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


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


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.



84 Responses to “Fig Cookie Bars”

Comment Pages 1 2
  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


  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!


  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.


  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


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

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


  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 😀


  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…


  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.


  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…


  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. :)


  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.


  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.


  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!


  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


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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.


    • 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 :)


  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.


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

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


  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!


  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!


  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:)


  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!


  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


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

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


  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.


  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! :)


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

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


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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:)


    • 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!


  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!


  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!!)


  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!


  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. :)


  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!


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

    gotta love custom cookies


  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!


  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!


  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 :)


  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. :)


  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!


  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!


  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 :)


  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!


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

    oo homemade Fig Newtons! What a great recipe!


  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!


  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!


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