) Thank you! Love dried figs!!!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I think the ground flax+water would work in this!

      leave a comment

  • Helen

    Excited to try these! Must buy figs. Like claire, I'll be using ground flax, and also Earth Balance vegan 'butter' so my son can eat these (dairy and egg allergies!)

    leave a comment

  • Stephanie

    I assume it's 350 degrees?

    leave a comment

  • Tara

    these sound great!! any ideas on using something other than sugar as a sweetener?

    leave a comment

  • Shannon

    Made these. Subbed 1/2 cup flour for 1/2 cup bran. Turned out great!!! Used strawberry jam for a filling and it is a tad runny, but still very delicious. My 2 year old is going nuts for them!

    leave a comment

  • Aida Mollenkamp

    Yes, one of my favorite snacks as a kid!

    leave a comment

  • Dorothy

    Oh my gosh Catherine you are AMAZING! Baking these tomorrow! You surprise me with each new recipe :)

    leave a comment

  • Lisa With Style And Grace

    I use to love fig newtons growing up, oh the memories! happy to see this recipe vs the packaged cookies :)

    leave a comment

  • Dale L

    How hot is hot? I know silly question. Just hot from the water heater hot or like boiling hot?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Just hot from the faucet! No boiling.

      leave a comment

  • NicoleF

    I am going to try these first with apricots, and then maybe dates - no figs on hand!

    leave a comment

  • Dale L

    Oh, these taste so good to me! I don't care what the munchkins think of them! Perfect as written! And if anyone else has a silly question like I did... Hot water is just hot from the faucet... not boiling.

    leave a comment

  • NicoleF

    So I made them with 3/4 apricots and 1/4 dates (because that's all I had in the dried fruit dept. and I was too anxious to make them to have to go to the store). They are DELICIOUS!!

    leave a comment

  • Kara

    Look delish! If you use fresh figs should you still add the honey?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Taste the puree first and if you think it is sweet enough then leave the honey out!

      leave a comment

  • Erin

    I'm so excited to make these! Do you think they'll freeze well?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I have some in the freezer right now! So far so good. I'll take some out in the next few days and see how they defrost. :)

      leave a comment

  • Wendy

    I had trouble with the dough, it came out very crumbly and wouldn't roll or be worked without crumbling apart. The only thing i did differently was that i used turbinado sugar and regular [brown] whole wheat flour. I decided to just roll them into balls and cook the dough as is [cooking now] but i still have the fig mixture and want to try again. What did i do wrong?

    leave a comment

    • Wendy

      Ok, it was definitely the turbinado sugar! It didn't break down at all! [The messed up batch of dough i cooked came out and i could see the sugar crystals throughout!]
      I made a new batch with regular sugar [cut it to 1/3 cup] and used 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour, 1/4 cup Oat Bran, and 1/4 cup Almond Meal and gently mixed the flour in with a spatula and they turned out perfectly!!! They are delicious!!

      leave a comment

  • Naureen

    Is the 12\" x 4\" correct? Isn't the 4\" a tad too thick? And once you roll over the dough that makes 8\"? Can't be right... what am I missing?

    leave a comment

    • Marishannon

      The 4\" refers to the width of the rectangle, not the thickness.

      leave a comment

  • Summer

    I made these and they didn't look at beautiful as yours in the picture. Confused about which way you add the fig mixture to half of the dough - is it lengthwise, or half of the dough widthwise, and then fold in half. I did add a T of chia seeds to the fig mixture, which I thought was a good idea and that part came out nicely!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Spread the fig mixture up the 12-inch length!

      leave a comment

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  • Vanessa Sanchez

    where do you buy your dried figs?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I buy them at Trader Joe's! I sometimes see them at other groceries as well.

      leave a comment

  • Vath

    I have been wanting make homemade fig bars for my children for 3years. I have searched the web and never found an easy healthy recipe for them. These look healthy and easy. Thank you for finally giving me a recipe I have searched for, for 3years!!

    leave a comment

  • Jenny H

    I think I'll try these with Trader Joe's fig butter.

    leave a comment

  • Marla

    We were a Fig Newton house too and still are. I MUST try your homemade ones ~ they look amazing!

    leave a comment

  • Marishannon

    I made these and while they tasted pretty good, they were so difficult to work with! And the fresh figs had way too much moisture. I plan on trying again with dried.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      good to know. thanks!

