I grew up eating (and still eating!) fig bars. We always bought the ones made by Barbara's, as my ultra-healthy upbringing would not condone the more popular and known version-Fig Newton's. Either way a fig bar is a fig bar - addictive and delicious!
This is my healthy-ish (no added sugar, gluten free option) homemade version. I am super surprised how good the gluten-free version of these are. My dad and I would always joke: "gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free: and that's why they suck!" Ha! But these really are yummy. (We have the right to make jokes like this- we both often eat gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy free).
Now, for those that think gluten-free is a ridiculous fad and it makes no sense to your wheat eating appetite, good ol' fashion flour will work great too.
Makes 20 bars
pot to cook filling in
1 cup dried figs - chopped
1/2 cup dried dates- chopped
1 1/2 cups water
zest of grated 1/2 orange plus juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
2.5 cups flour -unbleached white OR
For gluten free- I use Pamela’s Baking mix. Any gluten free mix will work! You can make your own mix, but it's more challenging getting the portions right.
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
zest of other half of grated orange
5oz (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) unsalted butter/earth balance/coconut oil
pinch of salt
Prepare the dough:
With a mixer, fork, or hands mix the butter (or alternative) with egg whites, orange zest and vanilla extract until thick and smooth. Add to flour mix until you get a cookie dough like consistency. Mound into a ball-wrap in plastic wrap tightly and put in refrigerator until firm enough to roll out (about 1 hour).
Prepare the filling:
Put in pot with water, orange juice, vanilla extract, salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. After it starts to boil, bring down to low heat, stirring occasionally until the liquid is cooked down (about 25 min). Let it cool down to room temperature. Put filling in food processor, add orange zest and mix until smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (300 if convention). Grab 1/2 of your dough. Put parchment paper down - roughly 16in x 12in. Put dough on top of paper and press the dough into paper. Cover with another sheet of parchment on top. Now start to roll out. Once rolled out into desired size, peel top layer off. Place rolled out dough w/ parchment onto baking sheet. Spear about 1/2 filling down one side of one strip (not to close to the ends). Fold the other side on top of that. Pinch the ends. Make cuts creating your bars, about 6 - 8 bars for strip. Bake until edges are golden brown (12-20 minutes, depending on flour used).
Note: This whole process is a challenge with gluten free flour. It does not roll out as nicely as regular flour. The flavor is great, but the dough needs to be handled with great care and attention.
Let cool & enjoy!