I hope you enjoy this “rerun” of a recipe I associate closely with Christmas. It’s my low-fat, veganized interpretation of the fig-filled cookies my husband’s grandmother always made for Christmas. D looked forward to those cookies every year, and once he married a vegan, his grandmother often made a special egg-free batch just for us. Sadly, she’s no longer with us, but I think of her whenever I make these fig bars.
I made an impulse buy the other day, one of those “rings” of dried figs. I’ve been missing fresh figs all summer, so when I saw these dried figs in the store, I bought them without thinking. But then they sat on my kitchen counter taunting me with memories of my yummy, but definitely not low-fat, Holiday Fig Bars. Since I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and refined foods lately, making a batch of those bars would not be in my best interest.
But visions of fig bars persisted, as such cravings will when you have the primary ingredient sitting right on your kitchen counter. I finally broke down this afternoon, just in time for my afternoon pot of coffee (another substance I should probably give up but won’t), and made vegan fig bars. Actually, I decided to make vegan fig bars healthy. I revamped my recipe so that the oil is gone, the refined flour is history, and the sugar is . . . well, the sugar is reduced. It’s gotta have something in it besides figs, you know!
You will be amazed at how good these are. They’re low in everything, except flavor.
Skinny Figgy Bars
- 8 ounces dried figs (one round package)
- 4 ounces pitted dates
- 2 tablespoon slivered or chopped almonds optional
- 2 drops anise extract optional
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 2 cups regular or quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 tablespoon agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Make the filling: Snip off the figs’ stems, and put the figs, dates, and almonds into the food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and process until mixed. Set aside.
For the crust, grind one cup of the oats in blender until powdered. Combine the oats (ground and unground), baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, and water, mixing well to a thick consistency. Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of an oiled, eight-inch square cake pan (use a wooden spoon or your hands). Spread the fig mixture evenly over the crust. Smooth the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Icing (optional): Mix powdered sugar (about 3 tbsp.) with a little water (Start with 1/2 tsp.) until the right consistency. Add vanilla or almond extract to taste (just drops). Drizzle over top of bars before cutting.
Happy Holidays to you all!