Homemade Fig Bars made with dried figs and a simple cookie crust. No finnicky fig newton style here, just really good bars that are much easier to make!
Fig Bar Crust:
For Fig Filling: Combine halved dried figs, water, orange juice, and lemon juice in a small pot over low heat. Bring to a slight simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. Once filling is cooled to at least room temperature, blend until smooth. Set aside.
To make fig bars:
- Preheat oven to 350˚ F. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, combine sugar and butter and beat until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- When the sugar mixture is light and fluffy looking, after a few minutes of mixing, add egg and vanilla and combine slowly. Then add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Scoop out about 1/3 of the dough for the thinner top half of the bars. Place that half between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper and roll into a rectangle to fit your 8×8 pan. Place in the fridge to firm up.
- For the rest of the dough, prepare an 8×8 pan by lining it tightly with parchment paper and spraying it with nonstick spray.
- Press the cookie dough into the pan until it’s an even thickness. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the surface of the dough. Bake crust for 18 minutes at 350˚ F.
To Finish Bars:
- When crust comes out of the oven, let cool briefly and once cool, add a layer of fig filling. I would use at least 1/2 a cup but you can use a little more if you want a thicker filling.
- Remove the wrapping for the top piece of dough from the fridge and place it on top of the filling. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
- Bake bars again at 350˚ F. for another 15-18 minutes until the top is browned nicely and crispy.
- Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before trying to remove. Remove bars by lifting up on the parchment paper. Once bars are out, peel away the parchment paper and cut bars into 16 even pieces (4×4).
Store bars in the fridge so they stay firm. Leftover fig filling is great on toast or oatmeal and will keep in the fridge for a week or two.