September 29, 2010

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

by IsaChandra

Makes 12 Bars

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

Oh hello there, gigantic Fig Netwon! These bars are the perfect after school treat, or high school drop-out treat in my case. I love the whole taste of whole wheat and the contrast with the sweet, sultry figgy filling. And they look really pretty and impressive, too, making them perfect for bakesales or just for making your friends jealous. This recipe is modified from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Tip: Not all dried figs are created equal and some may require adding more water than mentioned in the recipe. You’ll want to cook them with just enough liquid to create a moist, chunky paste.

For the fig filling:
1 lb. dried figs, preferably black mission, hard stems removed and diced into small pieces
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons finely grated citrus zest (try lemon, orange, lime or a combination)

For the dough:
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup canola
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Line an 8 x 8 square metal brownie pan with enough aluminum foil so that it folds over the sides of the pan by about an inch. Spray bottom of covered pan with a little non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large saucepan combine chopped figs, water, agave nectar/maple syrup and citrus zest. Bring to boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally. When figs begin to soften in about 8 to 10 minutes continue to cook but mash figs with a firm spatula or a fork to create a chunky, moist paste. If mixture starts to look overly dry add two tablespoons of water and stir, dribbling in additional water to mixture if necessary. Remove filling from heat and set aside. If mixture still seems too chunky puree in a food processor until desired texture is reached.

In a large mixing bowl combine ground flax seed, non-dairy milk, canola oil, Sucanant and vanilla extract until smooth, mixing for about 1 1/2 minutes. Sift in whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to form a soft dough, gather into a ball with your hands and divide into two sections. Shape each section of dough into a square shape about an inch thick.

Place one half of dough between two large sheets of waxed paper. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a larger square about the same size of the 8 x 8 inch pan (slightly larger is fine). Occasionally rotate the dough while rolling to help maintain an even thickness.

When finished rolling peel off to top layer of waxed paper and flip dough directly into the prepared baking pan. Remove top layer of waxed paper and press the dough firmly into the pan. Spread entire fig filling over the dough, making sure to evenly spread all the way to the edges. Prepare the top crust with the remaining dough the same method as bottom crust, flipping on top of filling and pressing dough evenly and all the way to the edges.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until crust is golden and puffed. Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool. When completely cool remove bars from pan by grabbing the edges of the foil and lift everything out of pan and flip over onto cutting board. Peel off foil and slice into 12 bars. Store in a tightly covered container.

  • June 30, 2011 at 12:05 am: Connie Comeaux

    I am going to make these with my grandma’s canned figs. It is a tradition in the South to can fresh figs in a heavy syrup and eat them over homemade biscuts. I only like figs in cookies and have been looking for a good recipe to use up the jars that I have. Bingo!

  • June 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm: Jenn

    Is it possible to make these with fresh figs? They’re in season here and we’re flooded with them!

  • June 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm: chris

    Jenn: whenever I’ve made fig bars in the past, I’ve always used fresh figs for the filling (I have a huge tree in my backyard that produces ridiculous amounts). The recipe isn’t too much different. Dice up figs, throw in a pot with water and sugar (or some sort of sugary syrup, i.e., agave nectar)…cook it until it has the consistency of a jam. It’s pretty easy to boil off any excess water if it ends up being too runny. You can also cook the figs with a bit of port wine, which adds a very good flavor, or combine with some other fruits and berries (the last time I made a fig jam, I added an apple and random frozen berries I found in the freezer).

  • July 1, 2011 at 1:51 am: Jenn

    Thanks, Chris!!

  • July 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm: Monika

    Cannot wait to make this! Has anyone tried these with store-made fig preserves? Whole Foods sells those “freshly made” fig spreads…could I get away with that until the fresh fig season?