      leave a comment

  • Shirleynature

    I will definitely try these. Instead of the sugar I will try xylitol which is a natural sugar (tooth friendly) made from either corn or birch tree. It acts by not raising the blood sugar levels & is actually good for toddlers teeth as opposed to sugar. Or I will try apple juice concentrate which is sugar free but sweet like sugar. Thankyou for the lovely recipe.

    leave a comment

  • Kim

    Can you use whole wheat flour instead of white whole wheat flour? Thanks!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It will be a slightly different texture, but try and let me know how it turns out!

      leave a comment

  • Melissa McKenna

    I used 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour. Kept everything else the same. They came out great and GF :) I would give a tip of using the wax or parchment paper to help fold the dough in half since it is more crumbly. It wasn't that bad at all though! So yummy you can't tell they are GF!

    leave a comment

    • Melissa McKenna

      OH and not crumbly once cooked! Very happy with the outcome.

      leave a comment

  • Tracy

    My dough rolled out nicely but when I went to fold it over the fig spread it cracked , and crumbled. Any ideason what I may have done wrong? I could!'t get it to cover all the spread bit they are baking in the oven.

    leave a comment

  • Fall Pumpkin Butter Newtons « The Fox Box

    [...] I was recently looking for healthy snack options for Small Fox I came upon this recipe on Weelicious. I love the idea of a homemade fig newton. However, I am not a huge fan of figs. So, [...]

    leave a comment

  • Mya

    Anyone else have super wet sticky dough? I had to almost double the flour and still have to chill the dough because its sooo sticky!

    leave a comment

  • Mamta

    Here's my version:

    I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup AP flour. Dough was perfect.

    I used organic dried apricots and omitted the honey. I measured 1 cup chopped dried apricots and the filling came out too much. I divided it in half and spread all of it... Way too much...

    I ended up baking them close to 20 mins and they were overdone.

    This batch is too sweet for my taste so I'll half the sugar in the dough and use less dried apricots next time.

    Overall, great recipe to personalize!!!

    leave a comment

  • Krystal L

    What about fig preserves? I have several jars from a trip to Louisiana this summer and I want to use them.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      As long as they aren't too liquidy they should work great! You want the filling to be more paste-like!

      leave a comment

  • Ruth

    Made these over the weekend - easy recipe to make! I used dried figs from Trader Joes - do you need to somehow remove the seeds? I'm not a fig cookie fan, and when I ate one, I felt like I was chewing on ground-up glass because of the seeds! The husband said Fig Newtons aren't like that.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Nope, you don't need to remove the seeds, but yes figs do have a lot of seeds and create a certain texture. Fig Newtons have that same texture as far as I can remember!

      leave a comment

  • Laura Degnan

    I'd love to see a video for this recipe!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Great idea! It is officially on my list!

      leave a comment

  • Marg

    I am wanting to know about freezing fig newtons, if i don't freeze them we eat them to fast I want to try dried apricots, dates sounds good too. my recipe said to put into a sealed contaner or ziplock when still hot it keeps them soft and cakie, I just love them and are quit simple to make

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I have some in the freezer right now! I bake them, let them cool, and then freeze them!

      leave a comment

  • What To Feed One Y

    [...] homemade fig bars, snapea crips, cocoroons, go raw super cookies, kale chips, rice crackers, cheerios, fruit [...]

    leave a comment

  • Heather G

    these are so good and suprisingly easy.

    leave a comment

  • 2brownboys

    Hey there, Catherine, how can I make this recipe with fresh figs? I have always only had dried figs and I was in the farmers market the other day and saw beautiful fresh figs.. I have a newly 1 year old and 3 year old and I need some idea as to how to use them in a way that everyone can enjoy.

    thanks in advance

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could try this with fresh figs. Just blend them to get them to a paste. You might need to strain the liquid out, though!

      leave a comment

  • Victoria

    Hello Catherine! i just tried this recipe and is amazing!! so I was wondering if the amount of flour is the correct, because i had to add more than what you said in the recipe, my mixure was so sticky, but still delicious!! thanks for sharing!

