Ever since I started making power bars I knew that I wanted to make a version of homemade Fig Newtons, except without the cookie wrapped around the outside. My initial experiments were bland until I discovered that the not-so-secret ingredient in a Fig Newton is orange.
These Fig Newton alternatives are not as sweet as my homemade power bars but I actually like them better and they are a terrific handout when your kids have a cookie craving. As with the power bars, these are one of my favorite snacks to bring along to school pickup or put in lunches.
I just knew you all would want me to share my recipe here on the blog… I’ve added a lot of detail to the instructions, but don’t be intimidated. I only make snacks that are easy to prepare!
2 cups of dried figs, stems removed. In the photo above you see I have black mission figs and brown Turkish figs. It doesn’t matter what kind of figs you use. I removed the stems with a kitchen shears.
1 cup walnuts.
1/2 tsp orange zest. This is about what you get from one orange. Scrub the orange well before zesting.
1/8 tsp cinnamon. Optional.
1 tsp – 1 TSPB raw honey. Optional. I did not need honey for the brown figs, they were very sticky already. The black figs were on the dry side so I used a small amount.
1. Finely chop walnuts in a food processor. Set aside.
2. Add figs to food processor and process until finely chopped and the figs start to come together in a ball. If you’ve made the power bars, this takes longer with figs than it does with dates.
3. Add walnuts, orange zest, cinnamon (if using) and process everything together. If my figs are on the dry side I add in only half the walnuts at a time. The more walnuts you add, the more crumbly the mixture will be and you want it to be sticky enough to form into bars.
4. To determine if you need to add honey, squeeze some of the mixture between your fingers. If it still crumbles add a small amount of honey, as needed. The more you make these bars, the more intuitive this step will become.
5. Dump the mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with a piece of parchment paper large enough to fold over the top.
6. Press FIRMLY. I mean, really firmly. I do this by folding the paper over the top of the mixture. You could also use the bottom of a glass to press it all together.
7. Place pan in refrigerator for at least an hour. Cut bars into squares and store in an airtight container. I keep them in the fridge and you may want to keep individual bars stacked between parchment paper to keep them from sticking to each other.
Note: I usually make two batches at once but unless you have some crazy industrial strength food processor do not put more than two cups of dried fruit in your machine at a time!
This is my not-so-subtle photo showing you the difference in color between the two types of figs. We had already eaten all of the the other brown fig bars by the time I got around to taking this photo!