Valley Fig Growers

California Fig Bars

These bars are similar to Fig Newtons but are a bit less sweet. The dough can get sticky. When that happens, we top the bottom layer with a greased piece of parchment paper before spreading it in the pan. Because it’s difficult to find fresh figs year-round, we use dried figs in our recipe. Rehydrating the figs in apple juice adds needed moisture plus a slight sweetness and a subtle flavor boost.

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients

2 cups apple juice

8 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and quartered

Salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3⁄4 cup (3 3⁄4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1⁄2  cup (2 3⁄4 ounces) whole-wheat flour 

1⁄2  teaspoon baking powder 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3⁄4 cup packed (5 1⁄4 ounces) light brown sugar

1  large egg, room temperature 

2  teaspoons vanilla extract 

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over pan edges. Grease foil. Cook apple juice, figs, and pinch salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool slightly. Process mixture with lemon juice in food processor until jamlike.
  2. Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Place all but 3⁄4 cup dough into prepared pan and press into even layer. Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes. Roll remaining dough into 8-inch square between 2 sheets of greased parchment paper, then place in freezer until firm.
  3. Spread fig mixture evenly over baked crust. Top with frozen dough square. Bake until top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack, about 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan. Cut into squares and serve.

HOW TO LAYER FIG BARS
Once the bottom crust has been baked, spread the fig filling into an even layer over the baked crust with a rubber spatula. Freezing the top layer of dough makes it easier to handle; once it’s unwrapped, gently lay it on top of the filling. Press lightly on the dough to adhere and then finish baking the bars.

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