Makes 12 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.