Fig Cookie Bars

When I was a kid my parents were pretty strict about not keeping “junk food” in the house. We never had things like potato chips, packaged cookies, or pop readily available to us. They were all reserved for a treat – a birthday party, eating out, sleepovers, etc. The only snack I remember being in the house pretty much all the time was pretzels, but forget it when it came to anything else. It wasn’t really until high school that I started trying different types of packaged cookies, and through four years of hanging out at friends’ houses, weekend retreats, and bus trips, I emerged with three loves: soft-baked chocolate chip cookies, pink-iced animal cookies, and Fig Newtons. Only one still tugs at my heart strings today – my beloved Fig Newtons. I can do without any other store-bought treat, but any time I see those in the store I immediately want to buy a box and then sit down and eat the entire thing. It’s the one treat that I never thought could be properly replicated at home. I really should know better. You can make anything homemade. And it’s guaranteed to taste a thousand times better than what you buy in the store. All hail Fig Bars!

No one in my family seems to like figs, but my mom has told me on a number of occasions that my grandpap LOVED figs and, as a result, their house was always stocked with Fig Newtons. Now I know it’s in my blood :)

These fig bars require a few steps, but can still be completed in less than 2 hours. I was astonished at how similar to Fig Newtons they actually taste. The filling is spot-on, and the cookie base and topping has the same type of soft, sponge-like texture that the cookies have. There is one key to these bars being a perfect replication – make sure that you use Turkish or Calimyrna figs. These are lighter on the outside than the more typical Mission figs. I found the Calimyrna dried figs right next to the Mission figs at the grocery store, so I believe they are readily available in most locations. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an entire pan of cookies to eat!

What are your favorite store-bought treats that you enjoy recreating at home?

One year ago: Cookies for the Super Bowl
Four years ago:
Chewy Chocolate-White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Fig Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt + Pinch of salt, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces dried Turkish or Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
2 cups apple juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing excess to hang over the pan edges. Grease the foil; set pan aside.

2. Combine the flours, baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Place all but ¾ cup dough into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes. After you put the bottom crust in the oven, roll the remaining dough into an 8-inch square between two sheets of greased parchment paper, then place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the figs, apple juice, and the remaining pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; cool slightly. Process the mixture with the lemon juice in a food processor until jam-like.

4. Spread the fig mixture evenly over the baked crust. Top with the frozen dough square and press lightly on the dough to adhere. Bake until the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Using the foil overhang, lift bars from pan and cut into squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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83 Responses to “Fig Cookie Bars”

  1. beti on January 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I love figs and I just happen to have a huge jar of home made fig jam that I really want to use for this recipe, they look great

    Reply

  2. Jen of My Tiny Oven on January 24, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I love fig newtons! I can’t wait to try making these, they look amazing!

    Reply

  3. CouponClippingCook on January 24, 2012 at 2:12 am

    These sound super delicious. I love fig newtons. Love that these are made with wheat flour too.

    Reply

  4. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on January 24, 2012 at 2:41 am

    you did a great job on these!

    And although I like Fig Newtons, I’d rather just skip the white bread/cakey part and eat the figgy middle. Enter: TJ’s fig butter. Problem solved :)

    What are your favorite store-bought treats that you enjoy recreating at home? = Reeses PB cups, Butterfinger Bars, Samoas Cookies…too many to even think about. lol

    Reply

    • Janice on January 23rd, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Totally agree! Love fig bars, but love TJ’s fig butter more!

      Reply

  5. Choc Chip Uru on January 24, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Only ever having fig newtons, once I have never forgotten them – now I am glad I can make them again :D
    Thanks!

    Reply

  6. Hannah at FleurDeLicious on January 24, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Hooray! These sound fabulous! I too was a fig newton hoarder as a kid. I would break off the edges first to eat those…then the top layer of cookie…so my last bite had the highest fig-to-cookie ratio possible. Can’t wait to make these!

    I always love recreating nutter butters at home…although I’ve also fallen into the trap of trying to find the perfect Lofthouse cookie clone…

    Reply

  7. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on January 24, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I soooo need to try these! They look delicious!

    Fig Newtons are one of three store bought cookies I still buy…the other two being Oreos and Milanos.

    Reply

  8. Elly @ Nutmegs, seven on January 24, 2012 at 5:45 am

    These look so crumbly and delicious. I had a huge glut of ripe figs last autumn that I didn’t know what to do with – wish I’d seen this recipe back then! Maybe this year…

    Reply

  9. Kiri W. on January 24, 2012 at 6:17 am

    These look great – I’ve always liked fig cookies, so I bet this would be great with tea for me. :)

    Reply

  10. Katrina on January 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

    WOOP! I loved these as a kid! “Pig newtons as we used to say”…so silly.