  • July 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm: Kristen

    I love figs, but my kids don’t…and I can’t eat the whole batch myself! Do you think I could sub out with some other fruits, preferably something fresh? I’d really love to try these:)

  • August 14, 2011 at 1:23 am: Katherine

    I made these with fresh strawberries and dried apricots and they were to die for!! I originally made the recipe as directed with the dried figs and they were absolutely delicious and so easy to make too. My husband, 7 year old son (both of whom previously hated dried figs) and I went through all the bars in just one day and I just had to make more! So I tried my own variation of this recipe using fresh fruit since I already used up all the dried figs and was super impressed with the results! Thank you so much for this recipe Isa, and thank you Chris as well for the tips regarding the fresh fruit!

  • October 26, 2011 at 5:10 am: Gale

    Does anyone have any suggestions for replacing the sugar in the dough? Would agave nectar work or making it fruit juice sweetened? (I’m guessing that would be too much liquid). Or maybe date sugar?

  • November 8, 2011 at 3:31 am: J

    The crust was slightly salty, and not in a good sweet-n-salty way, even though I distictly remember using 1/2 tsp salt. Next time I’ll reduce it to 1/4 tsp.

  • December 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm: Bekki

    I made these but I used a different filling recipe so I could use blackberries instead of figs. They were so good! I loved them! Some day I’ll try them with other fruit fillings too. Apricot would be yummy!

  • December 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm: Allison

    These are awesome, and they look really beautiful too. I replaced the oil with Earth Balance and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup. My photo of them: Thanks!

  • February 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm: Darene

    As a weight watcher member, I would like to know the point value, so nutritional values are important to me. Can you print them along with the recipies. Thanks, DarlenePos

    • February 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm: IsaChandra

      I’m not a dietician, so I would just do the same thing as you. Go here, copy and paste the ingredients, and voila: I am a mere blogger, it gets a little perturbing to get demands without so much as a “please.” If these things are truly important to you, take matters into your own hands.

  • February 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm: Alyssa

    Any good canola substitues? These look delightful!!

  • April 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm: Annemarie

    Alyssa, I used 1/4 cup apple sauce + 1/4 cup olive oil and they came out very well! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe Isa. I will be baking these delightful goodies up for many potlucks and bake sales to come.

  • May 22, 2012 at 12:33 am: Andrea

    I just found this recipe the other day and have already made a 2nd batch. I had guests over the weekend who gobbled them up! On the 2nd try I cut back slightly on the agave in the figs and the oil in the batter. They turned out just as well (slightly less sweet). I am always happy to have a good vegan recipe! Thank you for posting all of your recipes.

  • July 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm: melina

    I used dried plums and figs. I’m so excited to know how to make these since I haven’t been able to find the fig cookies in the bulk section of my Whole Foods in years!

  • July 20, 2012 at 4:55 am: Adria

    I have been eating dried mission figs as a snack for awhile, and easily find them at Publix, as I live in the south. That got me thinking about a homemade fig newton, but hadn’t made the effort myself to try recipes. So glad to find this recipe, which turned out wonderfully. Freezing half the batch for my vegan stepdaugter, so she may enjoy when she returns home.
    I only cut the sugar in dough by a smidge, but generally like to try recipes as presented and go from there. Can’t wait to try other suggestions like fresh/dried fruit combos.
    SO delicious, thank you!

  • August 1, 2012 at 2:18 am: MaeL

    My favorite cookie recipe ever! I’ve made them at least 4 times, and they’re always a huge hit with my friends and co-workers. I use maple syrup since agave spikes my blood sugar too hard. Also, I’d recommend reducing the sweetener (whether agave or maple) a bit.

  • August 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm: Ellie

    I have a ton of dried figs to use. Sounds like a yummy way–these’ll be good snacks to stash at work :-)

  • August 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm: Jen

    These were fantastic!! Like a big fat soft fig newton! Made them for an unsuspecting group of non-vegans and they scarfed them down. Will definitely be making these again! Might experiment with other fruits too, apricots would be great. I used 2 bags of dried mission figs, the kind you get in the grocery store (Sunmaid?) and the filling amount was perfect. Also, I’ve tried several recipes from this cookbook and all have been yummy.

