My kid’s love fruit bars and when this recipe for Fig Newton Bars was posted as a part of the Home Baker’s challenge I was thrilled. I had made the recipe about 10 days back and each and every bar has long disappeared, I just got to write this recipe. This will be a good recipe for any kind of jam filling. I kept to the original Figs jam to stay true to its name and also since I have never made a fig jam before.
I found some beautiful dried figs in the local market here. Making the filling was a breeze and I had made it the night before making the cookies to allow plenty of time for the jam to cool. Also took a hint from Martha Stewart and placed the prepared filling in a pastry bag with a ¼ inch opening. It worked great to pipe the filling evenly on the rolled cookie dough.
The dough is basic shortbread cookie dough made with buttery goodness and mild orange flavor from the zest. My kid’s loved to take this bar for snack and it made for a perfect treat.
Recipe source - https://www.ohnuts.com/blog/homemade-fig-newtons-recipe/
Preparation time – 20 minutes plus 2 hrs to chill the dough
Cooking time – about 15-18 per batch and about an hour to make the jam
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients to make Fig Newton Bars – makes about 30 - 2 inch bars
For the fig filling –
- Dried fig – generous 1 cup
- Water – 2 cups
- Honey – ¼ cup (or use sugar instead)
- Orange peel – from 1 orange
For the cookie dough –
- Butter (softened) – 8 tbsp
- Sugar – ½ cup
- Orange zest – from half an orange
- Egg white – from 1 egg (at room temperature)
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
- All purpose flour – 1 ½ cups
Procedure to make Fig Newton Bars –
To make the Fig filling –
- Remove the figs from the package and trim the ends to remove any stem. Once opened, the figs had a beautiful color inside.
- Place the figs in a sauce pan with water, honey and orange peels and let it come to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 45 minutes to an hour until all the liquid has evaporated and the figs look soft and mushy.
- Remove the orange peel and place the cooled down filling in a mixer bowl and puree it until it resembles a thick jam. It is very important to let all the liquid evaporate when the figs are cooking, or else the filling might be too thin in consistency and it could start to come out from the cookie. Transfer the pureed fruit in a pastry bag. I made this the night before and place the pastry bag in the refrigerator until ready to use the next day.
To make the cookie dough –
- Beat the butter and the sugar using a stand mixer or hand held mixer until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the egg white, vanilla extract and the orange zest and beat it further to incorporate. Scrape down the sides to mix everything well.
- Now add the flour and mix on low until everything is combined and a dough forms.
- Gather all the dough and wrap it up in a plastic. Refrigerate this for about 2 hours until it is firm enough to roll.
To make the bars –
- Bring the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface. Dust the rolling pin with some flour and then begin rolling the dough out. You have to work with the dough quickly since the dough softens up as it becomes warm. I used a parchment paper under when rolling the dough to enable easy transfer from the work surface to the baking sheet.
- Try to roll the dough out as thin as possible to achieve a 12 by 16 rectangle. I tried and when trimmed the sides, I ended up with a 12 by 12 square and some scrapes of dough. I rolled the scrapes out to make a 4 inch wide rectangle.
- Since I had 12 inch wide dough, I divided that equally into 3 parts (4 inches each) and cut it using a pizza cutter. Use a ruler to help you guide when cutting.
- Squeeze the fig jam evenly into all the 4 strips. I approximately used about ¼ of the filling for each strip.
- Now carefully lift one side of the strip and place it over the fig filling. The carefully lift up the other side of the strip and place it over the first fold, pressing it down gently to seal.
- Now invert the filled dough to seam side down. Transfer the whole parchment paper very carefully on to a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven. The cookies will not become too brown on top, so keep an eye on them and when the edges start to brown remove it from the oven. The bars will be still soft when taken out of the oven, but will firm upon cooling.
- Cool the Fig Newton Bars completely and then cut them into equal size pieces. Store them in an airtight container.