If you’re a fan of the traditional Fig Newton cookie, you will LOVE these bars! They are soft, not too sweet, with a jammy fig filling made from either fresh or dried figs. For this recipe, I used fresh figs because our fig trees were full of figs this year. Whenever I can, I like to add whole wheat flour to my cookie recipes to give them a little nutrient boost. Here, the whole wheat flour works really well, adding a nutty flavor and heartier texture to the cookie dough but still allowing for a soft, moist crumb. Overall, these fig bars are about as healthy as you can get and still be a cookie. The figs, either fresh or dried, boost the fiber and the cookie dough itself is relatively low in fat and added sugar (by cookie standards). Serve them with an iced cold glass of milk, hot tea or coffee for a special treat!
Tips: The recipe may look long but the ingredients are simple and the process is easy. You do have to refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours before rolling it out so keep that in mind.
Whole Wheat Fig Bars
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
Fig filling using fresh figs (as pictured)
4 cups fresh figs
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
Fig filling using dried figs
1- 8 ounce package dried figs, stems removed
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons sugar
Making the Dough
- Spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla until creamy.
- In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend until smooth.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours.
Fig Filling (use the amount of ingredients listed for dried vs. fresh figs)
- While the dough is chilling, combine the figs, water (if using dried figs), orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook until it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture becomes thick and jammy, about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking up and mashing the figs with back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
Assembling and baking the fig bars
- Set oven to 375 degrees.
- Flour your surface. Divide dough in half. Shape into two rectangles. Refrigerate the one dough while working with the other. Roll dough into a rectangle, about 9 x 11 to fit the size of the baking dish (place baking dish on as a template and with a knife, cut around the dish). Place dough on bottom of the baking dish.
- Spread the fig filling over the dough.
- Roll out the other half of the dough to the same size (9 x 11). Place dough on top of fig filling and press down lightly around the edge of the dough.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until dough is lightly browned.
- Cool on wire rack. Cut into 2″ squares.