  • September 11, 2012 at 1:47 am: Amber

    I love these! I’ve made them 4 or 5 times, once with figs, but I usually use dried apricots. I work on fishing boats as a biologist and make them for the crews and they always eat them right up! I also made them for my family last Christmas (all non-vegans) and they couldn’t believe how delicious they were.

  • November 27, 2012 at 1:40 am: Claudia

    These are absolutely delish!! My sister who is now vegan (a year or more now, I believe) passed this recipe to me. I used fresh figs, but I could see using other fruits (apricots would probably be great). For me, I have to work on my crust technique a bit, as the crust was a little thick in the corners — not a big deal, since the crust itself is very tasty! I look at this as a Fig Pie. Thanks for the recipe!

  • December 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm: Crystal

    Just made these and they were fantastic! I didn’t have a full pound of figs, so I added some dates to make up ye difference. Also, my dough was very soft and tricky to roll out, but this recipe is forgiving. My bottom crust broke into about 5 pieces as I tried to move it to the pan, but I just kinda pressed it all back together once in there and it melded perfectly during baking. Also threw some orange extract into the dough instead if adding zest to the filling, and trimmed sugar to 1/2 cup. These were so much better than the store bought. Thanks for the recipe!

  • January 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm: Gina

    Just made these for the first time. We are serious fig bar lovers, and these are so delish; just right. Thanks!

    PS: re: “high school drop-out”, I think ‘life learning’ is as important, no, More Important, than degrees and formal education. (You were too constrained by school, I’m guessing). I did the life learning first, then got the college degree as a ‘mature student’. I think that’s a far better way to do it, if you’re going to do it. And not everyone needs to do it.

  • July 31, 2013 at 1:57 am: smoot

    If you freeze these, they taste like figgy ice cream bars.

  • March 22, 2014 at 5:06 am: Mike

    I stumbled upon this after googling ‘homemade vegan fig bars’ and didn’t realize it was written by the Isa who is on top of my refrigerator! My pops bought me your cookbook for Christmas and it gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to go vegan after being a veg for 8 years. So cheers to you, you’ve created the best vegan/vegetarian cookbook that I’ve come across.

  • July 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm: Vivi

    Hello! which vegan all-purpose flour do you use? :]

  • August 3, 2014 at 9:25 pm: mary lou

    The best, and always appreciated by Vegans and non vegans alike!

  • September 10, 2014 at 3:23 am: Katherine

    The dough is drippy…..cannot roll a thing…..perhaps the 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour amount is wrong. Will experiment…..

  • November 17, 2014 at 3:33 am: Liza

    This is very good!!!! Thank you Isa!

  • December 16, 2014 at 2:25 am: Nathan

    So Fire. Had to call for help. So good. I followed the dry recipe not knowing if it would work but it did! too much oil for my taste so halfed the oil and did other half as banana. That was our only modification and it was lovely. I’ll definitely be making these again but I think we’ll try with figs and dates next time!! Thanks for the great recipe, have fun baking guys and gals.

  • February 24, 2015 at 5:42 pm: laverne mordlla

    I use to shop at Mother’s Market in Newport Beach ca. and their whole wheat fig bars were to die for…I live in NC now and can’t find good WW fig bars anywhere. This recipe looks like the delicious bars I long for…I’ll keep you posted after I make a batch.

  • March 31, 2015 at 10:27 am: Vicki

    OMG! absolutely awesome! Ten times better than Fig Newtons which are one of my favorite cookies, again made by my husband, who is the cook of the house.

  • May 11, 2016 at 6:38 pm: Nancy Kaufmann

    Why turn on the oven and then proceed with the preparation? Doesn’t this waste energy? Ovens these days heat rather quickly and can be turned on a couple minutes prior to the actual backing.