I’m pretty sure everyone has a fig newton memory.
Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but I’m sure there’s at least one stored away in those memory banks. Mine happen to be a positive ones… I looooved those little figgy cookies growing up. I liked to eat around the cakey outside first, and then eat the middle with tiny little nibbles (Strangely enough I did that with Madeline cookies too, I see a trend here?!). But probably if you’d have asked me if I liked figs, I would have turned my nose up in an unbridled look of disgust. Because I did I associate figs with fig newtons? Absolutely not. Does a fresh fig taste like the interior of a fig newton? Um… no.
Luckily for me, liking figs had nothing to do with liking fig newtons. I was fairly well supplied with fig newtons as a child, and even into college when I became obsessed with the Whole Foods version of “healthier” figgy bars (and my mom would nicely send a box of them in my freshman care packages). I’m pretty sure I hadn’t eaten a real fig until I was (gasp) OUT of college. Whoops. Definitely didn’t do that on purpose. Hey, in my defense, I didn’t cross paths with figs very often (until now).
Oh fig newtons, how full of processed crap you are! I want to like them from a nostalgic point of view, but seriously?! I tried a bite of one a while ago and almost spat it out. Fact: they taste like cardboard. Thanks, five kinds of corn syrup… you might enable these to last through the apocalypse, but you can’t make them taste like food! Oh wait. That’s right, they’re a food product, not a food.
Lucky for you. THESE taste even better than a fig newton AND they’re made from real food and things you can pronounce. Wheeee!
Vegan Figgy Bars
I got about 20 little bars out of this, that were slightly bigger than a conventional fig newton. Vegan, refined sugar free, and gluten free. What’s not to like? Oh and right, they’re delicious. Recipe slightly adapted from The Iron You, here!
- 1.25 c almond flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4+1/8 c maple syrup
- 1/8 c refined coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c (a good handful) dried figs*
- 1/8 c lemon juice
- 2 dates, chopped
- 1 tbsp peach jam**
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
*my figs were SO dry, they were like small pebbles. I reconstituted them in a bit of boiling water for about 10 minutes, which made them soft enough not to kill my food processor.
**mine was flat peach, raspberry and vanilla (freaking delicious), courtesy of Anna!! Her blog is over here.
In a largeish bowl, combine almond flour and salt. In a slightly smaller bowl, stir together maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until combined. The batter will be super runny, which is okay! Cover the bowl and pop it into the fridge for at least an hour, to let it solidify a bit.
In the bowl of your food processor, process figs until they’re more like a chunky paste. Add in lemon juice, dates, jam, and vanilla, and blend until combined. I tasted mine a few times along the way and adjusted as I went. Set the filling aside until the dough is done.
Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using two separate sheets of parchment, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Use a knife to divide it into two roughly even rectangles, then spread the filling down the dough, slightly off center so there is enough dough to cover it back up. Use the parchment paper to roll the dough back over the filling, pressing the edges and the ends together to seal it off. Make them look pretty by smoothing with your fingers (you’re all alone in the kitchen, who’s to see?!)… then pop them into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until they begin to brown. They should feel slightly firm to the touch in the center when they’re done. Let cool on the baking sheet before moving them, as they’re slightly delicate before they’re cooled. These keep best in the fridge!