Vegan Fig Bars
May 25, 2011

Vegan Fig Bars | The Full Helping

Sometimes I wonder if the very qualities that lend themselves to successful home cooking–adaptability, confidence, being able to think quickly and adjust recipes as needed–are a hindrance to successful baking. In any case, that’s often how I feel. When I cook, I can be spontaneous and adjust a recipe to fit the process and my results. It’s hard to correct a baking error once it’s happened, or to change the direction of a baked recipe once you’ve gotten started.

Still, every time I gather up the courage to bake, I’m thrilled I did. And these vegan fig bars are the latest reminder that baking is really rewarding, in spite of the fact that it’s a more sensitive and scientific process than is cooking.

I had two motivations to bake this past week. The first was a desire to get over my fear of baking, with the hope of a a delicious dessert as the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick. The second was the fact that fellow blogger Sarah was in town, and I wanted to offer her a little treat while she was here. She’s an excellent baker, so the bar was set high. But I was determined. And the results were totally worthy.

To be exact, these bars are breakfast-worthy, snack worthy, and dessert worthy. They’re so delicious and sweet, and in spite of all the flavor they’re pretty darn healthy, thanks to the use of oats and oat flour as a base for the dough. The fig filling is so good that now I’m dreaming about putting it into muffins, spreading it onto toast, stirring it into warm oatmeal…you get the idea.

But first, I’m letting it shine in these delightful fig bars.

Vegan Fig Bars | The Full Helping

Vegan Fig Bars
Recipe Type: snack, dessert
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free optional, soy free, nut free optional
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 9 bars
Ingredients
  • For the fig filling:
  • 12 large dried figs
  • 6 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or the juice of 1 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar, sucanat or organic brown sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, or another neutral vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8-inch square baking pan and dust it with oat flour.
  2. Place the figs in a small pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer; simmer for about five minutes. Remove figs from the pot, drain them, and place them in your food processor along with dates, lemon juice, agave or syrup, and cinnamon. Process until the mixture resembles a smooth fig jam. (Try not to eat all of said jam before you make your bars. You will be tempted. )
  3. Mix the oats, oat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till just combined.
  4. Layer half of the oat mixture into your baking pan. Using an inverted spatula or regular spatula, spread all of the fig paste on top. Spread remaining oat mixture on top of the fig paste.
  5. Bake the bars for about 35 minutes, or until the top is golden. Transfer the baking dish to a wire cooling rack and allow the bars to cool to room temperature. Cut them into 9 squares. Enjoy!
Notes
Wrap leftover bars individually and store for up to 4 days in the fridge. You can also wrap bars individually and freeze for up to 3 weeks.

Vegan Fig Bars | The Full Helping

I was able to give some of the bars to Sarah in person last night, over dinner, and she loved them. Now I have a few left to savor on my own–as snacks between my classes, as quick breakfast options, or as evening sweet treats. I’m not complaining. And I think that this delightful baking experience is all the motivation I need to try again soon.

Enjoy the bars!

xo

Images courtesy of Lighter.

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    62 Comments
    • I know that there’s some debate about this because the figs are pollinated by wasps. I do choose to eat figs and know other vegans who choose to eat them.

  1. Hi, I collected all these ingredients together then noticed in the instructions you mentioned protein powder. There is not a quantity in the ingredient list. How much would you use?
    I have Rice protein powder in the house. Looking forward to making these.

    • Hi Ann,

      I ended up removing this from the recipe because I found that it was making the results too chalky. But you could definitely add 2 tablespoons to the dry ingredients if you’d like to try it 🙂 Thanks for noting this–I updated the recipe instructions!

      G

  2. these are GENIOUS. I just made them, doubled the recipe, and added in a cup of ground cashews & hemp seeds… and topped with a crumble of coconut oil + oats + coconut flakes during the last few minutes of cooking. I also didn’t have brandy on hand but used aromatic bitters instead and it added a nice “spiced” taste to the filling!
    Thanks for this recipe! 🙂

  3. These are currently in the oven, Gena, and they smell fantastic! My omni dad just loves every baked good I make from your site.

  4. I have been looking for a recipe like this for ages. Can’t wait to give them a try!

  5. By the by…good luck in school!!! There is a MONSTER-BIG need for nutritionally based physicians in this world!!! I can’t wait til you’re done with all your education…let us know where you set up your practice!!!

  6. These are in the oven right now….and I am so excited!!! I didn’t read all the comments, but I didn’t throw the figgy water out….I am soaking buckwheat sprouts and more rolled oats (tomorrow’s breakfast)…DELISH!!! Thanks for this recipe…by the way, I’m glad you warned me not to eat all the figgy jam…..can I say…YUM-A-LISH-OUS!!!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe…really…and I’m jealous of where you get to go eat!!!! Peacefood type places don’t exist in Vermont!!!

  7. Gena, just a quick note to say that I made these bars tonight (with the substitution of quinoa flakes and rice flour for the rolled oats and flour, and with the addition of molasses). They were phenomenal.

    I am really enjoying all your recipes (even though this is from awhile back). Thanks so much!

  8. I keep meaning to tell you, I made this recipe! FYI, I made it into muffins which turned out perfectly after 20 minutes at 350. I also took a shortcut by using TJ’s fig butter instead of making my own fig filling. Blasphemy, I know, but the TJ’s version had similar ingredients (and w/o any sketchy additions, thankfully) and it meant I turned these muffins out in no time at all, ready in single servings for me to take with me on teaching days when I need the fuel. Someday I’ll make them again when I have the time for the homemade filling.

    Thanks, G!

