It’s back-to-school season, and if you’re looking for a lunchbox treat or a grab-and-go breakfast, there’s no better time to recreate a classic dessert. And these bars, made a little more healthy than the usual fig cookies, are so much better than what you likely remember from your school days. Adding oats, walnuts, and a little white whole-wheat flour to the soft dough gives these bars a slightly nutty flavor that enhances and complements the subtly sweet fig filling, as well as amps up the good-for-you aspect a bit. And for the filling, dried figs are the way to go (fresh figs would make the filling too wet). Just be sure to stem the figs for a smooth texture. After that, just simmer and purée them. Then get ready, because you’re about to go back in time.
FOR THE FILLING, HEAT:
FOR THE CRUST, WHISK:
Test Kitchen Tip
How long you need to cook the filling will depend upon how pliable the figs are — drier figs will take longer.
For the filling, heat figs, water, zest, orange juice, brandy, brown sugar, allspice, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid is evaporated and figs soften and easily flatten with a spatula, about 1 hour, adding more water, ¼ cup at a time, as necessary. Transfer fig mixture to a food processor; purée, then cool to room temperature.
Fit a 9×13-inch baking pan with a parchment sling; coat with butter.
For the crust, whisk together flours, oats, walnuts, baking powder, and salt.
Cream butter, brown sugar, and honey with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
Beat in flour mixture on low speed until combined. Divide dough in half, shape half into a rectangle and wrap in plastic, and press other half into prepared baking pan. Chill both doughs at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Roll remaining dough half between two sheets of parchment paper to a 9×13-inch rectangle; chill in freezer until firm. Spread filling over crust in pan, then place top crust over filling.
Bake bars until top is golden brown and set, 35–40 minutes; let cool completely in pan. Remove bars by lifting parchment sling “handles.”
To avoid burning the fig mixture, add more water as needed, until the figs are super soft and pliable.
For easy removal of the bars, overlap two perpendicular parchment strips in the pan, leaving an overhang.
Use the pan to mark the parchment paper. It’s a great way to gauge size when rolling and shaping the dough.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 36mg 12%
Sodium 90mg 3%
Carbs 25g 8%
Fiber 1g 4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.