Oatmeal Fig Bars are a chewy, fig-filled bar made on the lighter side. They taste pretty close to a Fig Newton, but homemade is always better, right? When I was researching for a healthy fig bar recipe made with oatmeal, I was surprised to find there weren’t many (or rather any that were suitable). So I decided to take the dough of a oatmeal date bar recipe and replace the date filling with a fig filling. Because I wanted these to be healthier, I reduced the amount of sugar in the dough and eliminated added sugar from the filling. In lieu of sugar, I added lemon juice and zest to the filling to brighten the flavor and also act as a thickener. The result was just what I had in mind for a healthy fig bar, and they were also really simple to make.
When I was making these Oatmeal Fig Bars, I couldn’t help but think about my grandma and grandpa and chuckle. I’ve talked many times about my grandma and what a wonderful baker she was. While I’m sure my grandpa loved all of her (delicious!) baked goodies, he always had a stash of Fig Newtons in their pantry. I really can’t blame him. Not much beats a Fig Newton (except for these bars of course!.. but I digress). I don’t think my grandma ever attempted to make a homemade variety of his beloved fig bars, but I’m sure they would have been similar to these…and my grandpa would have stashed these instead!
- 1 cup chopped dried figs, stems removed (8 ounces)
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1½ cups rolled oats (I used quick oats)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup butter, melted (I used light butter)
- 1 egg white
- Cooking spray
- In a small sauce pan, put figs, water, lemon juice and zest, and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken (about 3 minutes). Let cool for about 5 minutes.
- Put filling in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Add butter and egg white to oat mixture and stir until combined.
- Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking pan. [Note: I used waxed paper to press and spread the mixture into the pan]. Next, carefully spread with fig mixture. Last, drop pieces of remaining oat mixture over the fig mixture so it appears crumbly and then gently pat it down [Note: I used waxed paper for this step].
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
This marks the third installment of the Eating the Alphabet Challenge, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. This month we’re featuring healthy recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes that start with letters E or F. This was a no-brainer for me. I’ve been wanting to come up with a healthy Fig Bar recipe, so this was just the incentive I needed!