Happy New Year to everyone! I’ve been baking a lot for the past few weeks but you haven’t seen any posts from me because I was always in too much of a hurry to take photos. I’m starting 2017 with this favorite (and healthy-ish) recipe of mine for fig bars with oats and walnuts.
When I saw a display of dried figs recently, I remembered the date bars that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. I was crazy about the crust and the crumbly topping that she made with butter, brown sugar, and rolled oats. But I only tolerated the date filling that was too sweet for my tastes, and I didn’t care for the texture of the dates. So I added those dried figs to my grocery cart and brought them home to use them in an updated version of my Mom’s bars. And since I have a large bag of walnuts in the freezer, I included some of those, too.
Preparation of the figs is really easy; I just cut off the stem from each of the figs, quartered them, and pulsed them in the food processor until they were finely chopped.
I put the chopped figs into a heavy 3 quart saucepan with a pinch of kosher salt and added some water, then stirred constantly and cooked them over medium high heat for about 10 minutes until they turned into lovely jam that I poured into a shallow bowl and set aside to cool a bit.
Next, I stirred together the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients–except the nuts–into a fairly large mixing bowl, then poured the melted and cooled butter over it all and stirred until everything was evenly distributed. (Actually, I used my hands to do it, which was kind of fun!)
After the holiday baking I’d been doing in recent weeks, I was out of all-purpose flour, so I used bread flour in the crust, which worked just fine. These bars will also be great made with white whole wheat flour.
About 2/3 of the crumb mixture went into a prepared 9″X13″ pan then I patted it down to make a crust.
I spread the filling over the crust, then mixed the chopped walnuts into the remaining crumb mixture and evenly distributed it all over the filling and gently patted it down. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of those steps…but here’s how it looked after baking for about 30 minutes at 375° F, all golden brown around the edges and lightly brown on the rest of the top.
And here it is with a glass of cold milk. Yummy!
Try fig bars with oats and walnuts for an afternoon snack, for dessert, or for breakfast!
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Thanks, and bon appetit!
- 16 oz (254 grams) dried figs
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups (12 fluid oz, 354 ml) water
- 1 cup (7-1/2 oz, 210 grams) packed brown sugar or organic cane sugar
- 1-3/4 cups (7-1/2 oz, 210 grams) all-purpose flour or bread flour, or (7oz) white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/2 cups (5-1/4 oz, 150 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats
- 3/4 cup (6 oz, 170 grams) salted butter, melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup (3 oz, 85 grams) walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°F; grease or use non-stick spray on the bottom and sides of a 9"X13" pan.
- Cut the stems off the figs, then quarter the figs and put them into the bowl of a food processor; process until the figs are finely chopped.
- Put the figs, a pinch of kosher salt, and the water into a 3-quart saucepan.
- Stir constantly while cooking over medium high heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Pour into a shallow heat-proof bowl and set aside to cool a bit.
- In large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and oats, then pour the melted butter over and stir (or mix with your hands) just until crumbly.
- Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
- Spread the cooled fig filling over the crust.
- Combine the chopped walnuts with the remaining crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the filling; pressing lightly.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
- Cool 15 minutes in the pan set on a cooling rack, cut while still warm.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Nearly all products I mention can be found in independent stores near you, and I encourage you to “Shop Local”.