This recipe is adapted from PPK’s Whole Wheat Fig Bars, which is excellent, but I wanted to use less sugar and oil. If you like store-bought fig bars, you will enjoy these even more.
1/2 lb. dried figs hard stems removed and diced into small pieces (mixing Black Mission and Calimyrna figs work well)
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup agave nectar (Sub: maple syrup)
2 tsp finely grated orange zest (Sub: Lemon or lime)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup non-dairy milk, unsweetened, vanilla flavor (Cashew or almond milk work well)
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
1/8 cup canola
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan combine chopped figs, water, agave nectar and orange zest. Bring to boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally. When figs begin to soften in about 8 to 10 minutes continue to cook but mash figs with a firm spatula or a fork to create a chunky, moist paste. If mixture starts to look overly dry add two tablespoons of water and stir, dribbling in additional water to mixture if necessary. Remove filling from heat and set aside. [Tip: Not all dried figs are created equal and some may require adding more water than mentioned in the recipe. You’ll want to cook them with just enough liquid to create a moist, chunky paste.]
In a large mixing bowl combine ground flax seed, non-dairy milk, applesauce, canola oil, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Sift in whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to form soft dough, gather into a ball with your hands. Shape dough into a square shape about an inch thick.
Place on a large sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with another piece of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a large rectangle. Occasionally rotate the dough while rolling to help maintain an even thickness.
When finished rolling peel off to top layer of paper. Fill one side of the dough with the fig filling (length-wise). Leave a little edge of dough on one side and several inches on the other. Then take the wax paper farthest from the filling, lift up and place over the filling to make a very large “fig newton”. Gently bring the edges of the dough together. Using the parchment paper, lift the dough onto a large baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until crust is golden and puffed. Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool. When completely cool, you may cut the bar into individual servings. Store in a tightly covered container.