Skinny Figgy Bars (Homemade Fig Newtons)

We love Fig Newtons in our household (sometimes I scold my husband for eating the whole package), but we aren’t crazy about the terrible ingredients–sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup are at the top–so I decided to try my hand at these “Skinny Figgy Bars” from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen.  They are a hit!  They taste very similar to the highly-processed commercial kind, but without all the nasty stuff.  My 3-yr old asked for more…’nuf said.

Skinny Figgy Bars

8 oz dried figs (one round package)
1/2 cup pitted dates
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 tbsp agave nectar, OR honey, OR pure maple syrup
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1 cup regular or quick oats, ground in blender until fine
1 cup regular or quick oats, unground
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 tbsp agave nectar, OR honey, OR pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the filling: Snip off the figs’ stems, and put the figs, dates, and almonds into the food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and process until mixed. Set aside.
For the crust, combine the oats (ground and unground), baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, and water, mixing well to a thick consistency. Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of a greased, eight-inch square cake pan (use a wooden spoon or your hands). Spread the fig mixture evenly over the crust. Smooth the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Icing (optional): Mix powdered sugar (about 3 tbsp.) with a little non-dairy milk (start with 1/2 tsp.) until the right consistency. Add vanilla or almond extract to taste (just drops). Drizzle over top of bars before cutting.

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