Homemade Fig Bars, small batch

Wednesday 10 June 2020

One thing we both love in this house is figs.  Fresh, dried, in baked goods, diced on top of our morning oats, fresh in a salad, etc.  

Figs are a  favourite in our home.

Todd really loves Fig Rolls. Do you know the ones I mean?  In North America they are called Fig Newtons.  Here in the UK they are called Fig Rolls. 

I suppose that is because they are basically a cookie/bar dough rolled around a sweet fig filling, flattened and cut into bars.

They can vary drastically from one brand to another.  Some might have more filling than others, but I think they are all a bit stingy with the filling to be honest.  

I prefer a much higher filling to cookie ration.

There are quite a few copycat versions of them around the world wide web.  

Today I adapted the best of all of them, threw in my own interpretations and made a small batch, from scratch.

Let me tell you . . . these are infinitely better than the fig rolls that you buy.  

No, the filling isn't totally encased and rolled up in a biscuit dough . . .

These are more like a bar.  There is plenty of filling to cookie dough ratio  I think it is the perfect amount.

You get the sweet brown sugar dough, crumbly and buttery  . . .  both on the bottom as a bar and on the top as a crumble. 

NO oats in this I am afraid, but there is whole wheat and plain flours, so a bit more fibre.

The filling is perfectly ample . . . not too much, not too little.  Just right.

These are moist and crumbly and incredibly moreish, from that buttery crust to that sweet and sticky filling.

They are filled with sweet fibre, both in the crust and in the filling.  These will help to keep you regular which reminds me of an interesting story about my mom.

Mom always kept a special jar of this fig spread in the refrigerator.  She bought it at the drugstore I think, or maybe it was the health food store. 

She called it her medicine.  Nobody was aloud to touch it upon pain of death.

Nobody wanted to to be honest.  Medicine?  Who would take medicine on purpose!  

Now that I am an older woman I begin to appreciate the importance of fibre and figs to help keep things working smoothly.

These are a fabulous way to get in some of that fibre, and in a most pleasant way.

Incredibly moreish. Trust me on this.  So much so that I am wishing I had not baked a small batch.

Never mind  . . .  I just get to bake them again.  Fresh, as and when we need want them!

Trust me when I tell you, having tasted one of these, you will never settle for a ready made Fig Newton Roll again!  Never!

Yield: Makes 8
Author: Marie Rayner
Homemade Fig Bars (small batch)

Homemade Fig Bars (small batch)

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
This small batch recipe, if anything, is more delicious than the fig bars you can buy. They are also very delicious.


For the filling:
  • 4 ounces dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs (1/4 pound)
  • 240ml cloudy apple juice (1 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the crust:
  • 53g all purpose flour (4 TBS)
  • 35g whole wheat flour (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, softened
  • 83g soft light brown sugar (6 TBS, packed)
  • 1 large free range egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla


  1. First make the filling. Trim the hard stem from the dried figs and discard. Cut the figs into quarters and put them into a small saucepan. Add the apple juice and salt.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the figs are very soft and the juice is syrupy. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. There should only be about a tablespoon or two left in the pan.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice. Puree them in a small food processor until smooth, or use an immersion blander. You should have something with a thickish jam consistency.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line an 8 by 4 inch loaf tin with some aluminum foil and butter the foil.
  5. Whisk together the flours and baking powder. Set aside.
  6. Beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture to combine well.
  7. Divide in half and press half of the mixture into the bottom of the loaf tin. Spread the fig mixture over top of this. Scatter the remaining batter evenly over top and lightly press down to help it to adhere to the filling.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool completely in the tin before lifting out and cutting into bars. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
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Does anyone know the story behind Fig Newtons?  Here is what I found out.  I thought you might also find it intersting:  (Source, the Inventors.org)

"Charles M. Roser was a cookie maker born in Ohio. He won fame for creating the Fig Newton recipe before selling it to the Kennedy Biscuit Works (later called Nabisco). A Fig Newton is a soft cookie filled with fig jam. 

Delicious Fig Bars

A machine invented in 1891 made the mass production of Fig Newtons possible. James Henry Mitchell invented a machine which worked like a funnel within a funnel; the inside funnel supplied jam, while the outside funnel pumped out the dough, this produced an endless length of filled cookie, that was then cut into smaller pieces. The Kennedy Biscuit Works used Mitchell's invention to mass-produce the first Fig Newton Cookies in 1891.

Originally, the Fig Newton was just called the Newton. There is an old rumor that James Henry Mitchell, the funnel machine's inventor, named the cookies after that great physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, but that was just a rumor. The cookies were named after the Massachusetts town of Newton, which was close to Kennedy Biscuits. Kennedy Biscuits had a tradition of naming cookies and crackers after the surrounding towns near Boston."

So now we both know.

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  1. I actually really never thought of making a Fig Newton from scratch...they aren't necessarily one of my favorites (given that there are so many other calories I would rather consume first LOL), but my mom adores them. I still bring them to her as special treats. But these look like they would possibly change my views about them....and I can only imagine what my mom would think. Yum! ~Robin~

    1. I hope that your mother liked these Robin! We really do! I think we both eat at lease one fig a day, dried or otherwise! xoxo

  2. I LOVE Fig Newtons but they have become rather dear to purchase and just don't taste as fresh as they could. This recipe is going into my treasure box. Thank you, Marie, for a fabulous share of a much beloved treat.

    1. Youa re welcome Katy! I do hope you make them and enjoy them! xoxo

  3. Hi. Can you suggest another filling to use instead of dates. Sadly my family will not eat dates, but the bars sound good. thanks

    1. There are no dates in this Karen, just figs! Figs and dates are pretty interchangeable however. You could use sultanas, raisins, or a mix of dried fruits in their place. All would be delicious! xoxo

  4. What is cloudy apple juice? (I’m in Canada).

    1. Hi There! Cloudy apple juice is like the fresh apple juice that you buy in the chiller cabinet at the shops. Not the stuff that is on the aisles. Tropicana makes a good one and you can buy it in small single serve portion which is about the amount you would need! Hope this helps!


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