Date bars are one of my all time favorite treats. Some of you may remember when I posted my grandmother’s date nut bar recipe. If not, have a look. I’d do anything, or drop whatever I was doing to have some of those when I was a kid. Come to think of it, I still would--but now I’m the one that makes them.
So I still have a huge amount of dried figs hanging around, and although eating them straight from the bag is one of the best ways to enjoy them, I felt like I needed to do something else with them. Yep, you can see where I’m going with this. Fig Nut Bars! They adapted beautifully to the date bar recipe, and are insanely good!
I have yet to find a date nut bar (or fig, for that matter) recipe that can stand up to my grandmother’s recipe. And trust me when I say this--I’ve tried a lot. If someone’s got them on the menu, I’m trying them. I’m always disappointed. They’re usually hard (maybe they sit around too long?), very dry, too sweet--whatever--just gross. These bars won’t disappoint. They’re tender, not overly sweet, slightly salty in the crust, and perfect. Yes, I’ll go as far as to say these are perfect! I had to play around with the filling a bit to adapt it to the figs, but I made it work. For you guys. Oh, the things I do for this blog. Haha!
Fig Nut Bars
makes one 9x13 pan
For the Figgy Filling:
1 lb dried Black Mission figs, stems removed and chopped (I used kitchen shears)
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup water
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Make the filling: Boil dates, sugar, and water until thick, about 5-10
Note: You want the final fig mixture to be thick, not leaky--and spreadable, because you have to layer it over the bottom crust. Also, I chopped the figs into quarters. They didn't break down as much as I'd hoped, so before stirring the vanilla and pecans in, I ran the fig mixture through the food processor, just enough to break them up--you still want a few chunks in there.
Add 1 TBSP butter, the vanilla, and the walnuts, and set the filling aside to cool a bit.
Prepare the crust: Combine all dry ingredients with the melted butter. Firmly press half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan.
Carefully spread the filling evenly over the bottom crust, to within about a half inch of the edges--a rubber spatula works great for this. Sprinkle remaining crust over the filling, and again, press firmly--but be gentle at the same time. Press just enough to give it a good hold on the filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, and I'm serious when I say this, no longer than 25 minutes! As long as your oven is running at the correct temperature, that's all the time these need. Cut into squares when cool, and store in an airtight container.
- Note: I always get impatient and cut a little corner out to try while they’re still warm. That’s ok! But it’s so important that you let the bars cool before you cut them, or they’ll probably fall apart. You need to let that bottom crust cool and set up.