  9. Figs AND dates! Two of my favorites! I bet my brother would love these…he’s not much for dessert foods, but he’s the one who got me into eating dried fruit and I think he’d appreciate the combination. 🙂

  10. I baked these yesterday to bring into the office – they are wonderful! I didn’t have oat flour so I subbed in a mix of almond meal and spelt. It worked well!

  11. I’m a first-time commenter, but long-time reader. I want to tell you how delicious these fig bars taste! They’re just sweet enough with the fig/date paste, while the oat topping lends a great texture! Love them!

  12. I’m discovering the joys of baked breakfast bars, and your recipe look totally awesome. I love dried figs, but strangely enough I’ve never cooked with them. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hi Gena! These look awesome and I send you light and love for your big move. Do you think you could do these with fresh figs at all?

  14. Um, YUM! Fig Newtons were one of my favorite mindless snacks back in the day. I say mindless because I could literally eat half the carton without knowing. My how times have changed.

    An amazing recipe and two beautiful veggie ladies? What could be better?

  15. Thanks for sharing your recipe! We are attending an FRG function on Memorial Day, I’m in charge of treats, these are now on the list! I really enjoy Mama Pea’s blog and her excellent array of recipes.

    • Update: made these for tomorrow and sampled one for breakfast…SO GOOD! I ‘thought’ I had both figs and applesauce and was wrong on both accounts. I did have a bag of dried fruit that included figs (as well as apples, apricots, prunes, cherries) and used those, and pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce. They turned out wonderfully, even my finicky 5 year old gives them two grubby thumbs and a jam streaked face up!

  16. That looks like a fabulous meal with a fabulous dining partner! Maybe you can crack the code on that ginger fizz. That looks so thirst quenching.

    I have had my eye on some raw fig bars in Everyday Raw Desserts. It must be that fig newton from early childhood that we are nostalgic for.

  17. I’m eating gluten-free at the moment (trying to figure out a possible–and what I think is a very likely–intolerance), and I’ve only baked one recipe since making the change! What has discouraged me from trying most gluten-free recipes is the long list of flours that are often combined to make GF baked goods texturally palatable. This recipe, however, is one I’m about to bookmark! Oat flour? I can handle that! And I’ve actually been snacking on dried figs lately, so it would be fun to incorporate them into a new recipe instead of just eating them as-is. Thank you Gena! I’m really excited to bake these!

    And could Mama Pea be any more gorgeous? I don’t think so.

    • Ha! No she couldn’t!

      Good luck with the allergy determination, though do be careful not to self-diagnose unnecessarily. It happens 🙂

    • MP, I did not bake anything for you, and for this I am sorry. I considered bringing you some of the flax crackers I made for Gena last week, but she and I share a love for toasted juice pulp that I’m pretty sure most people do not. So, for the lack of gift, you’re welcome. 🙂

  18. I’ve had a long exhausting day and now you’ve got me in tears. I’d have to say the biggest pleasure of this trip was the time spent with you. Can’t wait until we can do it again. 🙂

  19. These look wonderful! I will have to try them. I haven’t said so yet, but congratulations on your move and your new adventure! Wishing you all the best.

  20. That sounds like such a wonderful date! (Just realized that was a pun since I was referring to your date with Mama Pea but could also be referring to the bars! Kind of…)
    Adding those bars to my to-make list STAT. 🙂

  21. Oh my, I love figs! These look so good!

    I’m a huge Pea fan, but I rarely comment, I’m like a closetted pea fan, lol! 🙂 her blog is great!

  22. Positively delicious sounding. I think what I love too about so many of the recipes, is that many of the same foods/ingredients make an appearance, but in new and wonderfully different ways. I usually can scan the recipe and say, “hey, I’ve got all that”, and a baking/cooking I go. It’s almost quitting time at work. Time to spark up the oven.

  23. What a wonderful tribute and thank-you to her! Thank you for letting us share. I’m going to have to hop over and get to know her in person too–couldn’t ask for a better recommendation.
    love
    Ela

  24. Wow, Gena! What an awesome recipe!!!!! Please, bake for “us” more often! They look amazing and I love how you made fig jam for them, first. And the oat mixture..I could eat crumble or crumbly topping type mixture all day and be in heaven. And oh yes, brandy in the fig recipe? Love it! You really stepped out of your usual for this one and I’m diggin it!

    I do know what you mean about as a raw cook, measurements are approximate and all the other little factoids you listed. I got a kick out of them.

    It sounds like you and Mama Pea had a fabulous time together even before the dessert back at your pad. How awesome for you two ladies!

  25. Oh wow. I can tell by the photos and the ingredient list that these bars are stellar. They look so dense + chewy!! So glad you were finally able to meet Mama Pea!! One day we will meet!! 🙂

  26. These look terrific- all over them! 🙂 I absolutely love when you bake, even though you say you’re not good at it. You really, really are. And creative, too! I think i’ve made just about all of your baked goods and wasn’t disappointed with any 🙂

    So fun you got to meet MP- knew you two would hit it off!

  27. Those look yummy. I totally agree about the awesomeness of Mama Pea, she rocks my world, and I only get to admire her from afar! (By reading her blog, not, like, by sitting outside her house in my car. I swear. And I live in another state.)

  28. Mama Pea really is the best, isn’t she?

    These look absolutely amazing. I SO appreciate the attention to detail you’ve taken in making them SO good and SO healthy simultaneously.

  29. Oooo – those look delicious! My kiddo has been asking me to come up with a healthy fig newton…. I wonder if these would do the trick for him.

  30. oh, these look perfect! I am craving figs again right now – haven’t had any in a while and just picked some up this morning – fresh and dried! ate a fresh one in the car on the way home… 🙂