    Reply

  11. Jennifer on January 24, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I just had Fig Newtons with my coffee :) These look fabulous, my husband really really loves fig bars too. I can’t wait to try them.

    Reply

  12. julieA on January 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I WILL be making these!! I had made the Cucidata last year but had a hard time with the figs getting stuck around my food processor blade. I will also make the Cucidata again, but this time, I will cook the figs in a little liquid and then process them. I can imagine it will work so much better for me. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  13. leslie on January 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Lol…yeah, same here. Fig Newtons were considered a treat when we were kids. Still love them to this day! Love your homemade version

    Reply

  14. Tabitha (From Single to Married) on January 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

    oh man, these are going to be so much better than store-bought!

    Reply

  15. Andy @ SecretDinnerService on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

    These look amazing. I’ve literally just eaten lunch but this has made me hungry again!

    Reply

  16. Amber, RD on January 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Yummy! My mom was a great baker so we rarely had store-bought snacks at our house. I have recipes for all kinds of things like Oreos and Oatmeal Cream Pies that I want to try and haven’t yet. Add these fig bars to the list!

    Reply

  17. Erin on January 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I tried making strawberry fig newtons at home once but they did not turn out right at all. They tasted similar but the dough was much too thin and the filling too runny. I will definitely need to try these! As for my favorite homemade treat? Homemade lofthouse style cookies!

    Reply

  18. Vicki on January 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I didn’t know you were wild about fig newtons. My girlfriend has a fig tree in her yard that is covered in figs every year. There is nothing more delicious than pulling a ripe fig from the tree and squeezing it right into your mouth. Funny, I love that but hate fig newtons. Remind me in late summer and I will get you some fresh figs to bake your cookies.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 24th, 2012 at 11:05 pm

      Oooh yes, I do love figs. That would be awesome, thank you! I’ll definitely remind you :)

      Reply

  19. Barbara on January 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Can’t wait to try these. I love a fig Newton. My favorite store-bought cookie is archway dutch cocoa which I was able to copy at home fairly successfully.
    http://blessusolord.blogspot.com/2008/09/fudge-cocoa-cookies.html?m=1

    Reply

  20. Abby on January 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Genius! Great recipe, I heart fig newtons too. I consider them breakfast food :)

    Reply

  21. brandi on January 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

    i have a TON of homemade fig jam from this summer that i need to use – these will be perfect!

    Reply

  22. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen on January 24, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Ohmygosh those pink iced animal cookies were the best! I think I’d probably feel pretty gross after a few today though. I don’t really keep junk food in my house either but enjoy making homemade versions. These look really good, and not all that unhealthy!

    Reply

  23. Ashli on January 24, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I thought I was the ONLY kid who liked Fig Newtons!:) I will be trying these soon. Thanks for the recipe:)

    Reply

  24. Tamara @jemofthesouth on January 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    We always had fig newtons in our home when I was a kid. I still love them to this day. I really need to try this recipe. Thanks!

    Reply

  25. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Sounds wonderful! I was never a big fig newton fan, but the soft baked cookies, I was. My Mom would buy them and hide them, but I alwasy found them. he he

    Reply

  26. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on January 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I love fit newtons too! These look fantastic. :)

    Reply

  27. Barbara Hall on January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I don’t like figs but I love Fig Newtons. I don’t eat wheat and finding a wheat free version of these is difficult. They’re out there. Usually in the bulk foods section. But I can make them myself now. Thanks! I’ve wanted to for a long time but never remembered to look for a recipe.

    Reply

  28. Renee on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Oh I so want to make these. I bought a package of Fig Newtons a while back and they were terrible. I think it’s because they took the trans fats out. They were dry and crumbly, not the moist delicious goodness I remembered. (Same thing with Twinkies, they’ve ruined them as well.) I think they difference is…when we were kids (I’m 52) cookies, chips, pop, etc. were an occasional ‘treat’ not an everyday household staple. So, even tho that stuff was always fattening….we only ate it once in a while, so we didn’t need to worry about fat and lard! :)

    Reply

  29. Genola on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I love figs! Can’t wait to try these.

    Reply

  30. Joquena on January 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    My favorite things to try to recreate at home… hmmm… probably turning meat dishes vegetarian. I never get to eat as well in a restaurant as when I make it all myself!

    Reply

  31. Brenda on January 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I must try this recipe … I feel like I owe it to my family. When we moved into our home many years ago, there was a very young fig tree in the backyard. My husband and son asked if I could make Fig Newtons … I laughed and said “No!” Soon the tree disappeared … we think the dog ate it!