    leave a comment

  • Julie

    These are one of my favorite recipes of yours now! My sister in law has a fig tree, but they don't care for figs so we get lots! :) I've made these about 4 times now, and they are SO delicious! I had looked for homemade fig newton recipe before, but many were very complicated, these are simple, come together fast, and are always a big hit, thanks! :)

    leave a comment

  • Lisa

    My husband just introduced me to your site - love it! Do you have gluten-free recipes?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I have some gluten-free and gluten-free adaptable recipes, and I am working on more! http://b12.ba4.myftpupload.com/category/gluten-free/

      leave a comment

  • Homemade Fig Newtons — North Shore Mama

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    leave a comment

  • Shirley

    Hi, any subsitute instead of sugar ? Xylitol or date paste perhaps as a natural sweetener...trying not to add sugar (white or brown) thanks

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You would need to use something granulated so that the consistency stays the same. I personally am not a fan of xylitol. Maybe date sugar or palm sugar?

      leave a comment

  • Ann

    Had to substitute dates as I couldn't find figs, but these are yummy! And, my dear anti-whole-wheat husband loved them (of course, I didn't tell him that I used 100% king arthur flour white whole wheat!). Thanks for another winner!

    leave a comment

  • TW

    This recipe makes me super happy because the dough was really easy to work with (not an experienced baker). Next time I'll try increasing the fig filling to dough ratio, and using a little less honey though. I'm finding the honey to bea little overpowering. Thanks for giving me a new staple treat recipe... I love fig newtons and these are so much nicer than the store purchased variety.

    leave a comment

  • Liz

    The first time I made these they were too sweet for my taste (although, that did not stop us from eating them all). This time I reduced the sugar to 1/3c and reduced the honey to 1/2T - perfect!.

    After reading other posts I'll just add that I did not have any issues working with the dough and the filling amount was just fine too.

    leave a comment

  • Caitlin

    I notice a lot of honey in your recipes and I thought that was a big no-no for toddlers. I have been substituting maple syrup in most recipes. Any thoughts?

    leave a comment

    • Rachel

      Honey is only a no no for babies under one.

      leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Maple syrup and agave are great substitutes for honey! It is recommended to wait until after 1 year to introduce honey to babies.

      leave a comment

  • Nicolen

    Have these baking in the oven as I type!! I can't wait to try them but also for my picky 5 year old daughter as well! My one question. I have left over fig spread. Can I freeze it or keep in fridge till I make more? And if so for how long and if I can't keep it stored what can I do with it? I hate wasting food. BTW they smell amazing so far!!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can freeze the fig filling for up to 3 months or keep it in the fridge for about 5 days!

      leave a comment

  • Erin

    Could I fell the fig bars with a different kind of fruit, we are in a small town and figs not the easiest to get a hold of. If so what kind of fruit would you suggest?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could probably use any dried fruit your prefer! Like berries or apricots!

      leave a comment

    • Leslie

      A friend of mine used prunes because she didn't have figs and she said they were delicious!

      leave a comment

  • Sarah

    Surprised the recipe contains no salt. The cookie dough has a hard surface & doesn't rise well without it. I also b elieve the dough would be much easier to work with if the butter is cold; i will try it that way next time.

    leave a comment

  • Carla

    so I finally just realised what these are! in Australia we call these Pillow biscuits. and they're filled with all sorts of dried fruit flavours even berries. I definitely will have to give these a try one time.

    leave a comment

  • Nuzzette

    My toddler started double-fisting double-stacked fig newmans so I decided it was time to make them at home. Made this recipe today and while he definitely liked them they were WAAAY too big for his little self. I realized this after cutting the first log and made the second log into 20 small bars, much better size for my little guy. I am going to add some salt next time (maybe 1/2 tsp ground sea salt) to see if that helps the dough rise a little more and maybe divide the dough three-ways and make smaller bars overall. Great job on this recipe! Now I just need to find a reasonable-to-make substitute for Annie's Gummy Bunnies...

    leave a comment

  • Alan

    Great to see this old standard again. Would be helpful if measures were in metric to save looking up the conversion tables. I remember these bars with orange zest and juice in the date filling. I have also done it with lemon. The taste is amazing and the kids love them even more. Cuts back the sweetness of the dates and honey a little.

    leave a comment

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  • Cathy

    Has anyone ever made this with fresh figs? Need advice! Thanks!

    leave a comment

  • Cathy

    I also need advice on how to use fresh figs. Can I use the fig preserves I put up last year?

    leave a comment

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  • Dea

    These were so unbelievably easy to make, I have always wanted to make these homemade. I substituted with Craisins and left out the soak, followed the rest of the instructions. They baked up perfect!

