Homemade Fig Newton Bars

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This recipe for homemade Fig Newton Bars brought me back. To elementary school. And a certain home. And a certain pantry in that home.

I can close my eyes and be there right now. Well that or eat these homemade Fig Newton bars (which are a wee bit healthier!)

She is potentially my oldest friend. Seriously. Our parents were friends via a Lamaze class and I was born 5 weeks to the day earlier than her. Rumor has it, her parents practiced their, ahem, diaper changing skills on me. But I digress.

Whenever we went to her house after school, we snacked on Fig Newtons. And I will forever associate this family with fig newtons. (That and Trident gum that we would sneak from her mom's purse. Such thrill seekers we were.)

So anywho. I was looking through my bookmarked recipes on my mozilla firefox screen the other day, feeling inspired to make a bar of sorts. I was tending towards something in the energy-bar range, a good post run refueling or snack.

As soon as my eye caught the heading for these homemade Fig Newtons, I knew I had to make them. Also because I have been craving figs lately (anyone else with me on this?)

And you know me. They took no time at all, were super duper, easy-peezy to make and I had all the ingredients, so all I had to do was assemble them and get mixing.

O.M.G. I had no clue, absolutely no idea, how yummy they would taste. Do you ever have that feeling when you are being sinful because you think you are eating something "bad?" Or perhaps indulging a bit more than you normally would with something?

That's exactly how I felt with these bars when I pulled them out of the oven. But I kept running the list of ingredients through my head and was like, Jo, it's cool. These are H E A L T H Y. Simmer.

I mean, it's not like I was going to eat the whole batch in just one sitting. *cough cough*

HOMEMADE FIG NEWTONS, courtesy of Choosing Raw. Ingredients

For the fig filling: About 12 large dried figs 6 pitted medjool dates 2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup 2 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of 1 large lemon) 1 tsp cinnamon

For the Newton Part: 1 1/4 cup oat flour - this can be GF 1 cup rolled oats (see above) 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 cup sucanat or natural brown sugar *2 tbsp vanilla flavored protein powder (totally optional, but a nice way to amp up the protein) Dash salt 2 tsps cinnamon 1/2 cup almond milk 1/2 cup applesauce 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 cup coconut oil (or safflower oil)

 

Preparation: 1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 inch square baking pan and dust it with oat flour.

2) Place figs in a small pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer; simmer for about five minutes. Remove figs from the pot, drain them, and place them in your food processor along with dates, lemon juice, agave or syrup, cinnamon, and brandy if using. Process until the mixture resembles a smooth fig jam.

3) It's important to note here NOT to taste the jam. Because if you do, you will want to eat it all right now.

4) Mix oats, oat flour, cinnamon, salt, protein powder if using, baking powder, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

5) Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil.

6) Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix till just combined.

 

7) Layer half of the oat mixture into your baking pan. Spread fig paste on top.

 

8 ) Spread remaining oat mixture on top of the fig paste.

9) Bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

 

10) Let cool, and dive in, trying not to eat them all in one sitting