    Reply

  32. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on January 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I love Fig Newtons and haven’t had one in way too long, I need to try making my own soon!

    Reply

  33. Becca@learnasyougocook on January 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    My dad loves these! I’m going to try to make them next month:)

    Reply

    • Becca@learnasyougocook on January 31st, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Just made them and they are delicious! They are just as good hot as they are cold!

      Reply

  34. Kristin on January 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Last night I dreamed about eating figs (I’ve been craving them lately) and here you go posting a homemade Fig Newton recipe today. It was meant to be!

    Reply

  35. natalie (the sweets life) on January 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    ahhh i cannot wait to try these–i haven’t had a fig newton in years, but they’re one of my cookie loves (along with the pink iced animal cookies…best cold from the fridge!!)

    Reply

  36. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on January 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I love figs – got introduced to them in Italy a few years ago. This looks like an awesome recipe!

    Reply

  37. Angie R. on January 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I will definitely be trying these out! My grandparents were much older when I was born and therefore I do not have a lot of memories of them. They lived on a farm and my grandfather was a cotton farmer, but I was pretty young when they had to leave because of health reasons, etc. One of the only memories that I have from going to their house is that there was a drawer in the kitchen and it always had a package of Fig Newtons. :)

    Reply

  38. Nicole on January 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    If it wasn’t for my dad, I probably would have never tried a Fig Newton. It’s been so long since I have had one. I think I will revisit that loved flavor and texture with this recipe!

    Reply

  39. tom@morethanpepper on January 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    gotta love custom cookies

    Reply

  40. Marty on January 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try a fig dessert recipe. I love the flavor and texture of it. This sounds perfect!

    Reply

  41. Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat on January 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    These look so good! I’ve just figured out how delicious dates are…and I’m sure they’re even better in a delicious bar. Now if we could just figure out how to replicate those iced animal crackers. I’m still tempted whenever I see those in the store!

    Reply

  42. Tracey on January 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I am beyond excited to make these! I already had plans to go to Trader Joe’s today, and after seeing these on your site, I picked up the figs while out shopping :)

    Reply

  43. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef on January 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

    my husband loves fig newtons…these are a must-try. love that there are no odd ingredients in them either. :)

    Reply

  44. Lacy on January 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Ooohh these sound delicious! I was always the only one in my family that liked fig newtons so I rarely got to have them. I have to try these, I love homemade versions of yummy treats!

    Reply

  45. Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) on January 25, 2012 at 10:45 am

    When I saw your fig bars come up on my Facebook feed I admit, I got excited. Like you, I still fondly remember Fig Newtons from my childhood and still occasionally enjoy them today. I have always wanted to try them at home but never knew where to start. You made my day sharing these with us. I will make them for sure, thank you!

    Reply

  46. TheChouxGirl on January 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I have yet to try bar making at home. This looks really good and I love fig newtons so I have got to try this. When I do I’ll blog it and link it back to you :)

    Reply

  47. Katherine Martinelli on January 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    These were my all time favorites as a kid!! Long before I ever tasted a fresh fig. I can’t wait to give these a try, thanks!

    Reply

  48. Angie @ Bigbearswife on January 25, 2012 at 11:42 am

    oo homemade Fig Newtons! What a great recipe!

    Reply

  49. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on January 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    These look amazing… I love fig newtons. Can’t wait to give them a try!

    Reply

  50. Kaitlin on January 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    These are so pretty! I love figs; I wish I had one of these right now!

    Reply

  51. Marie on January 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Simply amazing! I’d love to try them too very soon! :)

    Reply

  52. Ally on January 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Figs are freaking fantastic. Fabulous recipe!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  53. Holly on January 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

    mmmmmm figs. This looks so delightful and tasty. My mom never kept junk food around the house either except for ice cream. I think it was a good thing. When I moved out and started shopping for my self, it never even occurred to me to buy snack and junk food unless for a special treat. Even now, I make all my snacks from scratch rather than buy store-bought. Always love to make my own cookies and ice creams!

    Reply

  54. Ashley Robinson on January 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I completely understand your love of Fig Newtons. I have to limit myself to those twin packs from the gas station so i don’t eat a whole package from the grocery store :) These look fantastic and much better for me (and I’m sure much better tasting!) – thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  55. Ruth on January 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Out of this world, like always! Congrats on the Foodbuzz top 9!