    leave a comment

  • Allyson S

    My dough is too dry. And how on earth did you roll yours into just a rectangle? Help!

    leave a comment

    • Emilie

      Today's batch had 3/4 cup peanut butetr, all other ingredients as above. I soaked the oats for 5 minutes, and they were really waterlogged. In the future, don't soak the oats, but the flavor is good.

      leave a comment

  • Tina

    This is the second time we made these. First time using all purpose flour and this time white whole wheat flour. Liked them better with WWWF. They turned out perfect. We also trippled the recipe in order to have plenty for the freezer. The dough was very easy to work with (my husband rolled it out, somehow he does that part better than me) :-). Our two boys (4,6), hubby and I all love them! I am not sure they will make it to the freezer!

    leave a comment

  • Megan F.

    When I first saw this recipe and even the video, I thought there was no way mine would turn out that nice. I am so glad I tried! These are fantastic! I made a double batch of dough with half filled with the fig and the other half with pureed prune and orange zest. I did add a pinch of sea salt to the dough. They turned out beautifully. I bought white whole wheat flour just for this recipe. I was eating them hot out of the oven and they were ok, but they were irresistible when I put them in an airtight container for three days. I had to write 110 calories for each cookie on the package so I wouldn't eat them all in one sitting.

    leave a comment

  • Mjw

    Yumma yumma! Not as difficult as I thought but just as delicious!

    leave a comment

  • Rach1366

    This is my new favorite recipe! I have actually made this several times but never with figs, and each time they came out so good. Ive made cranberry, strawberry/cranberry and cherry/cranberry. I couldn't find dried strawberries, only freeze dried ones, but they still worked great as a filling, I just added a little water when pureeing them and they got nice a sticky. Maybe someday I will look for dried figs and make the real recipe! But for now its fun to try a different flavor everytime!

    leave a comment

  • Rach1366

    I've made these so many times, and love them! But I would really like to try to make them a little healthier. Any suggestions for substitutes for the butter? or Maybe less sugar?

    leave a comment

    • Miriam

      Flavorwise, there is no substitute for butter. Margarine has been found to be unhealthful, like any hydrogenated fat. Shortening wouldn't give you the taste. Nutritionists are starting to say that butter is OK in moderation.

      leave a comment

    • Bank

      This is kind of late, but I used coconut oil instead of butter and coconut sugar instead of normal white sugar :) they are delicious!!!

      leave a comment

  • Melodie

    Do you think I could use cooked carrots and dried blueberries as the filling? What are you're thoughts?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine McCord

      Hmm that would probably work fine as a filling. :)

      leave a comment

  • In Season: Figs The Kitchenthusiast

    […] Homemade Fig Bars from Weelicious […]

    leave a comment

  • Lisa

    I used fresh figs and they turned out great. I had them in the oven for only 14 min and it was perfect. They're not very good hot out of the oven. They seem to taste best a whole day later. My husband really liked the cookie part of it since it's not very sweet. They were super easy to make using the parchment paper. I'll definitely make them again and try a different fruit next time!

    leave a comment

  • Suzy

    Does it have to be white whole wheat flour or can you use just whole wheat flour?

    leave a comment

  • Laverne Mordella

    +thanks lisa I wanted to here from someone who tried them

    leave a comment

  • Laverne Mordella

    I love these bars! Sometimes I replace the figs with dates or currants and use ghee instead of the butter. They are delicious! I cut them into individual squares and store them in the fridge. That way, I can grab one before I head out the door. Convenient, delicious, and healthy. What more can you ask for?

    leave a comment

  • Kathleen Carpenter

    how would i sub fresh figs instead of dry? seems like fresh wouldn't have the right consistency.

    leave a comment

    • Oncoming Storm

      at mywholefoodlife, under homemade fig newtons, it was said by the author as a reply to a comment that fresh figs can be successfully used.

      leave a comment

  • Melon58

    Could I use frozen figs that I put up last year

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      I haven't tested those, but I think you could defrost and puree them and they would be just fine! :) Let me know if you try it!

      leave a comment

  • Soni

    Ok, so why did my cookies crack open along the top?

    leave a comment

  • Naomi

    Thank you for this recipe! I bought a jar of fig jam for another recipe and thought I was going to toss the rest!. I will definitely incorporate this into one of my go to snack recipes!

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      I hope you love them!

      leave a comment

  • Kristi Dvorak

    My husband would love these.

    leave a comment