While my fellow RD’s are away at FNCE learning the latest on food and nutrition, I was home working hard on making fig bars. I have to do something health and nutrition related, right? Anyway, on impulse I bought these gorgeous looking figs at Trader Joe’s without first thinking what I was going to do with them.
At the cash register, the check-out woman told me she was growing figs in her own backyard! So cool. I want to have a fig tree when I grow up. Haha. Figs like nice and warm climates like here in Atlanta.
Fig Newton’s are one of my favorite foods, so I thought, why not make fig bars? I wanted to cut down on all the added sugars involved in making fig bars, and just try to use natural sugars. It was quite the endeavor…
Chop about 3-4 cups of fresh figs (cut off the stems) and place in medium saucepan. Add about 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, salt, 1 cup of water, and 1/4 cup honey.
Heat the fig mixture on medium-low for 1.5 hours (liquid should be simmering). So, this is a good time to step away and watch some Hulu like I did. Stir the mixture about every 10 minutes or, during every commercial break.
After your 1.5 hours are up, in a separate bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. of flour with 2 Tbsp. of water very well. Mix until you have a nice paste. You may need to add more water. It helps to have a thinner paste. Pour this into the fig mixture to help thicken it. Also add the juice of half a lemon. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger as well. These spices are optional.
Preheat your oven to 375 F, and grease a 9×9 or 8×8 square baking dish. Or, you can line it with parchment paper if you have it.
To make the crust, combine 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats (or regular oats would work OK) with 3/4 cup oat bran or wheat bran and 2/3 cup applesauce and 1 Tbsp. Stevia (or 2-4 Tbsp. of real sugar if you prefer) and 1 Tbsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add 1/2 cup of water to moisten the oats. I got the idea for the crust from Fat Free Vegan.
Press half (or slightly more) of the crust mixture into the baking dish:Step 5:
Pour all of almost all of your fig mixture on top of the crust. I saved some fig mixture to use as a jam at a later date. Then, try to top the fig mixture with the remaining crust. This is a little difficult. But, it really doesn’t have to be perfect. Bake for about 29-30 minutes until golden:
Let cool, and then cut into squares! Yum! They were delicious to me, but others might not think they are sweet enough.
There is very little added sugars to these bars, and they are almost gluten free (if you aren’t sensitive to oats). If you need a gluten free recipe, just use a rice flour as the thickener. So, this recipe and treat is much healthier than any fig bar on the shelves out there 🙂