    Reply

  56. Maggie @ kitchie coo on January 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Congrats on your top 9! This recipe is certainly deserving of it! I was just looking for a fig bar recipe because I bought a huge bag of them at Costco…they’re mission figs though. Do you think they’ll still work? :-( We eat a lot of Newman’s brand fig bars in this house and I decided it wasn’t cost effective anymore and that I’m going to make them. This recipe looks PERFECT!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 27th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Maggie, You could use the Mission figs; they won’t be an exact replication, but I’m sure still fabulous!

      Reply

  57. Mei-I @ Gastronomic Nomad on January 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Why haven’t I had fig newtons in years again? Reading this I’m not sure why.

    Can I not use whole wheat flour or do you think it is essential to the recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 27th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      You could use all-purpose flour for the recipe and I think it would be fine.

      Reply

  58. Chandra@the plaid and paisley kitchen on January 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    These look sooo much better than the nabisco varity!

    Reply

  59. Courtney on January 31, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Do you know nutritional info for these. They look delicious!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 31st, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Hi Courtney, I do not have the nutritional information, but I am working on adding that feature to the site in the very near future!

      Reply

  60. RisaG on January 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    These look amazing. I want a whole plate full.

    Reply

  61. Alexandra on February 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Well done, these are excellent! Much better than the original Fig Newton. Nabisco eat your heart out : )

    Reply

  62. Vicki Kirkland on February 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Tried it make these, it had nothing but trouble with the top crust. It was too gooey to roll out, so I spread it on the greased paper. Put it in the freezer for 45 minutes, it seemed hard, but it was still too soft, would not come off the paper in one piece. I ended up scraping it up and putting it on in dollops.

    Reply

  63. Donna on February 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    We share the same fondness for Fig Newtons and those Pink Iced Animal Crackers…I am thrilled you have replicated…no, BETTERED the packaged Fig Newton…but do we dare ask you to do the same for the Pink Iced Animal Crackers?!!…I had forgotten all about those from my school days in the U.S…Despite the abundance of fabulous cookies and biscuits here in France…I do miss those little “critters”!

    Reply

  64. Lisa Montalva on March 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I write recipes daily for The Gourmet Mom at http://www.thegourmetmom.com, but never tried to re-create one of my favorite cookies, fig newtons. Thank you for this one. I made them this morning and oh sooooo good. Keep them coming. Lisa

    Reply

  65. Barb on July 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    If you like newton cookies you might enjoy Eastern European Polish apple cake. It’s like a giant apple newton. Soft apple filling sandwiched between a shortcake. The cake is moist and dense and almost scone like.

    Reply

  66. Cindy on August 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Can you use fresh figs in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 3rd, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Cindy, I would not, as the texture is completely different.

      Reply

  67. Cindy on August 1, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Would you change the amount of apple juice used if you use fresh figs?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 3rd, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Cindy, I would be hesitant to use fresh figs, as it will be a completely different texture. You would need less liquid, yes, but not having done so, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how much.

      Reply

  68. Laura on September 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    My mom loves fig newtons. I would like to make these for her as a gift. Do you think if I wrapped them individually in waxed paper and froze them that they would keep well? They seem pretty “cakey” so I don’t know if this would work. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 16th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Laura, They are a little cakey, but I think you could do this. I’d recommend wrapping very tightly in plastic wrap instead of wax paper, and then placing them in a freezer ziploc bag.

      Reply

  69. Csilla on September 22, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I visited the US couple of months ago, and the guy who I lived with LOVES fig bars. When he told me to eat some I was a bit sceptical, but after the first bite I always was the one who bought a package of fig newtons while doing the shopping :) Came back to Hungary, and of course I cannot buy them here, so I am SOOO happy that I found this recipe, I’m definitely gonna try this. Thank you :)

    Reply

  70. Salma on October 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I live in Europe and we don’t have Fig Newtons, but I have been craving them since I tasted them in the US! I made them today and they were good. Soft and chewy. But I have a request, could you please explain how many grams flour in one cup is? I am not sure I put the right amount of flour and milk in the dough, because in Europe we use grams and kilograms and are not used to the American system. That would be a BIG help and easier to start trying all the nice recipes that you have!

    Reply

  71. Chanalle on October 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I can’t see the recipe for these :( Is it just me? My husband LOVES fig newtons and I would love to make these for him.

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Hi Chanelle, There may have been a little glitch as we were getting everything back up and live, but the recipe is above. Let me know if you have any other problems!

      Reply

  72. Sarah on September 14, 2013 at 2:35 am

    I have a fig tree in my back yard. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Could I use them to make these? What would you suggest? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 16th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Sarah, Unfortunately, I think the texture would be compromised using fresh figs vs. dried. Although, you could certainly dry your own figs and use those!

      Reply

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